Senate confirms former Obama official Samantha Power to lead USAID
The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Samantha Power to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Senators voted 68-26 to confirm Power, who served in the Obama administration as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
President Biden is also expected to put Power on the White House National Security Council, where she served during Obama’s first term.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee advanced Power’s nomination earlier this month by a voice vote. But she faced questions during her confirmation hearing about the surge of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border and about her previous support for military intervention in Syria and Libya.
Power — a former war correspondent, activist and academic — is reentering public office with a focus on soft power. As the head of USAID, she’ll oversee the distribution of billions of dollars in foreign aid.
She’ll also likely have sway on Biden’s broader foreign policy, an area where she played a key role during the Obama administration.
Biden, in a video announcing Power as his nominee, said she would “ensure our development agenda is a core pillar of our foreign policy.”
During her confirmation hearing, Power pointed to foreign aid as a way to tackle larger foreign policy issues like countering China.
“China is using its economic leverage and heft … often a predatory way, not only to change governing practices within countries but … to water down international human rights commitments,” she told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.