[House Hearing, 113 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
U.S. FOREIGN ASSISTANCE IN FY 2015: WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES, HOW
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS
APRIL 9, 2014
Serial No. 113-161
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DANA ROHRABACHER, California Samoa
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio BRAD SHERMAN, California
JOE WILSON, South Carolina GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
TED POE, Texas GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
MATT SALMON, Arizona THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina KAREN BASS, California
ADAM KINZINGER, Illinois WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
MO BROOKS, Alabama DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
TOM COTTON, Arkansas ALAN GRAYSON, Florida
PAUL COOK, California JUAN VARGAS, California
GEORGE HOLDING, North Carolina BRADLEY S. SCHNEIDER, Illinois
RANDY K. WEBER SR., Texas JOSEPH P. KENNEDY III,
SCOTT PERRY, Pennsylvania Massachusetts
STEVE STOCKMAN, Texas AMI BERA, California
RON DeSANTIS, Florida ALAN S. LOWENTHAL, California
TREY RADEL, Florida--resigned 1/27/ GRACE MENG, New York
14 deg. LOIS FRANKEL, Florida
DOUG COLLINS, Georgia TULSI GABBARD, Hawaii
MARK MEADOWS, North Carolina JOAQUIN CASTRO, Texas
TED S. YOHO, Florida
LUKE MESSER, Indiana
Amy Porter, Chief of Staff Thomas Sheehy, Staff Director
Jason Steinbaum, Democratic Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable Rajiv Shah, Administrator, U.S. Agency for
International Development...................................... 4
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable Rajiv Shah: Prepared statement..................... 7
Hearing notice................................................... 60
Hearing minutes.................................................. 61
The Honorable Ted Poe, a Representative in Congress from the
State of Texas: Material submitted for the record.............. 63
Written responses from the Honorable Rajiv Shah to questions
submitted for the record by:
The Honorable Christopher H. Smith, a Representative in
Congress from the State of New Jersey........................ 65
The Honorable William Keating, a Representative in Congress
from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts....................... 67
The Honorable Michael T. McCaul, a Representative in Congress
from the State of Texas...................................... 74
The Honorable Ted Poe.......................................... 76
U.S. FOREIGN ASSISTANCE IN FY 2015: WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES, HOW
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9, 2014
House of Representatives,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:10 a.m. in
room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Ed Royce
(chairman of the committee) presiding.
Chairman Royce. This hearing of the Committee on Foreign
Affairs will come to order. We will ask all members to take
their seats at this time.
Today, we welcome Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S.
Agency for International Development, who is responsible for
managing roughly 60 percent of the total $32 billion foreign
operations budget. A common refrain is that foreign aid
accounts for less than 1 percent of the Federal budget. As we
will hear, aid programs that are effectively executed can help
create more stable societies, speed economic growth, and
advance U.S. national security interests. Still, the bar for
justifying this spending must be high given our unacceptable
Of course, the principal goal of U.S. foreign assistance
must be to get the United States eventually out of the business
of foreign assistance because to succeed, developing nations
must unlock their own growth potential. To that end, I am
pleased that the administration is committed to the goals of
the Electrify Africa Act, bipartisan legislation which recently
passed this committee. Targeted investments in power generation
can help Africans attract foreign investment and produce the
goods to grow their economies. We look forward to continuing to
work with USAID on this important initiative.
I am encouraged by the administration's commitment and by
the Administrator's commitment to a new model of development
that focuses on transparency. It focuses on science, and
innovation, and engagement with the private sector. Dr. Shah
has shown that he is not afraid of upsetting the status quo.
I am also pleased that this budget builds upon recent gains
in the international food aid reform effort. Last year, I
worked closely with the ranking member, Mr. Eliot Engel of New
York, and Representatives Marino and Bass, and USAID, along
with a broad coalition of advocacy groups, and ultimately we
succeeded in freeing up an additional $100 million from
inefficient purchase and shipping regulations so we can
strengthen food markets, promote greater self-sufficiency, and
save more lives, more quickly, and for less money. I have seen
firsthand the need for a quick and efficient food aid program,
having recently visited Tacloban in the Philippines, which of
course was ravaged by the typhoon that struck that island.
Unfortunately, USAID will have no shortage of challenges
ahead. Needs in Syria, and the region are growing; humanitarian
space there is shrinking. U.S. investments in Afghanistan and
Pakistan must contend with debilitating corruption and waste,
and the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan will only
place aid at greater risk. I am disappointed that the
administration's request for Egypt failed once again to
prioritize true economic reforms, including a focus on the
clear title to property and property title transfer, that would
enable entrepreneurs to enter the formal economy, as explained
to us in our committee hearing that we had on the importance of
aid reform there. USAID programs in Haiti appear to be poorly
planned and largely unsustainable; this committee passed good
oversight legislation aimed at improving conditions and the
value of our work on that troubled island. There are concerns
about the administration's lack of focus on democracy
Needless to say, your challenges are great, your challenges
are growing every day, your task is compounded by the fact that
there are no quick fixes in your line of work. That would be
the case even if you did not have to contend with a wave of
extremism affecting many countries. With that in mind, we
should be looking to maximize every resource at our disposal,
and this includes better leveraging the support and investment
of the many diaspora communities throughout the U.S. that are
active in the same regions that you are.
I look forward to working with you, Administrator Shah, to
address these pressing concerns, while advancing our strategic
goals, promoting economic growth, and graduating more countries
from foreign aid.
I will now turn to Ranking Member Eliot Engel from New York
for his opening statement.
Mr. Engel. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and also thank you for
holding this important hearing.
Dr. Shah, thank you for your service, and for being here
today to review the administration's foreign assistance budget
request for Fiscal Year 2015.
I would like to begin by reminding my colleagues that the
international affairs budget as a whole, is only about 1
percent of the entire Federal budget, and the foreign
assistance funding that we will discuss today is only a
fraction of that amount. I have constantly been saying that we
should have more money in the budget for foreign aid. The
American public thinks that we spend about 15 percent of our
budget on foreign aid and in reality it is just under 1
Having said that though, it is important that every tax
dollar is spent wisely and one of the key responsibilities of
this committee is to conduct effective oversight of USAID, the
State Department, and other foreign affairs agencies. But let's
not fool ourselves into believing that we can solve our larger
budget issues by slashing foreign aid. That is certainly not
the case. So what do we give to that tiny slice of the budget
that we spend on foreign assistance? It is easy. We promote
American leadership around the world, we support allies in
need, we creates new markets for American goods, and generate
jobs here at home. We help impoverished men, women, and
children suffering from hunger and disease. We prevent wars
before they happen. Through all of these activities we make a
critical investment in our own security.
Dr. Shah, I would like to commend you personally for your
leadership on so many important issues. You and I have worked
very closely together, and I must say that I am very impressed
with your intellect, your hard work, your dedication, and your
good heart. The administration has made some very tough
decisions on funding priorities, and I am impressed by USAID's
ability to accomplish so much on such a limited budget.
As we have discussed, I am disappointed by the proposed
cuts to the bilateral tuberculosis program and to the
humanitarian accounts. The United States has helped the world
make tremendous gains in childhood survival, maternal health,
and the fight against tuberculosis and I fear that reductions
in these areas will make it difficult to sustain the progress
we have made.
Likewise, I am concerned that we will need more funding for
humanitarian relief in the coming fiscal year, not less, to
deal with famine and crisis in South Sudan, the Central African
Republic and other countries. On food aid, I am pleased that
the budget request builds on the modest gains we made in the
foreign bill by seeking additional flexibility that will allow
USAID to reach about 2 million more people each year. Dr. Shah,
you and I have had extensive discussions about why there needs
to be food aid reform. We can get more food aid to people
faster and cheaper, and to me, that's the bottom line. Thank
you for your leadership on that as well, because we have
piggybacked on your proposals, the chairman and I have made
great progress in letting people know that this has to be done.
I am concerned that the gains we have made on food security
will be imperilled unless we mount an aggressive effort to
combat the effects of climate change. This budget would help
developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and
help vulnerable populations deal with the impacts of global
Dr. Shah, your signature initiatives emphasize public
private partnerships and harnessing innovation. Your latest
effort launched just weeks ago is the U.S. Global Development
Lab; I have high hopes for this initiative and would like you
to describe some of the lab's key products and innovations. I
am particularly impressed by the invention of the Pratt pouch,
which effectively prevents the transmission of HIV from mother
to child. It costs only 9 cents per pouch, can be used
anywhere, and will make a big difference in our fight to create
an AIDS-free generation.
With regard to Haiti, this committee has expanded oversight
of U.S. assistance provided to that country, since the
devastating 2010 earthquake. I am pleased that U.S.
reconstruction aide to Haiti has accelerated, and I hope that
USAID will focus more intensely on ensuring that our assistance
to Haiti encourages investment in the country.
On Cuba, I have closely followed the recent press reports
about a democracy assistance program and hope you will use this
opportunity to discuss the purpose and effectiveness of these
In Africa, USAID is leading the Power Africa Initiative
which will increase access to affordable electricity, for
hundreds of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. This will
help fuel greater economic growth and development across the
continent. I hope that the Electrify Africa Act, legislation
that Chairman Royce and I authored, will bolster your efforts
and exchange the life of this promising program.
In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the U.S. has spent billions of
dollars on roads, agriculture, rule of law, and capacity
building. I hope you will focus on how USAID plans to monitor
projects in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of all U.S. combat
troops at the end of 2014, and the continuing value of our aid
On Ukraine, the President recently signed into law a
bipartisan legislation to provide additional assistance with a
focus on strengthening civil society, combating corruption,
promoting energy efficiency and diversification, and preparing
the country for democratic elections. USAID will be a lead
agency in implementing this assistance and I look forward to
hearing your views and how best to manage these programs. I
might add that the chairman and I are leading a trip to Ukraine
in a very, very short time.
And finally, I regret that the budget request plans for a
long road ahead in Syria. More than 3 years after the start of
this horrendous conflict, the Assad regime continues to commit
atrocities with impunity. The country has become a magnet for
extremists, and the humanitarian crisis gets worse with each
passing day. I believe we should do more to help bring this
conflict to an end and relieve the immense suffering of the
So Dr. Shah, I would like to thank you again for being here
and I look forward to your testimony.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Royce. Thank you, Mr. Engel.
This morning, we are joined by Rajiv Shah, the
Administrator of USAID. Dr. Shah is the 16th Administrator of
USAID and previously, he served as Under Secretary of Research,
Education and Economics at USAID, and as chief scientist at the
U.S. Department of Agriculture. We welcome him back to the
Without objection, the witness' full prepared statement
will be made part of the record. Members will have 5 calendar
days to submit any statements, questions, or extraneous
material for the record. We will ask Administrator Shah if you
would, please, summarize your remarks.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE RAJIV SHAH, ADMINISTRATOR, U.S.
AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Shah. Thank you, Chairman Royce, and thank you Ranking
Member Engel, and to all of the members of the committee.
I am pleased and honored to be here to present a
justification for President Obama's Fiscal Year 2015 request
for USAID and for development assistance around the world. As
the President has said on numerous occasions, our investments
in development, health, humanitarian affairs, and in supporting
civil society and democratic governance are a critical part of
our own national security strategy.
I first want to start by just saying thank you to all of
the members of the committee and in particular, the chair and
the ranking member. Your support over the last years has helped
us rebuild our staffing, rebuild our capacity to manage
budgets, and rebuild our policy leadership at USAID. You have
helped us expand our partner base to include local
organizations around the world, private companies, civil
society organizations and NGOs.
