Washington, DC - Today, Representative Gregory W. Meeks. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, provided the following opening and closing remarks during the October 27th, 2021 hearing titled "The Administration’s FY22 Budget Request for the Peace Corps, Development Finance Corporation, and Millennium Challenge Corporation"
"Pursuant to notice, the full committee meets today to discuss the budget requests of three important development agencies under the committee's oversight responsibility: The Peace Corps, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Development Finance Corporation. All three of these agencies are critical components of America's soft power, including our nation’s efforts to promote democracy, increase gender equity, mitigate the effects of climate change and end the COVID-19 pandemic globally.
"The Peace Corps celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Over time, approximately 240,000 volunteers have served at posts across the globe, enshrined in the agency’s goals, “to help the peoples of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women, promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served, and promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.”
"Last month, the Committee passed the much-needed Peace Corps Reauthorization Act, authored by former Peace Corps volunteer Representative John Garamendi, with strong bipartisan support. With a $400 million-plus budget, the Peace Corps has been able to reach the most remote parts of our world, spreading American values and working with local communities to promote and create sustainable development.
"At the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Peace Corps made the unprecedented and difficult, but correct call to quickly evacuate all volunteers and trainees from their posts. The Peace Corps is now preparing for the return of volunteers, implementing strategies for increasing diverse volunteers, and facilitating programs to continue to serve the American people at home. We look forward to taking a deeper look into ways in which the agency is adapting to modern challenges to continue its good work.
"Next, we have the Millennium Challenge Corporation, founded in 2004 to deliver strategic U.S. development assistance through partnerships with developing countries that demonstrate a commitment to good governance, economic freedom, and a desire to invest in their citizenry. Since then, MCC has invested 13 billion dollars by way of small and large grants to develop electricity, clean water, and infrastructure with 50 partner countries around the world.
"This year, MCC has requested $912 million for its FY22 Budget which includes support for programmatic work for project compact implementations across ten countries and the development of compacts in seven countries.
"I am also pleased that MCC has established an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that reports to the MCC CEO and an Executive Diversity Council designed for MCC employees to provide direct input on diversity issues in the agency.
"Last but certainly not least is the United States International Development Finance Corporation, or the DFC, which is a nascent agency founded in 2019 after the passage of the BUILD Act of 2018, which many on this committee cosponsored. This bipartisan legislation created a new American Development Finance Institution with existing pieces of OPIC and USAID, along with new authorities, including the ability to make direct equity investments. The agency’s mandate prioritizes support in less developed countries with low- or lower-middle-income economies.
"The DFC has bolstered U.S. development finance through the use of its new authorities, resulting in successes like the 2x Women’s initiative which has catalyzed over seven billion dollars in private investments for projects empowering women around the world.
"Over the last year, the Biden-Harris Administration centered the DFC as a premier agency in the United States Climate Finance Plan to meet the G7 climate goals and Paris Agreement commitments. The Administration’s FY22 budget request for the DFC includes 598 million dollars and an additional CR anomaly to staff up the agency and prepare it for this key role.
"It is no surprise that all three agencies have systematically earned strong bipartisan support throughout the years, and that is something I hope we can continue here today. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses to discuss how each agency is best utilizing American taxpayer dollars to further United States development goals through sustainable initiatives with a focus on gender equity and diversity."
"I want to thank the witnesses for their time and testimony today.
"As I stated upon taking this committee’s Chairmanship, my priorities can be categorized into four D’s: Development, Democracy, Diplomacy, and Diversity. All three of the agencies we discussed during this hearing are critical institutions helping drive United States global efforts in every one of these categories. It is important that these agencies have robust resources to carry out their missions and I look forward to continued engagement with each agency.
"I thank Ranking Member McCaul for his partnership in holding today’s hearing, as well as all the Members of this Committee for participating in this important budget hearing.
"Thank you – this hearing is now ADJOURNED."