Condoleezza Rice House Appropriations Subcommittee
Remarks Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on
Export Financing, and Related Programs
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
April 4, 2006
(3:00 p.m. EDT)
Chairman Kolbe, Ranking Member Lowey, Chairman Lewis, Mr. Obey, thank you very much for this opportunity to testify before you and I will only make a few comments so that we can have full time for discussion.
Let me start by saying, though, Chairman Kolbe, you've mentioned that this is your last year and that's a matter of great sadness for those of us who not only have been in positions of responsibility for American foreign policy, but also I think for all who care about American foreign policy and our ability to execute it because you've been a steadfast friend of American diplomacy. Thank you very much for that. I also want to thank the Committee for the support that we have received on the supplemental just recently. It was a tough fight but it was very welcome support because it was money that's very much needed in a time of uncertainty.
I will make a few comments and then I can -- any of the questions that have been raised, perhaps we can return to them in questions. I want just to note that the budget reflects the President's determination to carry out a policy that is indeed grounded in American values, but values that are not just American values but universal values. That means support for a democracy agenda that supports those in countries across the world who wish to have the freedom and liberty that we enjoy. It is, of course, critical in that agenda that we defeat the terrorist threat that has been upon us for decades, but which exploded, literally, with a great power on September 11, giving us a very strong look at the enemy that we faced. And we now face a long war against an ideology of extremist -- extreme hatred that must be countered. It must be countered, of course, on the battlefield. It must be countered by states that are allied with us. That is why there is considerable support in this budget to frontline states that must bear a lot of the brunt; states like Jordan and indeed Pakistan and others that are on the frontlines against the terrorists.
But of course we believe that the ultimate victory against terrorism will come not in simply stopping the evil intent of the men who would impose their way on free peoples, but also in giving a hopeful alternative to people in these regions. And therefore, the budget also supports an enhanced effort at public diplomacy, the effort to reach out to people around the world, not just to get out a message about America but to engage them and to get out a message about freedom. The budget supports our cause of advancing liberty in places where there are new democracies and I thank you for the support that this committee has offered and provided on our efforts to rebuild the post-conflict countries of Afghanistan, of Iraq.
We recognize that it is a long struggle and America is trying to do its part. I'm just back from Iraq and would be happy, if people have questions, to talk about that experience where there's a significant effort at government formation going on. We went there to tell them that it needed to be more urgent, the conclusion of this negotiation. But I can assure you that what it shows is that the Iraqis are working hard at their democracy.
This budget also supports the President's desire to respond to global challenges around the world like HIV/AIDS. We have since the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief been the leader in responding to the challenge of stopping infections, of educating people, but also in treatment of people so that it might be possible for those afflicted with the disease to live longer.
We have also worked hard to create partner capability so that partners in the HIV/AIDS program, not just in the PEPFAR program but also in our bilateral programs on AIDS, sustain the kind of infrastructure support and infrastructure capability that will allow them to continue these programs beyond our aid but to also assist in making our aid more effective.
The budget supports also development assistance and I would just note that while development assistance was relatively flat for a couple of decades, the Administration has doubled official development assistance and in Africa that number is almost triple what it was at the time of the President's election.
Finally, as Chairman Kolbe and Congresswoman Lowey mentioned, we do ask for support for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the President's innovative program to reward transformational states; that is, states where they have -- they are making the decisions to govern wisely, to fight corruption, to open their economies, but poor countries that need help to be able to deliver the benefits of democracy for their people.
I want to note that the MCC is planning to fully utilize in Fiscal Year 2007 both the resources enacted to date and the $3 billion requested. They've signed five compacts worth over $900 million. There's a projection of the completion of at least six more compacts totally $2 billion this year and they would plan in Fiscal Year '07 to complete an additional nine to twelve compacts, totally about $4 billion. So the pace of this program has accelerated considerably, as has the centrality of the states that are involved, states like Nicaragua and states like Armenia and Georgia. And so I just note that I think the MCC program is well underway.
Finally, we have been introducing some changes and reforms to the Department. We have been repositioning our diplomatic force to look more like the challenges of today than of the challenges of the 30 to 40 years that were dominated by the Cold War. We've repositioned one hundred people out of Europe. That is a down payment on more because we need more help in places like India and China where the demands are growing on our personnel.
As a part of those reforms, as Chairman Kolbe mentioned, we also have under what authorities are available to me begun to reorganize the foreign assistance planning and execution within the Department, and this has resulted first and foremost in the creation of a new position, Director of Foreign Assistance, to be held coterminously with the USAID Director. And I want to thank the Senate for its confirmation of Randy Tobias in the role as USAID Director.
The purpose of this reorganization is really to better align what is about 80 percent of the foreign assistance budget, that held between USAID and State, to better align our priorities so that we're certain that we're not seeing duplication, so that we're certain that we are having all of our programs pull in the same direction, so that when we have a program for a country it is a full U.S. Government program for that country.
We believe that by this alignment and by a better integration of our programs, better efforts to coordinate those programs, that we can assure the American taxpayer that we are good stewards of their dollars. I know that these -- Congressman Obey mentioned that these are tough budget days for a lot of very high priorities for the country. We fundamentally understand that and so, we want to be very good stewards of the money that we are given. And we want to make sure that we are effective and we want to make sure that when the Millennium Challenge Corporation is going into a country to do a compact, that we know that we are also doing everything that we can to support the kinds of development that is being done through the MCC. Or when our AIDS program is operating in a country, if there are problems with the health care delivery system, then perhaps our assistance programs can help with that health care delivery; and so, to have a really integrated and coherent program for every country.
But I want to assure you that I am respectful of, aware of, and indeed, protective of the good work that our people do, particularly in USAID, which is development and humanitarian with very long-term goals. I certainly understand the need to do that. I've sometimes been asked how do we keep the USAID from being subjected to the short-term pressures that we have in State Department assistance. I would only say that with the generational challenges before us, we, through our State Department assistance, can also not afford to have a short-term focus.
Indeed, what we have to have is a focus on building capable, democratic governments; governments that are responsible to their -- responsive to their people, governments that govern wisely, that fight corruption, and governments that we are giving the capacity to do this in a sustained way, so that our foreign assistance does not become a crutch for permanent dependency. But rather, a means by which to transition countries to self-sufficiency, to economies that are able to attract foreign direct investment, that are able to benefit from free trade, and are therefore able to govern on their -- behalf of their people wisely and effectively.
That is really the definition of what we have been calling transformational diplomacy and I think that this budget is in support of those goals. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.