You have helped us to prioritize science and technology as
a core driver of how America can help accelerate the fight to
end extreme poverty, and supported the launch last week of the
U.S. Global Development Lab designed to bring university
scientists, businesses, and young people all together to
literally invent new tools and technologies that can accelerate
the fight against disease, hunger, and poverty. You have
supported our efforts to aggressively transform the way we
evaluate our programs, so that today all of our major programs
are evaluated by third parties, and those evaluations are
conducted at a high level of quality and made public in full
We have tried to pursue a new model of development that
expands the partnership base and brings innovation and
technology to the task of ending extreme poverty. I think we
have seen in many instances the success of this effort. The
President's Feed the Future Program, which operates in 19
countries, now reaches 7 million small-scale farmers each year,
helping to move 12.5 million children out of a condition of
chronic hunger and malnutrition. This takes place in
partnership with the private sector, which has made nearly $4
billion of private investment commitments alongside U.S.
investment, this is generating concrete specific results that
are reducing extreme poverty in some of the most impoverished
countries in the world.
In child survival, this budget calls for a $2.7 billion
commitment to a topic where America has traditionally led. From
1990 to today, we effectively have helped save 5 million
children's lives every year through our collective efforts with
partners. We have now set for ourselves an ambitious goal of
taking down from 6.6 million to near elimination the remaining
number of children who die every year unnecessarily, and we
know with your ongoing commitment and support we can achieve
Similar outcomes are being seen in education, in water, and
in energy where we really value the leadership presented by the
committee with respect to the Electrify Africa bill. In
disaster assistance, unfortunately we have had an
extraordinarily active year. The response in the Philippines to
Typhoon Haiyan has been seen as a global best practice and I
just gathered with Secretary Hagel and the ASEAN Defense
Ministers to learn from that example.
One of the reasons that was so successful was the ability
to use flexibly purchased food locally, to ensure that we could
quickly and efficiently meet the needs of children who
otherwise would have suffered from hunger, and quickly scale up
a program to reach 3 million people in the context of a natural
disaster. We look forward to further discussions and support on
the President's proposal to take food aid reform forward with a
request for 25 percent flexibility in the program.
We know that we are currently facing three level three
emergencies around the world: Syria and its neighbors, the
Central African Republic, and South Sudan. Given the pressures
that will take place, we appreciate opportunities to work with
the committee to continue to optimize our response.
We also support democratic governance, civil society, and
human rights throughout the world in our programs. One
manifestation of that was our support for the Afghan elections
this past weekend, which I believe defied expectations in terms
of turnout, and in particular, the turnout of women in the
context of that vote. We look forward to discussing our
democratic governance programs in greater detail.
And I would like to conclude just by noting that people
often tell me that foreign assistance is difficult to justify
politically, and I know that each of you spend time with your
constituents and in your communities doing that work. I want to
thank you for that. I really believe that America stands at a
unique time in our history when it comes to our efforts to
address global poverty.
Really for the first time, we can credibly suggest that it
is possible to end extreme poverty, $1-a-day poverty, within
the next two decades and it will require continued support from
this committee, from businesses, from scientists, from members
of the faith community, from NGOs, from civil society, and from
governments around the world to achieve that goal. And we
appreciate your support to that end.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Shah follows:]
Chairman Royce. Thank you very much, Administrator Shah.
I wanted to start with a few questions here. One on land
grabbing, and the lack of enforceable property rights and title
transfer in developing nations, which act as significant
barriers to sustainable development and to long-term growth. We
have seen this up close in terms of the results in Tunisia and
in Egypt. We have seen the shock waves created. It is a source
of tremendous political and social instability.
In December, there was an insightful article, ``Lessons
From the Past: Securing Land Rights in the Wake of Typhoon
Haiyan.'' The article quoted a USAID official saying that
unequal access to land is a central issue that cuts across both
rural and urban sectors in the Philippines. Unequal access to
land is a significant issue that occurs worldwide. We know of
significant land grabbing that is occurring, and has occurred
for some years now, in Cambodia and in China and in Peru.
Administrator Shah, what is USAID doing to urge the
Government of the Philippines to address the issue of land
grabbing and, most importantly, what about the rampant
corruption at a local level that allows land grabbing to occur?
I have heard over and over again, that the Philippines is
making progress on fighting corruption. However, even
Philippine anticorruption officials will admit that corruption
in this area, in terms of land grabbing, is an ongoing tragedy.
With all of the assistance that we are providing to Manila,
isn't it true, and isn't it time, that USAID and the
administration should be focused on this issue given what is at
For 3 years now, I have tried to work to make this a
priority with USAID. I have received emphatic support verbally.
Three years later after returning, I see no progress. So will
this be the year when we finally make a difference?
Mr. Shah. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It will. We believe this
is a critical issue. As I have seen personally in efforts where
I handed out land titles to Colombian farmers who were
returning to their farms after a conflict that has lasted
decades. The power of respecting property rights, providing
titles, giving people the basis to seek financing to invest in
their own future is an extraordinarily powerful strategy to
reduce poverty and extreme poverty.
In the Philippines 46 percent of the 24.2 million parcels
are titled, and even amongst those, a high degree of corruption
and ineffective respect for those titles hamper the ability of
many poor families to secure their future.
I am thrilled that we have been working together on this. I
want to say thank you for your specific visits to the country,
and work with our program. We can commit today to use Fiscal
Year 2014 resources to engage in efforts that will help both
work with the government on corruption issues, enforcement,
community policing, and support for their land management
office, as well as with local communities to help address this
Chairman Royce. Thank you. The other question I was going
to ask you is, last week this committee held a hearing on women
in education, followed by a markup on our legislation, the
Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act. Our debate, I think, drove
home a very important point, and that is, education is a very
powerful tool that can advance U.S. national security
interests, while creating more stable societies. For many years
now, I have expressed concerns about the rise of these Deobandi
schools. I have made three trips to Pakistan to urge the
government there to close them. They really prey upon the
disenfranchised, and they are breeding radicalism. I have
visited schools that have later been destroyed by the Taliban
up in the Northwest frontier.
I think that the Pakistani-American community here in the
United States, based on my work with them, see how we can
better coordinate efforts to promote education and private-
sector growth in Pakistan. They have a very real interest in
making certain that this radicalization is offset, and that the
education of girls is advanced.
What can be done to better leverage and support investments
by the Pakistani diaspora in education and private-sector
development in Pakistan, and how are you safeguarding U.S.
assistance against corruption inside Pakistan?
Mr. Shah. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. You know, I
appreciate the leadership the committee has shown especially in
taking forward the legacy that Malala Yousafzai has created by
using her voice and the power of her moral example to advocate
for this issue. USAID has supported a large-scale program in
Pakistan on education with specific focus on girls and early
grade learning literacy outcomes.
We target reaching 3.2 million children. We have helped to
reconstruct more than 1,400 schools. We have worked with
Federal and provincial governments in a number of states to
make sure that this issue is a priority, and we have engaged in
teacher training, curricula, and standards and perhaps most
importantly, the measuring of literacy outcomes through the
Early Grade Reading Assessment which USAID has pioneered and
We look forward to working with the Pakistani-American
community on this. We have new mechanisms to allow us to do
that and I think, you know, that ability to engage the diaspora
community, which is something we have enhanced over the last
several years, would be quite welcome to take this program to
an even greater level of effectiveness.
Chairman Royce. Thank you, Administrator Shah.
We will turn now to Mr. Eliot Engel of New York.
Mr. Engel. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have four questions. I am going to try to do it quickly.
First one is about something I mentioned in my opening
statement. That is tuberculosis. It is usually treatable, as
you know, with a course of inexpensive drugs. But it is still
the leading curable infectious killer in the world, claiming
1.3 million lives per year. The emergence of multidrug
resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB strains really pose
a direct threat to the public health of the U.S.
This year's budget request for USAID's tuberculosis
program, proposes a $45 million cut from Fiscal Year 2014's
appropriated level of $236 million. So at a time of tight
budgets for PEPFAR and the global fund, can you elaborate on
how USAID's tuberculosis program could absorb a cut of this
magnitude and still carry out its vital mission?
Mr. Shah. Thank you. I appreciate your leadership on
tuberculosis. I think it has been very, very important, and
that is part of why we have seen a 50 percent reduction in TB
mortality and TB is projected to achieve its millennium
development goal target. We are very concerned about multidrug
resistant tuberculosis which largely has emerged in places like
India, South Africa, China, Brazil, and Russia.
I would note a few things: The first is, in a difficult
budget environment we have had to make some tradeoffs, but what
we have tried to do here is recognize we have three pots of
funding for TB; the USAID Bilateral Program, the $180-plus
million in PEPFAR that goes to TB, and the global fund
commitment which has gone up over the last several years and
where the United States recently encouraged and voted for
global fund spending more of its resources from 14 to 18
percent on tuberculosis in particular. So in aggregate, I think
the United States' commitment to tuberculosis remains at a
consistent and strong level.
Second, we are engaging more in partnerships, especially in
countries that can afford to pay for much of the response but
require some technical partnership with us. I saw this
specifically transpire in India, where they are very focused on
MDR and what they call XDR TB. And third, we look forward to
working with you to continue to make sure that we are
optimizing our program. I think USAID has had a very strong
history of supporting the World Health Organization, CDC, and
local country governments around the world to take more of
their own domestic responsibility for this issue.
Mr. Engel. Thank you. Let me ask you a couple of Middle
East questions. The first one on Syria. The U.N. Security
Council has unanimously approved a resolution which demands all
parties, particularly the Syrian authorities, promptly allow
rapid, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access to U.N.
humanitarian agencies and their implementations. Assad, there
is all kinds of questions about the leader of Syria, Assad,
stealing the food, stealing the aid, not letting it go to rebel
areas that need the aid.
Can you just give us a quick overview about Syrian
Mr. Shah. Well, thank you, and as you know, and as members
of the committee have really worked hard to highlight, this is
an extraordinary crisis with 9.5 million people in need inside
of Syria, and 2.5 million refugees now, especially more in
Jordan and Lebanon that are really taxing those countries'
ability to sustain social services for those mostly young
The United States is proud of the fact that our aid and
assistance, more than $1.7 billion over the last few years has
reached and continues to reach more than 4 million people
inside of Syria. More so than any other country, we reach
affected communities even in opposition areas. Surgeons and
doctors that we support have provided more than 250,000
surgeries, everyone of them heroic in the context of being
targeted, and in many cases having staff lose their lives.
We continue to provide support, but I want to say just a
few things. One is, U.N. Security Council resolution was
reviewed by Valerie Amos just a week ago or 2 weeks ago and she
reported to the Security Council that in fact, the Assad regime
had not lived up to the terms of the Security Council
resolution in terms of greatly expanding access.
Second, we know there are specific pockets and communities
inside of Syria, roughly 220,000 people that are held in
besieged areas, where literally, preventing food and water from
reaching them is used as a tactic of war. And that is in
violation of every basic humanitarian principle, including how
war should be conducted. So in this context, this is an
extraordinarily difficult problem.
The committee's work and your personal efforts to allow for
more flexibility and food assistance have allowed us to reach
so many more beneficiaries, women, and children, especially in
Jordan, and Lebanon, that we simply couldn't truck American
food to, but now they have got a card that has USAID logo on
it. It says, ``From the American people,'' and our humanitarian
leader, Nancy Lindborg, just sat with a group of women in Amman
who said, thank you so much for this card. It is what gives us
dignity and keeps us going. That is only happening because you
have fought for greater flexibility in food aid and food
assistance, and I just want to say thank you for your
Mr. Engel. Well, thank you. I am just wondering if quickly
I can stay on the Middle East and ask you one quick question
about the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. The administration
has requested over $400 million in Fiscal Year 2015 funds for
the Palestinian Authority and last week Palestinian President
Abbas announced the Palestinians would be joining 15
international conventions, seemingly a violation of the
obligations under the agreement to negotiate. Now they are
calling for several new preconditions to talks, making us doubt
their good faith in the negotiations.
