In an increasingly dangerous world, it is critical that the U.S. continues to lead – providing a diplomatic and development presence around the world. That is why, at a Council on Foreign Relations discussion yesterday, Chairman Ed Royce stressed the importance of U.S. investment in foreign assistance. Below are a few key excerpts from his remarks.

International development helps make America more secure.
“[The United States] is not going to be a more secure country here if we’re not engaged overseas in such things as stopping transmission of infectious diseases before they become a pandemic, [and] being engaged diplomatically – and with development – to make certain that those parts of the world that, frankly, are incubators for terror or instability [are] confronted. …And that’s why our diplomacy matters and that’s why our USAID matters.”

Our foreign assistance has important, life-or-death consequences.
“[A]s we sit here today, there are 400,000 Rohingya who have fled over the border into Bangladesh. …Half the villages in northern Rakhine State have been burned to the ground. …They are hiding out from the army and from the… militia that the army has trained. This is the circumstance that’s on the ground, and it doesn’t take you long to figure out what the geopolitical consequences [will be] with respect to radicalization and everything else that’s going to come from this. …There needs to be a[n international] presence there. And to the extent that we find our voice and find [leverage] to use in Burma, …we can open up the space to get the… relief in there in to the survivors, in to the people who are trying to hold on, who have gone through these horrible, despicable attacks.”

But we can make our development programs more efficient and more effective.
“[W]e have been in these parts of the world – whether they’re on the border of Syria or over in the Philippines after a typhoon – and we’ve been able to push through reforms which lead to a situation of rather than people wait[ing] for four months for [food] to be delivered, …at much more than twice the cost, there is now this opportunity with a voucher program or with buying the food locally. …So we’ve brought down the price under the Global Food Security Act in terms of the operations, and yet we now allow the remedy to be in real time. …And so we’re also looking, when we talk about lowering the costs, at ways to do this while at the same time meeting the need.”

Learn more about Chairman Royce’s efforts to improve and strengthen foreign assistance:

Watch the full Council on Foreign Relations discussion on U.S. development priorities here.