Tuesday, June 19, 2007

USAID funding confirmed

The House Appropriations Committee has published the bill and accompanying report (pdf) for State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development funding for the fiscal year that begins October 1. The report confirms what I reported before: $9 million is provided in this bill for “democracy assistance programs in Cuba,” for which the Administration had requested $45.7 million.

The Committee requires that the Administration provide “a spending plan and strategy for how these funds will be utilized” before the funds are used. Its report takes note of the 2006 GAO report on the U.S. Agency for International Development program, particularly its findings about insufficient “internal controls” over the funding, the way grants are awarded and monitored, and communication between the State Department and USAID that it describes as “ineffective and lacking with regard to grantees’ in-country activities.”

This amount and these conditions could change as the House and Senate work on this bill. But even if the Committee’s action remains unchanged, this is hardly an emergency for the program, or for Cuba’s dissidents.

If aid to dissidents is the priority, $9 million is plenty of money, and submission of a spending plan is not an onerous condition.

What is new is that Congress is paying closer attention to the program and beginning to exercise routine oversight.


Anonymous said...

~10 mil a year sounds about right.
Now, about those billions that went to prop up Aristide...

leftside said...

Hmmm... the US propped up Aristide? That is a new one. Every account I have heard has the US cutting off aid when the democratic government of Aristide needed it most?

"This is a case where the United States turned off the tap," said Jeffrey Sachs, an economist at Columbia University. "I believe they did that deliberately to bring down Aristide."

Anonymous said...

That the U.S. propped up Aristide is "a new one"? Only to a dolt. The Clintonistas INVADED Haiti to restore Aristide to power and arranged for billions to sustain his regime. And, yes, where are those billions today?

leftside said...

Clinton only acted after frantic lobbying by the African American community. It was one of his few bright spots... I was talking about more recent history and the end result of US involvement, which was to choke the government into weakness.

The truth about the "billions" is that most was spent on administration, support of the U.S. Army, the rebuilding of the Haitian Police Force and Judiciary and the building of some infrastructure and roads. The money the Hatians actually controlled was used to pay back some outstanding loans to the IDB. Very little, if any, made it to the government or people.

What exactly are you implying sir? That Aristide has it stashed away with him living the high life in Africa?? I have read no such reports.

Anonymous said...

Fiscal accountability is all well and good, and the AID Cuba budget may very well have been a bit bloated. However, there's more than a bit of hypocrisy when the same left-wing Democrats who showered the Aristide-Lavalas thugogracy with billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars target a comparatively insignificant budget item because they don't like the grantees' ideology. Where are the GAO audits on U.S. aid to Aristide/Lavalas? How much of that money ended up in Charlie Rangel's district?

leftside said...

Forgive me for not seeing the neatest of comparisions with aid to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, one with a precarious hold on democracy and one where the US was involved in nation building vs. US aid to a handful dissidents in Cuba and Miami for the purposes of regime change.