The only pathway to a Palestinian state and sustainable
peace between Israel and the Palestinians is through a
negotiated settlement, not a unilateral declaration by the
Palestinian Authority. So let me just simply say: How will our
assistance strategy change if the Palestinians pursue a
Mr. Shah. Well, let me just say, Secretary Kerry has very
ably articulated the administration's position, and the
extraordinary leadership he has taken to support negotiations
and continues to moving forward. We play a part at the
Secretary's direction of providing supported in the West Bank
as you have noted. None of the agreements that were signed last
week endanger at this point that support right now. But we will
be looking very carefully to see how this transpires,
coordinating our efforts.
And I will just add, I was with Secretary Kerry in
Bethlehem a few months ago when we launched a high-impact
infrastructure initiative in the West Bank, and I think the
American people should take some pride in the fact that our
assistance in the region helps to maintain stability and create
some opportunities for dialogue and negotiation, but the
Secretary, of course, went into this in much more detail
yesterday and I will defer to his comments on it.
Mr. Engel. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Royce. Thank you, Mr. Engel.
We now go to Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairman emeritus of
this committee, from Florida.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Dr. Shah. I would like to give you an
opportunity to clarify some press reports about the Cuba
Twitter program. First, was the program covert and top secret?
Mr. Shah. No.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Second, does USAID implement similar
programs aimed at increasing the free flow of information
throughout the world in closed societies?
Mr. Shah. We support civil society, yes.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Third, will USAID remain committed to
reaching out to people suffering under closed societies and
Mr. Shah. Yes.
Ms. Ros-Lehtinen. Thank you, Dr. Shah. So contrary to what
the media have reported, the democracy programs for Cuba are
transparent, they are open. The Cuba democracy program with its
$20 million price tag, in fact, is one of the most scrutinized
programs in our foreign aid portfolio. The real question here
is why does the press and some in our congressional family
demonize these programs?
The Freedom House has a report called ``Freedom on the
Net.'' And this report lists Cuba as the world's second worst
violator of Internet freedom. Only Iran is worse. Thus, Cuba is
worse than countries like Syria, Bahrain, Burma, Belarus, where
no one in Congress seems to have a problem promoting Internet
freedom in those countries. So why not Cuba?
Some may have a little agenda geared toward supporting the
Castro dictatorship instead of supporting the people of Cuba,
and wish to put an end to these successful programs. Many of us
on this committee have spent a lot of time and energy
supporting human rights in Russia, in Vietnam, in Egypt, and
Tunisia, Ukraine, Iran, Syria. So why not Cuba? Why does our
foreign policy agenda discriminate against the freedom-seeking
people in the western hemisphere?
As you know, Dr. Shah, and I congratulate you for being so
sensitive to this, the Cuban people have been suffering under
the Castro dictatorship for more than 50 years; not because of
U.S. policy, but because the Castro brothers continue to
harass, to imprison, to torture, to kill the opposition.
I am a political refugee because my family emigrated to the
United States when I was 8 years old. We were seeking
democracy. And I remember driving through Havana, and my father
telling me, duck down, because gunshots were being fired all
around us. And my dear friend Albio Sires, he was 11 years old
when his family came here from Cuba, and he can also share some
of these heartbreaking stories. But these tragedies continue
today in the daily lives of the people of Cuba.
One pro-democracy leader is named as you know, Dr. Shah,
Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, known by his nickname Antunez. He was
in Castro's jail more than 17 years. Now that he is freed from
one jail to a bigger jail, that is Cuba, he continues to fight
for democracy, and for respect for human rights. In fact just 2
months ago, Antunez risked his life and went on a hunger strike
with no food or liquids. Why? All for the sake of freedom.
Berta Soler, another human rights advocate, she is a leader
of an organization called Las Damas de Blanco, the Ladies in
White. These brave women are comprised of the moms, the
sisters, the friends, the relatives of political prisoners and
they march every Sunday in peace to mass wearing all white,
calling for freedom.
They march in peace, Mr. Chairman, as you know, with the
gladiolus in their hands, you have spoken about them. And these
women are met with violence, beatings, imprisonment. These pro-
democracy advocates are the faces of the people that you, under
your leadership, in USAID have been trying to help with these
programs. Thank you for that, Dr. Shah.
And the U.S. citizen Alan Gross, as we know, is on his
fifth year of being unjustly incarcerated in Cuba, and has
begun a hunger strike. According to the Cuban Commission for
Human Rights and National Reconciliation, there were over 1,000
arbitrary and politically-motivated arrests in Cuba just 2
months ago in February, in 1 month over 1,000 arrests. Does
this sound like paradise?
If this was happening in any other country in the world,
the U.S. would be engaged, so why should Cuba be an exception?
There is no independent press in Cuba. There is complete
control over the Cuban airwaves and programming on television
and the press to promote the political propaganda spewed by
this dictatorship. That is why our State Department, and that
is why you, Dr. Shah, with USAID democracy programs in Cuba are
so important to offer the other side of the story, the side
that promotes American values, God-given values like freedom,
justice and liberty.
And I recognize that some in Congress don't think that Cuba
is of national significance, but they are wrong. And this issue
goes well beyond Cuba. This issue that we are debating, Mr.
Chairman, is whether or not USAID should be taking steps to
promote human rights, the rule of law, and democratic
governance throughout the world, and I say yes.
Thank you, Dr. Shah. Thank you, USAID. This is a
cornerstone of our foreign policy to promote democratic ideals.
And I am sorry I am out of time. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Royce. Thank you, Ileana.
We now go to Gregory Meeks of New York.
Mr. Meeks. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Dr. Shah, for your outstanding job in leading
I am going to try to do quickly, and I guess if you can
just write them down, four questions and hopefully you will get
a chance to answer them. If not, then we will talk later. But
first, you know, USAID plays a significant role in providing
trade-related assistance, and Congress has appropriated funds
for this purpose specifically targeting certain countries with
which we have trade agreements. I am a strong supporter of
trade capacity building, so I would like to know more about
what USAID is doing to enhance trade capacity abroad, and what
else you think Congress can do to help. That is question number
Number two, as I indicated I also applaud what the agency
has done and progress in dispersing aid funding in Haiti.
However, recently the Congressional Black Caucus was at the
U.N. and we were told that there could be a serious outbreak of
cholera, and that there is an cholera emergency in Haiti and so
I want to know, do you think that is so, is it under control,
and what we can do there?
Third, of course, I am also concerned, in regards to
funding in Colombia, a great ally of ours, but particularly
there seems to be a real situation in Buenaventura, which is
Colombia's largest port, and it is the center of its African
Colombian population where over \1/2\ million inhabitants and
over 90 percent of them are black, and they are mired in crime
and poverty, and over 80 percent live below the poverty line;
30 percent are unemployed; and virtually none have access to
reliable supplies of electricity, water, even basic road
And so that this violence that is going on, and I know as
we phase out of Plan Colombia, et cetera, but we want to make
sure that we are able to address underlying social problems so
that if there is anything that is being--what we are doing
And finally, on the lines of what Ranking Member Eliot
Engel had asked, and I know he talked especially about
tuberculosis, but thanks in a huge part to U.S. investments in
global health, the world has cut by 50 percent the number of
children who die before age 5 from whether it is pneumonia, or
malaria, or tuberculosis, the leading killers of children
We are on the verge of some exciting breakthroughs and
lifesaving potential. For example, I know that USAID's has new
tools to treat and prevent malaria. But these budget controls
and constraints, et cetera, so I was wondering how you would
prioritize these health, global health needs to assure that we
are fulfilling the gaps on current global health needs
especially as it relates to helping children.
Mr. Shah. Thank you, Mr. Congressman.
And I just want to say thank you for your personal
engagement and leadership on so many of these issues as they
pertain to so many important parts of the world, and on behalf
of really the world's most vulnerable.
With respect to trade assistance and capacity building, the
Fiscal Year 2015 request includes $170 million for precisely
that activity. In addition to that, we have our Feed the Future
Program, which is operational in 19 countries, and really
focuses on improving the capacity of local businesses to engage
in, in particular regional agricultural trade.
And I would just note that we have done careful evaluations
of programs like the East Africa Trade Hub, that have found
that our efforts have helped to bring down customs blockages,
and transshipments across borders, have accelerated the time
and efficiency in regional trade in particular, and have
generated $40 of economic value for every $1 we have invested
in trade capacity building. So what Congress can do is support
strongly the Development Assistance Account, which is part of
the budget, and is under a lot of pressure.
Second, with respect to Haiti, we have a strong community-
based public health program that is focused on all causes of
child mortality and will include and does already include an
integrated effort with the U.N. to address cholera. I would
point out that right now the fatality rate is under 1 percent,
which meets the standards and goals the U.N. has set, but we
are working all the time to make sure that cholera is managed.
And also as we make those investments that the clinics that
are in rural communities are well stocked and suited to serve
all children, whatever the cause of disease might be, and that
building that supply chain and that health systems approach has
been critical to our efforts to bring down child mortality in
Haiti which have been successful over the last few years.
Third, with respect to Afro-Colombian populations in
Colombia, I personally had a chance to meet with our partners
and we are trying to work with about 100 businesses, train
thousands of Afro-Colombian youth, and then get them placed in
jobs, and that effort has been very successful. We expect to
place 80 percent of the 4,500 trainees in 2014, and reaching
10,000 by 2016. And we have a lot of support from business
leaders there, and it is part of our new approach to public-
And finally, with respect to global health I just want to
say thank you. Your raising that issue is so critical. America
has a chance right now to lead the charge to end child death,
and it will take a two-decade commitment from this committee.
It will take resources, and we have produced a Fiscal Year
2015 request that has a small increase over the Fiscal Year
2014 request, and it requires a new concerted business-like
approach in the 24 countries that account for just over 70
percent of the 6.6 million kids who die, and we are be
unveiling an investment plan for those 24 countries with a
group of other partners later in June. So we thank you for your
support, and I think this is one area where America can
accomplish something in partnership with others that is truly
Mr. Meeks. Thank you.
Chairman Royce. We go now to Mr. Chris Smith, chairman of
the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health.
Mr. Smith. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And Dr. Shah, welcome and thank you for your leadership.
Let me ask you a few questions and I do have some I would
like to submit for the record. You know, the focus of child
survival, is an extraordinarily important one.
The first amendment I offered as a member of this committee
in 1982, more than 30 years ago, was to reauthorize, expand,
and double the amount of money for child survival. It passed,
became law, and we have as a country, been taking the lead
through various administrations with oral rehydration therapy,
nutrition, vaccines, and the like, but I am concerned.
I was part of a roundtable discussion with seven African
first ladies back in 2010 and it focussed on The First 1,000
Day of Life From the Moment of Conception, their title, a very
important title and a very important initiative.
As we all know, and you know it better than anyone, I
think, UNICEF estimates that 1 in 4 children worldwide are
stunted due to lack of adequate nutrition. Children who are
chronically undernourished as unborn children, up to their
second birthday, have impaired immune systems that are
incapable of protecting them against life-threatening ailments
such as pneumonia and malaria.
Mothers who are malnourished as girls are 40 percent more
likely to die during childbirth, experience debilitating
complications like obstetric fistula, and deliver children who
perish before reaching the age of 5. We are still waiting for
the nutrition initiative guidelines, and I know they are in the
works. The sooner the better. How do we expand the first 1,000
days of life initiative?
