Washington, D.C. Today, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing and Related Programs completed its markup of the Fiscal Year 2006 (FY06) Appropriations bill.
While today’s bill provides $1.75 billion for MCC, an increase of 17.6% over last year’s appropriated level, it still falls short of the President’s request of $3 billion for FY06, said MCC CEO Paul Applegarth. Today’s markup is only the first step in the appropriations process, and we strongly encourage Congress to increase the number to the President’s request of $3 billion as the process continues. Fully funding MCC is essential to ensure that MCC can credibly tell our partner countries that we are ready and able to fund Compacts that show a real commitment to reducing poverty and spurring economic growth.
Of the 17 countries that are currently eligible for FY04 and FY05 MCA funding, there are almost 170 million people represented, over 90 million of whom live on less than $2 per day. The 13 additional countries in the threshold program represent another 240 million people. The MCC Board may approve additional eligible countries for FY 06, including from a new category of lower middle income countries that will be eligible for the first time in FY06.
Mr. Applegarth added, MCC appreciates that there have been continued annual increases in Congressional appropriations. Under the leadership of Chairman Jim Kolbe, the committee has recognized the importance of MCC’s mandate to make long-term development assistance more effective and to stimulate lasting poverty reduction as we help developing nations help themselves. B ut the need is great and we will continue to work with Congress to reach the President’s requested funding level for MCC . Fully funding MCC is not only essential to improving the lives of the poor; it is in our national security interest to provide hope to those living in the developing world.
The MCC has already signed Compacts with Madagascar for $110 million and with Honduras for $215 million. MCC’s Board of Directors has approved Compacts with Cape Verde for $110 million and with Nicaragua for $175 million, bringing our total approved Compacts to over $600 million. MCC has a robust pipeline of Compacts which it anticipates will exhaust current appropriated funds by the first part of next year.
Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government corporation designed to work with some of the poorest countries in the world, is based on the principle that aid is most effective when it reinforces good governance, economic freedom, and investments in people that promote economic growth and elimination of extreme poverty.