Washington, DC—The Senate Appropriations Committee today released their proposed State and Foreign Operations funding bill for fiscal year 2009 which would not allow, for at least one year, the Millennium Challenge Corporation to enter into any new agreements with countries working to reduce poverty.
I met recently with Senator Leahy and I know he sincerely shares MCCs commitment to reducing global poverty. Nonetheless, the funding pause advocated by his subcommittee will demoralize Americas partners in the developing world and deflate their reform efforts, MCCs Chief Executive Officer, Ambassador John Danilovich, said. We understand that the Committee wants us to go forward and continue the implementation of compacts already signed, but without funding for new compacts, MCCs successful model of encouraging reform will be lost.
Furthermore, the absurdly low proposed funding level is a rebuke of the development communitys efforts to reform the way the U.S. delivers foreign assistance, Ambassador Danilovich said.
The Senate Committees proposal will impact those countries currently developing compact proposals, including the Philippines, Jordan, Senegal, Malawi, Timor Leste, and Moldova.
I am concerned that news of this proposed funding level will have a chilling, disturbing, and destabilizing effect on our partners who are investing their own hard work and significant resources into our program, Ambassador Danilovich said. I want to reassure MCC partner countries that full funding for previously signed agreements is locked in and will not be cut, the ambassador continued. America will keep its commitments to those developing nations who have kept faith in our process.
The House Appropriations Subcommittee took up the issue of MCC funding yesterday in its mark-up of the State and Foreign Operations funding bill and proposed keeping MCC at its current funding level. Ambassador Danilovich commented, I would like to thank the House Appropriations Subcommittee under Chairwoman Loweys leadership, which again yesterday underscored its strong support for sustainable poverty reduction. Although the funding level they propose would limit the number of countries MCC can work with in 2009, it would still allow us to move forward with a number of important partnerships.