I was in Guatemala on the day that they signed a compact
with the U.S. We need to do more of those; not just for
stunting purposes, but so mother and child will be healthy. So
if you could talk about that briefly.
Last year neglected tropical diseases caused the loss of
534,000 lives. In 2014, $100 million was focused on those
horrible diseases. I held a hearing on that last year, Dr.
Peter Hotez testified, I have since read his book, Forgotten
People Forgetten Diseases. It is exploding all over.
Schistosomiasis is on a tear, as you know, as well as these
other horrible diseases, worms make people, particularly women,
more likely to contract HIV/AIDS. Yet, the 2015 budget cuts it
to $86.5 million. Maybe there is other money coming in from a
different spigot but that is a 14-percent cut for something
that is extraordinarily important.
On Ebola, you might want to speak to that very quickly, and
then maybe more for the record. I know five CDC people arrived
in Guinea. But this is different. Doctors Without Borders says
this is unprecedented because it is not small, it is not
isolated, it seems to be expanding.
And finally, something that I think is an easy lift, I had
a hearing on this whole emerging problem of infectious-based
hydrocephalic disease. Dr. Ben Warf from Harvard sat where you
sit and gave riveting testimony on the need for neurosurgeons
in Africa and neurologists.
Cure International has cured over 5,000 kids in Uganda. I
have introduced a bill but I don't know if it is going to pass
or not. We have asked you repeatedly. I have asked you if you
would look into it. We are talking about $3 million per year to
get us involved with brain health in general, but this one is
the situation of kids who are dying horrible deaths from water
on the brain.
I have seen the kids. I have met the children. I had one of
the neurosurgeons testify from Africa. They need more of them.
And that is part of the vision to grow the capacity of
neurosurgeons in Africa; 1 in 10 million of all of East Africa.
That is appalling.
Mr. Shah. Thank you, and I just wanted to thank you for
your leadership on all of these global health issues, your
chairmanship of that committee, as well as your work from the
early 1980s that set a tone for American leadership that I
think has borne tremendous results. So thank you very, very
First, on nutrition, we will be announcing on May 22nd, our
nutrition policy--this is very important because this is one
area where the science and the solutions have advanced
dramatically in the last 5 years and working together with Tony
Lake, who leads UNICEF, I am part of something called the
Scaling Up Nutrition or SUN effort, which is designed to take
the 1,000-days approach, targeting pregnant women and young
children with supplemental foods that can improve their
nutritional status so that they are not stunted through the
rest of their lives, and move it forward in dozens of countries
that where the countries themselves make the first commitment,
create the plan, make their own investments, and then we match
I think you will see in the policy that we are setting a
quantitative target for the number of stunted kids. We will
achieve reduction of child stunting country by country. It will
be an integrated policy with our Feed the Future Program and
our larger global health efforts, and it will be the
operational plan that makes real last year's commitment that I
made on behalf of the Obama administration at the G8 Summit in
London to commit nearly $1 billion to nutrition-specific
investments over the next 3 years.
With respect to NTDs, we will provide a more detailed
answer for the record, but I just want to note that under the
Obama administration, we have scaled up significantly the
private-sector drug contributions from a number of key partners
as well as scaled up their contributions to do the community
training of health workers and deployment of health workers.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Shah. Our approach is now integrated with our child
survival effort because there is so much overlap in the
countries of greatest need. And I am confident that while we
had to make some tough tradeoffs on certain budget lines,
investing in the systemic approach to child survival, bringing
these drug donations into an integrative supply chain will help
us effectively achieve those goals. We could have more detailed
With respect to Ebola, we have been supporting the World
Health Organization and the CDC in this effort. We are
supporting them in the regional office in Brazzaville as well
as in headquarters providing personal protective equipment to
frontline workers so that they are protected from disease
themselves, and providing emergency financial support as it is
needed. I am glad that you raise it because it does have real
and dire potential and we will continue to work on it.
And on hydrocephalus, I look forward to working with you a
bit more on that. I understand why it has been difficult and
part of the difficulty is that we have been so laser-like
focused on community health and efforts to reduce diseases that
cause large scale mortality and morbidity that we haven't had
the resource flexibility given the extraordinarily tight
budgets. But if there is something we can do to be helpful I
would like to make that commitment to you, and I understand the
data that you are citing and the commitment you have shown and
I want to thank you for that.
Chairman Royce. We go to Mr. Albio Sires of New Jersey, the
ranking member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere.
Mr. Sires. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I would first like to associate myself with the words
by my colleague Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and I won't bore you with
some of my experiences as a young boy.
What I do want to talk a little bit about is this issue
with the Tweeter, and I want to know if you still feel that
USAID is still the appropriate vehicle to carry out these
programs? And quite frankly, what are the potential negative
effects on USAID's programs going forward in Cuba and
elsewhere? Because we have the issue of Venezuela, so----
Mr. Shah. Well, maybe I could suggest three things. The
first is, it is clear that this program which is directed and
mandated by Congress and implemented within pretty tight
direction, is a part of our portfolio of activities and I do
want to have a conversation with Congress about how we are
managing this, about what the long-term approach ought to be.
I do take note that the GAO report that reviewed our
management complimented us for making management improvements
in how the program is executed, and I know that in countries
all around the world standing up for democratic values,
improved governance, anticorruption, open civil society, access
to information, is critical to achieving a broad range of
goals. That said, we are open to the dialogue you are
suggesting and I would like to have that.
I would also like to note right now that, because Alan
Gross was raised earlier and I just want to be clear about
something. Alan should be released by the government. He
shouldn't have been arrested in the first place. He should be
freed and allowed to return to his family. He is a husband, a
father. He is facing health issues. He has had a long career of
providing support to vulnerable populations and the entire U.S.
Government is working aggressively to secure his release.
As you know, it is important for us as an administration to
speak with one voice on this. And I and USAID will continue to
work with the State Department and under its leadership as they
lead the effort to secure his release on a diplomatic basis.
Mr. Sires. My last question is regarding Colombia. At a
time when they are negotiating with the FARC, we seem to be
cutting our assistance to Colombia. Do you feel that is a good
message that we are sending?
Mr. Shah. Well, we are doing everything we can to maintain
levels of support throughout the region and throughout the
world in an environment where the budget is very, very tight.
We have had a top-line reduction in the 150 account over all.
We have had a reallocation of resources to make significant
security investments and implement the findings of the review
that was conducted on security for State and USAID personnel
and that is creating significant pressures. We have less
overseas contingency operation resources in the Fiscal Year
2015 request. So that is all creating downward pressure.
In that context I think we are doing our best to prioritize
Colombia. We recognize how important that is. I visited
personally, met with the President, with leaders there in the
private sector and civil society and we are embracing new
partnerships. We launched a big new effort with Starbucks to
reach 25,000 small scale coffee farmers and connect them to a
high value market and these are specifically farmers in post-
FARC affected communities to get the economy going in precisely
those rural areas where we know that peace is tenuous and we
want to make sure that it is sustained.
So we are going to do our best, but this is a difficult
year budgetwise overall, and I always hope Congress can provide
greater resources for America's foreign engagements around the
world, because I believe these investments are the frontline of
our own security, prosperity, and peace.
Mr. Sires. I am just concerned that Colombia has been such
a staunch ally of ours and we have had success working
together, that at a time when they are negotiating, we are
cutting, and I don't know that sends the right message.
But thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Royce. Thank you, Mr. Sires.
We will go now to Mr. Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of the
Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Administrator, you are asking for $20 billion in your
budget this year; is that right?
Mr. Shah. It is $20.1 billion.
Mr. Rohrabacher. $20.1 billion. How much of that is
disaster assistance and how much of that is, let's say, long-
term country building aid?
Mr. Shah. Well, sir, it depends a bit on how we count the
accounts, and one of the things we have tried to do is use
disaster assistance to support longer term systemic
developments. In the Philippines, we got the energy system and
water system back up and running within a few weeks and we did
that using a combination of disaster funds and general
But in general our humanitarian accounts are called IDA,
International Disaster Assistance, Food for Peace and a number
of other accounts and they probably total maybe $4 billion, $3
billion to $4 billion in total, depending on which accounts you
Mr. Rohrabacher. 20 percent, 20 percent would be disaster
assistance of what you are asking for in the budget?
Mr. Shah. I wouldn't state it that way, but we could come
back and be precise about the answers. But, yes, it is a
portion of the $20 billion.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Let me just say that I believe that the
American people are not stingy people and we have a heart for
people who are suffering anywhere in the world, and certainly
when people go through the natural disasters or even disasters
that are caused by human action, lending a helping hand to get
over that emergency is certainly something that none of us--and
I think the American people would oppose, the American people
would support--even though we are $500 billion in the red every
year our overall budget.
We are spending $500 billion more, so every cent that we
are spending, much of that is borrowed money from somebody else
in order to give it to somebody else. But for disaster
assistance, that is understandable.
Long term country building aid, however, at a time when we
are borrowing this money to have our own economy survive
doesn't make as much sense to me or, I believe, to the American
people and often it is done in a way that is just absolutely
atrocious. And I would like to challenge one aspect of that
today, and that is the money that we plan, and I see that the
administration is planning to provide, at least you are
requesting $882 million in aid for Pakistan, and let me just
note that Pakistan arrested and is still holding and
brutalizing Dr. Afridi, who helped us identify and locate Osama
bin Ladin, who was responsibility for slaughtering 3,000
I consider his arrest and his continued incarceration to be
a hostile act by Pakistan against the United States, and I
don't see how anybody else could see it as anything else. But
worse than that, we have, apparently since 9/11 we have given
Pakistan over $25 billion, and of that, $17 billion have gone
to Pakistan's security services, which we know now have been in
cahoots with terrorists who murder Americans, and even worse,
perhaps, we have been providing these billions of dollars to
Pakistan's security services and they are using billions of
dollars of military equipment that we have been giving them in
order to conduct a genocidal campaign against the people of
Balochistan and the Sindhis of Pakistan as well.
How can we justify providing more aid for a country like
Pakistan that is using our aid, our military aid to murder in
great number the people of Balochistan and the repression of
the Sindhi people?
Mr. Shah. Sir, let me just come back to our budget. You
know, we have about $3 billion for natural disasters. The
majority of the remainder is spent in child survival, HIV/AIDS
and treatment for AIDS patients, food and hunger, including the
President's Feed the Future program, our education effort which
specifically focuses on girls and getting girls basic education
in early years, and water, and getting water to people who
otherwise suffer without.
And for each of those areas we have strategies, goals,
metrics, we measure outcomes and I believe we can speak about
the effectiveness both in terms of achieving those objectives
and creating the basis of stability and opportunity so that we
live in a more peaceful world because of this effort.
With respect to Pakistan in particular----
Mr. Rohrabacher. My only comment on that would be that we
are borrowing the money from other people in order to achieve
very fine objectives like that and perhaps in the past, we
could afford to be benevolent toward other souls that are not
in an emergency situation, but at least helping some people
out. We could be benevolent and think borrowing the money is
okay. Perhaps we have reached a point now that it threatens our
whole economy. Pardon me for interrupting.
Mr. Shah. And with respect to Pakistan, the USAID program
focuses in five sectors. In health, education, agriculture, a
stabilization program in the Fatah that has built schools and
community clinics and roads, infrastructure, and energy and
electricity and in each of those areas, in energy we put 1300
megawatts on the grid. We believe that those efforts are
helping to move communities toward a better perspective about
how to engage in the world; are giving people who otherwise
wouldn't have opportunity, basic opportunity.
And our goal, as is our goal for all of our efforts
everywhere around the world is to succeed at having local
capacity replace external assistance over time.
