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US Aid Director: Foreign aid key to countering China’s Influence

Posted by on 2023/05/18. Filed under Breaking News,Headline News,International. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul told a hearing attended by USAID Administrator Samantha Power that it was unclear how the agency planned to use the $400 million in funds it had requested to counter Chinese influence.
“Our foreign aid must provide a clear alternative to the CCP and our adversaries, while saving lives and projecting America’s global leadership around the world,” McCaul said.

Budget hearings with agency heads are an annual event on Capitol Hill, and the amount of money the administration requests for agencies is often just the starting point for negotiations.

Power told the House Foreign Affairs Committee: “The People’s Republic of China and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin are ready to step in — whether through opaque loans with unfavorable terms or mercenaries that follow. An international order respecting democracy and human rights cannot be taken for granted. In fact, authoritarian actors are challenging it and trying to reshape it. We must invest in the stable and more humane world we need.”

She told lawmakers that the budget bill introduced by House Republicans would severely undermine USAID’s global mission and U.S. global influence. Last month, the Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed budget legislation to resolve the looming debt ceiling crisis, but it is unlikely to pass the Democratic-dominated Senate. But their proposal, if passed, would raise the debt ceiling in exchange for cuts in government spending, including a reduction of as much as 22 percent in funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Representative Gregory Meeks, a Democrat and senior member of the House Foreign Relations committee, said on Wednesday: “China and Russia have not cut their international affairs budgets by nearly a third. In fact, they are developing and expanding their foreign assistance programs as a means of furthering national interests and exerting influence on the global stage. We are losing ground.”

On Sunday, Mr. McCaul told the ABC News program “This Week” that “default is not the right way forward. … Our adversaries are watching this very closely. They focus on when we are divided… I don’t think anything would make them happier, especially China, than to see us violate our entire faith and credit as enshrined in the Constitution.”

He added that Republicans already have a plan to avoid that.

“I think we’re being reasonable,” McCaul said. “We’re willing to raise the debt ceiling, but we want to actually cut spending and limit it to… 2022 level.”

In 2019, USAID’s funding grew at half the rate of its program growth, Bauer said. According to opinion polls, many Americans think foreign aid spending is much higher than it actually is. Numerous surveys consistently show that the public believes the U.S. federal government spends 25 percent of its annual budget on foreign aid, when in fact it spends less than 1 percent.

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