Millennium Challenge is the Future of U.S. Foreign Assistance (Rep. Joe Knollenberg)

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations recently heard testimony from Ambassador John Danilovich, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).  As a member of the Subcommittee I am privileged to work with Ambassador Danilovich to meet the goal of fiscal responsibility and accountability in our foreign assistance programs.

United States foreign assistance is something everyone, regardless of party affiliation, can be proud of.  The American people are generous and our foreign assistance is proof of that.  Foreign assistance allows the poorest countries to compete in the global market but also finances local farmers in Africa and around the world.  Our development assistance dollars and support of humanitarian programs around the world is the face of the American public.  The MCC takes these values one step further.

Created in 2003, the MCC works with countries to develop and implement Compacts that focus on very specific development programs.  These programs, like infrastructure development and agriculture advancement, allow the country to take ownership of their economy and the well-being of their citizens.  The MCC motto of “reducing poverty through economic growth” speaks to the goal of assisting countries in order to allow them to “graduate” from foreign assistance.

Furthermore, accountability to the U.S. taxpayer is built into the program in the form of countries meeting democracy and anti-corruption indicators while also being held to certain benchmarks throughout the term of the five-year MCC Compact.  Accountability has been missing in our foreign assistance programs over the years and the MCC fills that gap.

I believe the MCC is the future of U.S. foreign assistance and I call on Congress to fully fund the MCC budget request of $2.225 billion for fiscal year 2009.

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