Mr. Rohrabacher. While we are putting our money into those
wonderful goals, they put their money into murdering their own
people and helping terrorists kill American troops.
Thank you very much.
Chairman Royce. We go now to, Mr. Ted Deutch of Florida,
ranking member on the Subcommittee on the Middle East.
Mr. Deutch. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank Dr. Shah for being here today. Let me join my
colleagues in commending you for the work that you have done to
make USAID more efficient and more transparent over the years
and the tremendous work that has been done promoting American
interests around the world.
United States gives foreign aid not because we like one
country or another; we do it to ensure stability, equality,
rule of law, food security, global health, all of the things
that have a direct impact on our own security and I commend you
for your efforts.
I would like to follow up on the exchange that I had last
year with Assistant Administrator Lindborg, who is doing
fantastic work in an incredibly challenging region on the
branding of USAID in Syria. At the time we were seeing a stream
of press reports that the Syrian people have no idea that the
United States is the largest provider of aid. There are reports
that in U.N. refugee camps there were flags of other countries
on the tents, on the blankets, but hardly any U.S. flags at
I understand the risk that branding inside Syria places on
aid workers and I am sensitive to that. But I do believe it is
appropriate in refugee camps. Ms. Lindborg gave us a number of
instances of U.S. branding, including plastic sheeting,
nutritional biscuits, and also discussed efforts to broadcast
on Arab media into Syria. I wonder if you could give us an
update on efforts to let the Syrian people know that we are
there and that we are helping.
Mr. Shah. Well, thank you, sir and I think we tried to do
our best to make sure that the work that we are doing, and the
partners who are conducting this work, are appreciated for
America's generosity and for the results they are achieving. We
have tried to balance that with some of the very specific risks
that some of our partners, in particular, Syrian American
doctors and medical facilities, face because we know that they
have been targeted by the regime.
So with that, a few examples would be as we are moving to
providing these voucher and debit cards to refugee families who
are registered in Jordan and Lebanon and Turkey, those are
branded. I noted earlier for the chairman that Nancy Lindborg
just sat with a group of women in Amman who said this
represents our dignity in an environment where we have lost our
homes, we have lost our husbands, we have lost our assets, our
kids are not in school, and thank you to the American people.
In other context----
Mr. Deutch. I am sorry; how are they branded?
Mr. Shah. They have a USAID brand on them, and ``From the
American People,'' which is part of our branding efforts, which
has been actually studied and is quite effective and sometimes
is represented in both the local language and our own.
Anytime we provide any sort of cash assistance or food
items or nonfood items, like the plastic sheeting, those things
are branded and identified. We have expanded over the last few
years efforts to use broadcasting and other tools to help
people see what we are doing, and also to learn what the needs
are so that we are both projecting an American image that is
more effective from a public diplomacy perspective and,
frankly, gathering information that helps us improve our
response, identify communities in need or changes in that
And in general, I think it is now recognized that America
provides a lot of critically needed and life saving
humanitarian assistance in Syria and certainly in the
communities I have been with in Amman, in Lebanon, in Turkey.
Mr. Deutch. Great, I appreciate that. And I hope the issue
that we heard about last time, that there are tents that
clearly display flags of the other countries who are helping to
a much less extent than the United States, that those will now
include American flags as well.
Let me move to one other issue in my remaining time. I want
to commend the good work of the American Schools and Hospitals
Abroad program which has helped American organizations start
and maintain programs around the world. In the past few years
the administration has usually recommended a level of around
$15 million in their budget. Congress is appropriated $23
million. The Fiscal Year 2015 budget request for this program
has been reduced again and it would be helpful if you could
just walk us through the reasoning for this continued reduction
in what is a successful program, at least to my understanding.
Mr. Shah. Thank you. And, again, we really respect the
American Schools and Hospitals Abroad effort. ASHA has since
1961 provided almost $1 billion in health and education
assistance to more than 300 organizations, continues to be a
critical vehicle for us, and we hosted their international
conference just a week or two ago here in Washington, DC. We
know we reach more than 10,000 students and health
professionals every year with this effort.
We have to make tough budget determinations, especially
because of the dire humanitarian consequences of what is
happening around the world right now and the downward pressure
on the overall account that comes from both the budget
agreement, the control levels, and the efforts to make the
security investments to implement the PRB report.
So this is one of those tough trade-offs. We recognize how
important this effort is and I think these are important
efforts. We just have had to make very, very difficult
decisions. This is a program that I respect and value and I
think over time we will absolutely sustain.
Mr. Deutch. I thank you.
Mr. Chairman, I would just point out that, Doctor, I
appreciate the trade-offs that have to be made, but I would
just ask if when you consider the merits of this program
relative to the relatively small investment that is being made
in it, that that analysis ultimately be a determining factor as
you go forward.
And I yield back. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Royce. Thank you. We are going to Mr. Steve Chabot
of Ohio, chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And as we continue to see government spending grow across
the board, it is critical that we ensure that taxpayers are not
being wasted on ineffective assistance programs or end up in
the hands of corrupt governments or any other organization like
So Administrator Shah, I have a few questions. In February
I had the opportunity to visit the Philippines with Chairman
Royce and a number of other members of this committee in order
to assess the devastation which was caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
While there we learned that USAID was using geo locators to
track precisely where assistance is being delivered and by
whom. It was indicated that these locators were being used in
order to help reduce the overlap of aid.
How effective has this method been in the typhoon-hit areas
and at the same time, has this technology been used in other
countries and if so where? What are the cost benefits of
implementing this type of tracking method?
Mr. Shah. Thank you, sir. I don't have the data to speak to
the cost-benefit of that specific strategy at this point. But
one of the efforts we've----
Mr. Chabot. Could you provide that when it is available?
Mr. Shah. Absolutely. One of the things we have done over
the last few years is really work hard to improve our
coordination and our lead role in coordination with the U.N.
and with a range of other partners. That is actually why I went
out to co-chair with Secretary Hagel the ASEAN defense
ministers' ministerial and humanitarian assistance, because
often coordination is about coordinating with civilian and
military actors, as we saw during Typhoon Haiyan. And this is
one technology; we have used others as well to help make sure
that we are kind of coordinated and swift and aggressive in how
we respond to things, and that we have data back so that we
know who is receiving aid and where there are pockets of need
in the midst of a crisis where data is often difficult to come
Mr. Chabot. Thank you, sir. If you could provide that cost-
benefit information, I would appreciate that.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Chabot. My next question, the Asia-Pacific
Subcommittee, which I have the honor to chair, did quite a bit
of work regarding Cambodia last year in the run-up to elections
which not surprisingly we believe were both rigged and overall
At the time, I introduced legislation calling for more
accountable foreign assistance for Cambodia. That legislation
stated that if the elections were not deemed free or fair,
Cambodia should be ineligible for direct U.S. assistance to
support its military and police, and that the State Department
and USAID should jointly reassess and reduce, if appropriate,
assistance for Cambodia.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 contained
restrictions on aid to Cambodia dealing with human rights
situation which has not improved.
Has USAID begun the process of reassessing assistance to
Cambodia? And also would you please describe what U.S.
assistance in Cambodia has actually achieved, in which areas
aid has been least effective, and how have the actions of Hun
Sen's regime impacted the effectiveness of USAID and the
foreign assistance from other countries as well?; if you know.
Mr. Shah. Thank you, sir. On the Asia-Pacific in general,
this has been as part of the President's direction to pivot to
the region. We have, despite all the difficult trade-offs we
have made, we have had modest increases in budgets through that
region and in aggregate for Asia and the Pacific.
With respect to Cambodia in particular, the strategic
direction we have taken and we appreciate the guidance that you
have provided, has been to increase support for democracy
programs, for civil society, for efforts to improve governance.
The Fiscal Year 2015 request includes more than $12 million for
democracy, governance, civil society, and transparency efforts
inside of Cambodia.
Mr. Chabot. How much resistance from Hun Sen's regime do
you get on that sort of assistance?
Mr. Shah. Well, you know, we support civil society based on
a set of principles that we believe, as part of partnering with
America, we should be engaging with all parts of society and
not exclusively just the government. These are open programs.
They are notified as we have discussed and we get from time to
time some degree of comment. But nevertheless we have support
for civil society as one of our core values in our programs
around the world.
I will say with respect to effectiveness, these efforts
have in the past directly engaged over 22,000 young Cambodians
and indirectly reached tens of thousands more, and they do
provide support for them to document what happened during
elections, to mobilize young people, and stand up for a set of
values about open society and we will continue to provide that
support, should Congress provide the resources.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you.
My time is expired.
Chairman Royce. Thank you.
We go to Mr. David Cicilline of Rhode Island.
Mr. Cicilline. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Dr. Shah, for joining us today. And I want to
begin by complimenting you on your powerful and very moving
words at the national prayer breakfast. You obviously were not
instructed to upstage your boss, but you did, and I thank you
for that and thank you to you and your excellent team at USAID
for the work that you are doing in particularly challenging
times and often in the face of diminishing resources.
We were also very proud to welcome you to Rhode Island and
I want to thank you for your visit last year to Edesia, the
producer of Plumpy'Nut and related nutritional products. And I
am very pleased that you were able to see firsthand how Edesia
is using innovations to treat and prevent malnutrition for the
world's most vulnerable children and creating good jobs in my
home state to do it.
And they are currently drawing up plans for a larger
facility in Rhode Island that they hope can help them reach
over 2 million children each year worldwide. And I know that
they would welcome your return to Rhode Island to help them cut
the ribbon in that facility next year.
I want to acknowledge also USAID's efforts to ensure
inclusive development, especially for the protection of human
rights of LGBT individuals, and I know that the recently
appointed senior LBGT coordinator for USAID started 2 weeks ago
and I look forward to hearing about the great things that you
will do and I look forward to working with him.
As you know, this is an especially important issue right
now as Uganda and Nigeria have both recently passed severely
discriminatory anti-LGBT laws which could significantly hamper
our public health efforts. Just this past week there were press
reports of a police raid on a U.S.-funded HIV project and
reaching key communities is a critical component, obviously, to
reducing the transmission of HIV and creating an AIDS-free
So I have three questions. Which I would like to go through
quickly and then give you an opportunity to answer them. First
is would you talk a little bit about what USAID is doing to
ensure that LGBT individuals continue to have access to
PEPFAR's lifesaving interventions and medications, as well as
other global health programs.
Second, in 2010, USAID launched a procurement reform
initiative that promised to increase the number of contract
awards to small businesses NGOs, to streamline procurement
processes, to provide more funds directly to host countries,
and to ensure that the products being purchased are of the
highest quality. Could you talk about the progress that has
been made on these initiatives.
And, finally, how does USAID work with intergovernmental
organizations and NGOs worldwide to combat the horrific, very
serious problem of gender-based violence, particularly against
very young children and girls?
Mr. Shah. Well, thank you, Congressman for your unwavering
and incredible support. I love remembering what those employees
at Edesia told me, which was upon learning that their work and
their products were reaching families throughout Syria and
helping women and children, they were just so proud to be part
of America's engagement in the world. And those are great new
jobs in that community. So thank you for having me out there.
With respect to Uganda, I very much appreciate your
comments. These retrogressive laws that have been passed have a
chilling effect on the LGBT community access to care and quite
simply put, we are not able to achieve our goals of an AIDS-
free generation if they are allowed to hamper the effort for
our program beneficiaries to receive services in an environment
that is safe, that is open, that respects their dignity, and
that understands that this is a critical point of access to
critically needed and lifesaving health care.
So we are currently undergoing a review of all of our
Uganda assistance programs and how to best engage. We have made
some adaptations already to programs based on particular
organizations and their behavior with respect to all of this. I
have talked to my counterparts in the UK and other European
capitals so we have a coordinated response that carries more
effort, force as we talk through how we are going to deal with
the consequences of this.
But our commitment is to make sure that we are able to
reach the LGBT community in Uganda with basic services for
health and HIV/AIDS and that we are you know, working to, as
Secretary Kerry has noted, you know, work to highlight how
regressive and repressive this law is.
With respect to small businesses and NGOs, you know I am
proud to report that over 4 years we have nearly doubled our
commitment to new partners, and NGOs in particular. The
percentage of funds used to be 9 percent going to those
partners and is now 18 percent.
With respect to small businesses, we get a score every
year, a grade, and when I started it was an F, and then it went
to an A, and came down to a B, and we are hopeful for another
A. But I will knock on wood and not commit to that until the
scoring comes out this year. The reason we pursue this effort
is we believe that we should have a diversified base of
partners, that all of our partners should have access to the
opportunity to take this mission forward, and that small
businesses, NGOs, civil society, often can add a lot of value
at a very efficient price point and so we want to engage that
And finally on NGOs and gender-based violence, yeah, I was
in eastern Congo a few months ago and the use of rape as a
commonplace practice of conflict and war in that environment is
just devastating. To interact with and to meet young girls and
young boys who have been a part of this is just extraordinarily
I am very proud of our teams that have not just had
targeted gender-based violence programs to reach survivors and
to protect them, to make sure they get fistula repair
operations and other critically needed and specialized services
and this is happening in difficult contexts.
But also to look at the broad range of what we do on
humanitarian efforts, on agriculture programs, on health
programs, and ensure that we are focusing on reaching girls
protecting girls, giving girls an opportunity. Because we know
that in many parts of the world doing that will change the
character and sufficiency and prosperity of society over time,
and every bit of effort we can make, which while by definition
is not enough, I think is an important manifestation of
Mr. Cicilline. Thank you.
I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Royce. We go now to Judge Ted Poe, chairman of the
Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade.
Mr. Poe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Shah, it is good to see you again. Thank you for what
I want to talk about money, taxpayer money that is spent
through the State Department specifically, then through USAID.
When Americans think of foreign aid they think of all the money
that the State Department spends, but there is a State
Department budget and then there is that foreign assistance
money that goes to foreign countries. But let's start with the
State Department and why so many, including me, people are
frustrated about American money.
The State Department, I understand, has an arts division
that buys the art for its Embassies. This is a $1 million stack
of bricks in my opinion, I know nothing about art, that is at
the London Embassy that taxpayers spent. The State Department
paid for it and we spent on ourselves at the London Embassy. It
is $1 million, to me that is quite a bit of money.
Recently the State Department has decided to purchase this
camel and send it to Islamabad and put it in the American
Embassy in Islamabad. This is about $400,000 and the State
Department said, well, it could have been more, but we got a
discount. We got the camel, the stack of bricks, I understand
that is not foreign assistance but that is money that goes to
the State Department and I am a little concerned that we would
spend American money that way.
If we want art in our Embassies, why don't we get school
kids to paint pictures that we could put it in all our
Embassies throughout the world? I think school kids could do
that, it would be better. Anyway.
So, let's narrow it down to foreign assistance. Recently
the Associated Press has reported that the State Department
cannot account for about $6 billion over a period of years.
Some of that money is foreign assistance; some of it is not
foreign assistance. It would be security assistance. But for
the record I would like to put the Associated Press article
into the record, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Royce. Without objection.
Mr. Poe. I am not sure where all the money came from, or
what accounts, but it is $6 billion that the State Department
says we just can't find it, which is a little concerning as
well. That is according to the report that the Office of
Inspector General did in the State Department and that
frustrates me as a Member of Congress. It frustrates the
citizens too. Six billion dollars, we are talking about real
money even for the Federal Government. Which leads me to the
comment I would like to get from you.
Accountability is to me very important. How we spend
taxpayer money. Representative Connolly and myself have
introduced legislation, the Foreign Aid Transparency and
Accountability Act, which basically says when we give foreign
assistance we need to be able to measure if it is working or
not working. Programs that work, let's maybe keep them.
Programs that are not working, let's get rid of them. And, as
you know, many nongovernment organizations support the
legislation. Even organizations that would sort of be audited
by the State Department or by USAID support a review, an audit
is what I call it, of foreign assistance overseas.
I personally think that would bring some credibility to how
we spend our money. Maybe we shouldn't be buying art. I know
that is not foreign assistance. You commented in the past on
this specific piece of legislation. So from your point of view
as the Administrator of USAID talking about specific foreign
assistance, not talking about other State Department money, do
you think if we eliminate the security portion of it and just
evaluate at this time foreign assistance, security, that is a
different issue, weigh in on that for me if you would and then
I have one other question.
Mr. Shah. Well, sir, as we have discussed before, and I
very much appreciate your comments on evaluation and
monitoring, we have taken the precepts that underlie the
legislation and actually implemented them. So over the last 4
years we have put out a new evaluation policy, we have trained
460 of our staff, we have increased the number of evaluations
that we do and publish every year from about 73 to, in this
last year, 234 and the quality of those evaluations which we
now track and measure has also gone up significantly to be
consistent with our new policy.
Mr. Poe. I am running out of time, Dr. Shah. Excuse me. And
I have some questions that I will submit for the record and I
know that you always respond, and I appreciate that.
And one last question, if I may, Mr. Chairman. I understand
that we give foreign assistance to Armenia and Belarus. Those
two countries specifically voted against the United States in
the U.N. They agreed with the basically invasion--in my
opinion--of the Russians in the Crimea. Maybe we should
reevaluate giving money to countries that support Russian
invasion. Just a thought.
And I will submit the questions, Mr. Chairman, for the
record for Dr. Shah.
Chairman Royce. We go now to Dr. Ami Bera of California.
Mr. Bera. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you Dr. Shah for your testimony. Good to see you
Also thank you for your leadership in transitioning USAID
from just being a donor organization to one that is actually a
capacity building organization. India is a good example of a
country that we built capacity and now they can actually donate
and help develop countries in Africa and other places.
As has been mentioned before, you know when we look at our
overall budget, we are spending less than 1 percent of the
Federal budget on foreign aid so we should keep that in
perspective. We also know that these are remarkably important
investments that not only extend the goodwill of the American
people globally, but also have dramatic impact on health and
relief of human suffering and is a reflection of our values as
I specifically want to focus in on the $8.1 billion USAID
and State Department allocate for the global health program. In
particular the $538 million in family planning and reproductive
As you already mentioned, USAID has a major focus on
maternal and child health in 24 countries where more than 70
percent of the maternal-child deaths occur. You know quoting
another Senator, former Senate Bill Frist, he talked about
family planning as being a key, often hidden engine for
additional global health achievements. He also noted that when
women space their pregnancies out by more than 3 years through
the use of voluntary family planning, they are more likely to
survive pregnancy and childbirth. Their children are more than
twice as likely to survive infancy and as doctors, we also know
that pregnancy spacing is incredibly important.
Research has shown that addressing the current unmet need
for modern contraception, if we were able to meet that need
that we prevent 79,000 maternal deaths and over 1.1 million
Now, from your perspective, how is USAID ensuring that we
better support effective family planning tools to advance our
shared goals of ending preventative child and maternal deaths.
Mr. Shah. Well, thank you, Congressman. Thank you for your
leadership on these issues and global health in particular.
We do have a significant proposed investment in family
planning and voluntary family planning. This has been a part of
America's global health and foreign assistance legacy for now
more than four decades and it has been extraordinarily
successful in taking up the contraceptive prevalence rate and
bringing down the total fertility rate in country after
country. One of the biggest successes of the program is most of
the programs transition to country ownership, management,
funding, and implementation after that capacity is built, as
you point out, over years.
President Obama has been very committed to this issue,
increasing budgets relative to the prior administration
significantly and we have a very careful process to make sure
that everything we do follows the very strict letters of the
I think there are three things I would highlight as you
point out. One is, this is one of the most effective ways to
save women's lives during child birth, and the most cost-
effective way to do that.
The second is we don't achieve the end of preventable child
death unless we make these investments.
And the third is the demographic shift that comes with
bringing down child death and bringing up voluntary family
planning together, is what gives countries the capacity to be
more stabilized from a population perspective and to then grow
their economy. All of these things have been proven, which is
why we have engaged in this administration with the private
sector, with Australia, the UK, with the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation, to get others to do more with us in genuine
Mr. Bera. Great, you know playing off of the hearing that
we had last week about empowering girls and women and
particularly on the education fronts, we know, as we are prone
to say in our own country domestically, when women succeed,
society succeeds. And in the remaining few seconds I would like
you to comment on some of the strategies that USAID is engaging
Mr. Shah. Well, thank you, and I think we put out a new
women and gender policy a few years ago. We now really take a
pretty aggressive approach. We have a new gender coordinator
coming on board and we have really restructured the way we do
this work, so that we support the National Action Plan on
Women, Peace, and Security and critically important in all of
our major programs we try to measure whether the benefits of
our efforts are reaching women.
So in the Feed the Future program, which works to reach 7
million farm households, we actually measure whether the income
improvements that come from better agricultural production on
the farm are going to women? And the reason that is important
is they do most of the work and you know that $1 of additional
income with a woman in that context is far more effective at
getting kids into school, reducing child death rates, and
improving community development outcomes than if that same
dollar goes to a male.
So, by measuring and reporting on those trends we have
actually helped to lead on this issue, not just for own foreign
assistance but in the community of our partner country
Mr. Chabot [presiding]. The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Kinzinger, is recognized
for 5 minutes.
Mr. Kinzinger. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Administrator, thank you for being here and thank you
for serving your country in a difficult capacity and a
difficult time in world history, I believe. So I appreciate
having you here.
I want to touch on two different areas: Iraq and
Afghanistan. When America withdrew its forces from Iraq after
2011, I think USAID and the State Department was kind of left
scrambling. I will say I have been critical of the
administration. I thought the withdraw from Iraq was probably
one of the biggest blunders in a decade, in foreign policy. But
that said, you were left with kind of a presence in which you
had to figure out okay, with no U.S. troops here how are we
going to go forward?
It seems like since that kind of opening day, opening salvo
of a no U.S. military presence, USAID and the State have been
kind of scaling back its presence and figuring out the right
size there. What lessons have we learned in Iraq that can be
applied to Afghanistan as we are going ahead and looking at the
post 2014, and what is the number one lesson that you plan to
apply to that?
Mr. Shah. Well, thank you. I think there are three. One is
we have to review our programs continuously to ensure that they
are sustainable, given the political context and the security
situation and the underlying economics. A second is we have to
protect our people. So we have to make sure we can get eyes on
projects, that we are using third party monitors, that we are
using in some cases satellite data to look at crop yields and
other ways to track outcomes. But our people need to be able to
evaluate programs and also be safe. And the third is the cost
of operations goes up.
So I would just say with respect to Iraq one of the things
we very much focused on as we take down our presence and our
investment, which we have done, is that we transition the
responsibility of paying for programs to the Iraqis and there
has been an extraordinarily successful set of transitions there
where our major programs have been picked up and continued with
Iraqi local resources.
I think in Afghanistan, we are implementing those lessons
and we recognize that for the 2 to 3 percent of the cost of the
overall war that was USAID's component of the investment, we
have 8 million kids in school, 3 million girls; we have the
fastest reduction in child mortality, maternal death; the
longest increase in human longevity anywhere in the world over
the last decade; and the improvements in customs revenue
collection at the border posts. All of those--sustaining those
gains is critical to capturing the promise of peaceful and more
secure Afghanistan for the future. So that is what our focus is
Mr. Kinzinger. I would like to say too that I recently
visited South Waziristan and Pakistan and was able to see some
of the USAID's projects in terms of completion of dams, road
building, and although there are huge problems in Pakistan and
we all know this, and significant problems that the Pakistani
Government needs to confront, we have seen some success.
Whereas when you bring economic prosperity to the people and
give them an opportunity to sell their fruits and goods, they
turn away from terrorism and turn away from extremism and turn
toward peace, and I think that is ultimately the key here.
What is the current USAID footprint in Iraq and are your
personnel presently able to go outside the wire and visit
projects? And what do they do in terms of security and stuff
like that and how would that apply to Afghanistan?
Mr. Shah. In Iraq, it is diminishing, and that is by
design. The goal to transition the programs to local investment
and ownership and we are on the path to do that successfully.
In Afghanistan it is different because in Afghanistan we have
large scale programs and investments. The Fiscal Year 2015
budget calls for sustaining at a slightly reduced level over
historic terms those investments.
And we are really working with the community of
international partners according to something called the Tokyo
Mutual Accountability Framework so if the Afghan Government is
making the right choices; free and fair elections, efforts to
fight corruption, efforts to replace foreign assistance with
revenues that are collected and transparently provided, we will
continue to work with the international community to make sure
they have the resources to sustain these important gains.
And that is important for women and girls in Afghanistan.
That is important for rural communities that have been part of
the National Solidarity Program that has been evaluated by
Harvard and MIT and proven to be successful, and it is
important for continuing to build civil society and civilian
capacity in the Afghan Government.
So, we are encouraged by these efforts. We know it is going
to be very, very tough and our people in that context as you
know, sir, take tremendous risks every day to carry out that
Mr. Kinzinger. Yeah, and again, in my travel I have seen a
lot of what your organization does in terms of helping to
rescue women and girls who are in a situations that none of us
could ever ponder. Stuff that you thought existed 100 years ago
or 200 years ago, still exists in parts of the world today.
So, again, thank you for your hard work. I know you know,
we are going to look at the budget. We always do that in a very
big way. But I think your organization is a force multiplier
and helps us prevent going to war in many cases.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from the Commonwealth of Virginia Mr.
Connolly is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Connolly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And welcome, Mr. Shah. Can you bring us up to date? We
asked questions the last time you were here about the
relationship of USAID to sort of the proliferation of other
USAID-like entities in the United States Government.
The Millennium Challenge, the African AIDS Initiative, and
so forth, all of which seem to have the effect of diluting the
centrality of USAID as our lead development agency. That is of
concern to a number of us on this committee.
A concern I shared with you last time you were here, can
you bring us up to date on how that is being coordinated and
perhaps reassure us that that doesn't in fact dilute USAID's
role as the lead development agency in the United States
Mr. Shah. Well, thank you, sir. And thank you for your
leadership on development and foreign assistance and how we
project our values around the world.
Mr. Connolly. Does that mean you are endorsing my aid
Mr. Shah. We have talked about this and I value the
underlying concepts of that bill.
I will say that over the past, President Obama started his
administration by issuing a policy directive and said that we
were going to commit ourselves to rebuilding USAID to be the
world's premier development institution. Time will test whether
we have done that, but I believe we are strongly on that path.
We have rebuilt our policy, reclaimed and designed our
budget. We take accountability for our decisions. We have shut
down 34 percent of all of our programs around the world to
create the space to invest in food security and child survival
and education and water in a more results oriented way, and did
all of that during a period of relative budget neutrality.
We measure and monitor our programs and we lead in many
international fora including next week's big global development
conference in Mexico. Our ideas on a new model of development
that bring private sector, civil society, public sector
together to tackle really big challenges, are leading the
sector in spades.
So I feel confident that we have rebuilt USAID's
capabilities, including with your support the hiring of nearly
1,100 new staff that has given us all kinds of new technical
capacity that is deployed around the world.
With respect to MCC and PEPFAR, yes, we work in close
partnership, and I feel that partnership is a lot better now
than it was when I started and that is it true whether we are
working in Liberia with MCC to figure out who does what and to
get our timing and sequencing right. It is true whether we are
assessing each other's programs and sharing information and it
is true with PEPFAR where we have a joint goal to create an
AIDS-free generation and to bring science and technology to the
front lines of that fight given that USAID implements about 60
percent of PEPFAR.
So we are doing our best within the institutional
constraints that are already defined and exist to ensure that
that we operate as one team, we deliver one set of
extraordinary results. We are clear about our leadership around
the world and we project that. This is an important way for
America and the Obama administration, as it was for the Bush
administration before, to project leadership, to protect the
world's most vulnerable in extreme poverty.
Mr. Connolly. I appreciate that and it sounds like
everything is sunny in the neighborhood. But when you ask
yourself what could go wrong, Mr. Shah, when you don't have
clear organizational lines of responsibility in the org chart,
you know, maybe you and your colleagues get along just fine but
maybe the next team won't.
And frankly, from the United States Government's point of
view it seems to me it ought not to be up to only the
relational capacity of those who hold these jobs. There ought
to be clear lines of responsibility and authority and who
reports to whom. Now in some cases maybe a dotted-line
responsibility is what we are going to have to settle for.
I asked you a year ago whether you would meet with us and
work with us on the reform bill that our former chairman,
Howard Berman, and I had worked on. I haven't heard anything
from your agency. Not a word in a year and the intent of the
legislation is to be helpful and to try to streamline and to
remove the encrusted barnacles that have built up in 50 years
and it seems to me not an unreasonable proposition that we
actually need a new and a streamlined legislative framework for
moving forward that takes cognizance of what you are doing and
the changes in the world in the last half century.
So I re-invite you to please come and sit down with us and
go over that legislation so that we can move forward together.
Mr. Chabot. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Connolly. Would the chairman allow Mr. Shah to respond?
Mr. Chabot. Yes.
Mr. Shah. Let me just say I endorse the concept. We do need
a new framework and I think enough has changed in how we all
operate, especially embracing science and technology, private
partnership, innovation, the world out there has changed
dramatically. It used to be that our agencies were the bulk of
investment going into poor countries. Now we are the minority
So if we are not structured to partner well with the
private sector with other sources of local revenue and
resources, we won't succeed in the mission to end extreme
poverty to keep our country safe and secure and to that end, I
will personally sit with you, I will be eager to do that.
I know that my colleagues at MCC and PEPFAR would be eager
to have that conversation and we are also realistic about the
timelines it takes to produce long term outcomes on that basis.
But we value your leadership and I and my colleagues will come
and speak with you about it.
Mr. Connolly. I very much appreciate that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you, the gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Holding, Number 2,
is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Holding. Dr. Shah, your request for the Office of
Transition Initiatives OTI, has around a 17-percent increase. I
looked at OTI's Web site and it states that their mission is
to: ``Help local partners advance peace and democracy in
priority conflict prone countries. Seizing critical windows of
opportunity, OTI works on the ground to provide fast, flexible,
short-term assistance targeted at key transition needs.''
Now, if you go to the State Department's relatively new
Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, CSO, it states
that they: ``Offer rapid locally grounded conflict analysis in
countries where massive violence or instability looms'' and,
``CSO helps develop prioritizes strategies to address high risk
periods such as election or political transitions.'' And CSO
also: ``Moves swiftly to mobilize resources and civil response
mechanisms for conflicts revision and response.''
The State Department's Inspector General just last month
issued from what I understand to be one of their most critical
reports ever issued citing problems of mission management,
staffing, accountability, and more, and most importantly in
this report, it states that USAID's Office of Transition
Initiative has a mission statement almost identical to that of
CSO and from a comparison of the Web sites of OTI and CSO, it
appears that both organizations are currently working in Burma,
Syria, Kenya, and Honduras.
So, it would seem that there is a lot of overlap between
these two offices, and even when we consider the fact that they
both work in very difficult and unstable situations. So I am
wondering if you could lay out the differences between OTI and
CSO and help us determine whether there is a duplication of
efforts going on here and if there is a duplication, what
Mr. Shah. Well, thank you, sir, and I would be happy to
have my team also follow-up in more detail across the range of
If you just look at Syria, for example, OTI is helping to
support the governance needs of some of the local coordinating
councils under the SOC, the Sunni Opposition Council, and they
provide support on an as-needed basis that is civilian support,
efforts to help them stand up local governance.
I saw this firsthand in Haiti where after the earthquake
when the government was in a really difficult situation years
ago, OTI helped the office of the President set up----
Mr. Holding. Sure. I appreciate the work that they do.
Mr. Shah. And those types of efforts are not very large and
are time bound and play a unique role.
In Syria, CSO does things in a coordinated manner but a
different set of things, and I think they have worked hard to
make sure that they are not duplicating but are coordinating.
And in fact the USAID guy----
Mr. Holding. Are you in the process of doing, you know, any
study, or interagency review to look for overlaps between the
two organizations? Is that something going on, on an official
Mr. Shah. Well, we will be launching soon, the QDDR, and
that would be a vehicle for doing that. So I will look, and I
know we did that last time, and during the QDDR, so----
Mr. Holding. Well, that is something that you commit to do,
look for overlaps.
Mr. Shah. Yes.
Mr. Holding. And one last question before I run out of
time. Is USAID, do they have any programs currently going on in
Mr. Shah. Well, USAID left Russia and so, no, we don't
currently run programs in Russia. But our partners in the State
Department continue to partner with, and engage with, a broad
range of civil society in that context. But I can't speak to
the details of that. But I know USAID is not currently present
Mr. Holding. All right, thank you. Mr. Chairman, I yield
Mr. Chabot. The gentleman yields back.
The gentleman from California, Mr. Sherman, who is the
ranking member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism,
Nonproliferation, and Trade is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Sherman. I focus a lot on national security, and there
is no greater concern than Pakistan, and within Pakistan, I
tend to focus on the Province of Sindh. In Sindh, especially
rural areas, you have historically marginalized area of
Pakistan. USAID has done a number of projects in the Sindh
Province including building schools. I want to thank you for
I want to push for more. I hope that--well, please provide
for the record, a comprehensive list of your current projects
in Sindh, either ongoing, or completed over the last year or
two, and please include in that, a discussion of whether we can
find women teachers to teach girls, whether there are enough
qualified women teachers and whether they are being hired.
The far area of Sindh, especially if you could comment
about how we have dealt with the recent famine and drought
there, and if Sindh is marginalized by Pakistan, the Hindus who
live in Thar, are even more marginalized.
According to human rights activists, the Hindus there, and
then elsewhere in Sindh, live in fear of forced conversion or
are being pushed off their land if they don't convert.
Is USAID and Pakistan cognizant of and sensitive to the
ethnic and religious minorities of Pakistan and the vulnerable
populations and do we focus our effort on those vulnerable
Mr. Shah. Well, thank you, Congressman, and thank you for
your support for our efforts in Pakistan and all around the
I think the Sindh Pakistan program is a good example of
what we can get done when we take a results-orient approach,
and a few years ago we restructured our work there to focus on
health, education, and power and in education as you noted. We
are rehabilitating and building out 120 schools. Our target is
to ensure that 750,000 kids, mostly girls, are learning to read
at grade level in early grades. We will conduct a performance
testing of those kids to ensure that that is, in fact, the
We have rehabilitated power plants such as the Jamshoro
Power Plant and others and my team can followup with details,
but that has helped produce 270 megawatts of energy at a time
when that is the core constraint to growth and we have
supported more than 200 healthcare workers to provide basic
healthcare services to 25,000 women across 14 districts in
Sindh. And that has been one of our most effective ways to help
reduce child death and promote maternal survival during
childbirth. So these programs when well run are effective.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Shah. I am not as aware of our specific efforts in
Thar, and with minority communities, so I appreciate your
raising that. I will look into that specifically and ask our
team to come back to you.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Sherman. And I want to thank you for your
responsiveness. I have been focused on Sindh for several years
and to have an Administrator that up-to-date with everything--
first of all, doing all of the good things, and then to have an
Administrator that knowledgeable, is a good result.
As to aid to Nagorno-Karabakh, I hope you provide for the
record the aid that is being spent in Armenia, but also in
Nagorno-Karabakh, for Fiscal Year 2014, and particularly, focus
on what has been done to reduce land mine explosions, and
provide clean water to villages.
We have seen the tragedies in Syria. I know that Eliot
Engel, our ranking member, has already focused on you trying to
reach those very vulnerable populations. Obviously, Jordan and
Lebanonhave absorbed the bulk of the international displaced
persons, but a lot have gone to Armenia, and I wonder whether
you were providing aid through the Government of Armenia to
handle the refugees that have gone there?
And since my time is about to expire, I will ask you to
respond to that for the record.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Sherman. I finally want to focus on the Javakheti
region of Georgia. Over the last 20 years, we have provided
over $1.5 billion of assistance to Georgia. One of the poorest
regions of Georgia is Javakheti, and some 28 of us have signed
a letter urging that with U.S. assistance to Georgia, at least
a good percentage of that go to the Javakheti region, and I
will add, since my time is expired. I will ask you to respond
to that for the record, unless the chairman wants to indulge
Mr. Chabot. The gentleman's time is expired, but you can
respond to the record.
Mr. Shah. Sure. Well, on Javakheti we will continue funding
with Fiscal Year 2015 funds for activities in those regions,
and we can provide a more detailed response about the 10
specific programs that will be supported in that context.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Chabot. On Nagorno-Karabakh, I just note that in the
Fiscal Year 2015 budget the resources to support that effort
are labeled in the Eurasia regional account. So our team will
followup to make sure that it is clear how we are going to
deploy those resources and the specific results. We have
already achieved and expect to achieve on demining and on
potable water in particular, which have been areas of focus for
And we will just continue to work with your office, but
thank you for raising those, and I think we have hopefully been
responsive in the context of the prior dialogue.
Mr. Sherman. Thank you.
Mr. Chabot. The gentleman's time is expired.
And the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Yoho is recognized for
Mr. Yoho. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Shah, I appreciate you for being here. You have got
impressive credentials and I look forward to talking to you.
You started with USAID at the end of 2009, is that correct?
Mr. Shah. Yes.
Mr. Yoho. And so you have been there for quite a while. You
have seen a lot of things and I am sure you know a lot of
different things that we can do, and I commend you for
streamlining the agency. When we can go back home, like you
have heard a lot of members talk about giving foreign aid to
other countries when we are kind of suffering here a little
The beginning of January 2013, there was the fiscal cliff.
The world was going to end in America, then we had the
sequestration, and then we had furloughs, and then, you know,
people were being laid off in my district and then toward the
end of September, beginning of October our Government shut
down. And it was over money and certainly wasn't from an excess
of money, and we are in a tight budget constraint and what I
see is, you know, the way we are spending this money--and I
understand the concept, and create goodwill, bring economic
development to some of these countries so hopefully they become
our allies, but I see so many times that we do that, and it is
like the movie Groundhog Day. It is the same story over, and
over, and over. And we are not getting the results that we
And I am just reading here an article that is in the New
York Times about the $1 billion that was given to Afghanistan
and the Special Inspector General said there is hundreds of
millions of dollars that are unaccountable, or unaccounted for.
Can you explain what happened to that? Because we talk
about transparency, and accountability, but this is a recent
thing that just happened. We don't have that. How can we--I
want to hear your thoughts on that, what happened to that and
how we can prevent it.
Mr. Shah. Sure. Sir, I can't speak to that specifically
because I am not sure which pot of money that is referring to.
[Additional information follows:]
Mr. Shah. But let me just say about Afghanistan in general.
The USAID component of the investment has been about 2 to 3
percent of the total cost of our global engagement in
Afghanistan and for that 2 to 3 percent, we have helped to
ensure that more than 8 million kids go to school, including
more than 3 million girls compared to almost no girls before.
We have helped to make sure that 65 percent or so of the
population has basic access to health services, not
comprehensive high-order healthcare, but vaccines, clean water,
pills and things like that, and that has led to the fastest and
most sustained reduction in child death, maternal death, and a
huge increase in longevity of women's lives based on those
We have helped build out 2,200 kilometers of road with our
military partners and with our international partners, and we
have seen trade relationships blossom across the Pakistan-
Afghan border. We have also improved, and this is very
important, the Afghan collection of customs revenue
transparently, and so that it goes back to the Kabul government
so the government can pay for more of their country's own needs
You know, when I started we launched an effort called A3,
the Accountability Assistance for Afghanistan. We tripled the
number of people out reviewing projects and programs. We
conducted reviews at the subgrant level. We implemented a
system that allowed us to assess who is doing what, where
resources are going, and we insisted on tighter monitoring.
We conducted a sustainability review and stopped and took
off the books projects that we didn't think could sustain into
a future where American presence was going to be significantly
diminished. What we are left with, I believe, is a program that
will hopefully be able to sustain some of the gains that have
been experienced on behalf of the Afghan people.
And frankly, when I look at what happened this past
weekend, 60 percent voter turnout, a higher percentage of women
voting, Afghan institutions that we have been working with and
supporting for years in the lead in terms of electoral
complaints and conduct of the election and there is a lot to do
before we can label this a success.
Mr. Yoho. You know, time will tell on that.
Mr. Shah. Just 2 to 3 percent helps our country greatly,
and I appreciate your efforts to advocate for it and support it
and hold us to account.
Mr. Yoho. Well, time will tell how well that turns out. But
again, you know, in my own community, we have got over 500
underperforming septic tanks and we can't get them fixed
because of money. I just met with somebody with disabilities,
and they can't get the service they need because of the lack of
money. And I just, I guess what I am going to ask is that you
let us know what we can do to help you be more effective, more
efficient, to hold everything more accountable, so that when we
do give money out we get the results we want, so that we are
not here in a year talking about another $100 million being
lost and we don't know where it went to.
I would love to see people in charge of that that we can
come back to and say, Dr. Shah, you had this money last year,
where did it go? Why is it not spent the way it was supposed to
be so that we can bring an end to that kind of lost funds.
And I appreciate you being here. Thank you.
Mr. Shah. Thank you.
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman's time is expired.
The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Meadows, is
recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Meadows. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Dr. Shah. I think I am your last hurrah here.
But I want to say thank you for your leadership and many of
your staffers who have taken notes, patiently been behind you
supporting, thank you for all of your work as well.
There are a number of people across the world that will
never be able to tell you thank you, and so on behalf of them,
I want to say thank you. As we start to look at priorities and
that is really the subject of this hearing, there are a couple
of areas that are troubling to me, and so I don't want anything
taken that is not being appreciative of your work.
Global Fund, we have had Mark, the executive director here
with Global Fund. I am a huge fan to see some of the work that
he has done, the impact that it has done, and truly, some of
the reforms that have been made to make sure that every dollar
It appears that there is a little over $500 million
requested for global climate change initiatives within your
agency. Would you say that your agency is the best one to be
implementing that, because it is not just your agency. It is a
number of agencies throughout the Federal Government that have
requested money for global climate change initiatives and yet,
when you look at the core principle of what you do, that
doesn't seem to align with your core mission. Can you address
Mr. Shah. Sure. Well, thank you, and you know, first, I
would ask that my team followup on the specific number, because
that is a little high.
Mr. Meadows. I think it is $506.3 million.
Mr. Shah. It might be lower, but we will follow up on that.
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Shah. But I do want to note, in this portfolio, are
some efforts that are actually quite critical to our ability to
be successful at ending extreme poverty. One is a component to
support illegal deforestation and we work with companies, big
consumer goods companies like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, to
make sure that the supply chains they are supporting are not
causing down at the farmer level in Indonesia and Colombia,
Mr. Meadows. So how do you coordinate that with the other
Mr. Shah. Well, that is an effort called the Tropical
Forest Alliance where we lead the coordination. The White House
is critical to bringing other agencies together, and we present
one consistent interface to the major companies that are part
of a group called the Consumer----
Mr. Meadows. So how much do you need for that particular
Mr. Shah. I am not----
Mr. Meadows. I guess my question is, whenever you get a pot
Mr. Shah. Yes.
Mr. Meadows [continuing]. And there is more than one person
managing that pot of money, it becomes very difficult to manage
Mr. Shah. Yeah.
[Additional information follows:]
Mr. Meadows. It is like giving your wife the same checkbook
and never reconciling. You know, you spend out of the same
checkbook and you never reconcile. So how are we reconciling
Mr. Shah. Well, so I think that there are different
components of this that different people have responsibility
for. So USAID takes responsibility for the Tropical Forest
Alliance. For our resilience efforts we measure and monitor the
risk of disasters coming from droughts, for example, and we can
then track what the climate impacts are on our humanitarian
portfolio, respond quicker and more coherently.
We have a clean energy program that supports, you know, we
have talked about some hydro projects in Pakistan and programs
in Africa, that helped to provide off-grid renewable energy, so
that I and other agencies do----
Mr. Meadows. And all of those are worthwhile. I don't want
to go on record to say that they are not. But we have people
dying and people who, quite frankly, just don't have food and
yet, we are doing something that is way out in the future
instead of meeting those individual needs right now and is that
a top priority, or should that be even in the top 10 of your
priorities in terms of the Nation?
Mr. Shah. Let me give you one example. You know, we work to
create improved seeds in sub-Saharan Africa, in East Africa
that can perform better in environments that are hotter----
Mr. Meadows. So that comes under global climate change
initiatives? Because I thought that was in a different pot of
Mr. Shah. We do a lot of attribution here. So I think we
have counted some of that work in the context of this, but we
can go through a full portfolio.
[Additional information follows:]
Mr. Meadows. I have a real concern----
Mr. Shah. Yeah.
Mr. Meadows [continuing]. That your core mission has
creeped over into one that might be better suited for a
different agency. The other thing I would ask you, and I am
running out of time, but I am very troubled with the amount of
money that we give to the Palestinian Authority and yet, what
that fungible money, you know, they are paying $46 million
additional to terrorists and applauding their efforts as
The minister of prisons said that these terrorists are
heroes. I have, you know, it is hard to justify when we go back
home that we are giving money, and yet they are taking part of
their money to support terrorists and I need you, because part
of the omnibus said that Secretary of State needs to certify
that incitement and those things are not happening, and I need
you all to address that.
And I am out of time. I appreciate the patience of the
Mr. Shah. Sir, can I just respond?
Mr. Chabot. The gentleman's time is expired, but you can
Mr. Shah. I just want to point out that the mechanisms we
use for support in that area are very, very precise. We have a
vetting system that ensures we know who is receiving the
resources at the endpoint of use, and the cash transfer to the
Palestinian Authority is actually done through--it enables the
repayment of payments that are owed through an Israeli bank and
it is structured very, very carefully.
So I will have our team followup, but I can assure you on
those that they have been carefully scrutinized, and they
require the Secretary's clearance as is appropriate, and we can
show you exactly how the money moves that will offer you a lot
[The information referred to follows:]
Mr. Chabot. Thank you. The gentleman's time is expired.
We thank the Administrator for his time here this morning,
and we look forward to following up on these critical issues.
And if there is no further business to come before the
committee, we are adjourned. Thank you.
[Whereupon, at 12:18 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the RecordNotice deg.