On Wednesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) passed the State Department Authorization Bill, S.2971, by voice vote – the first State authorization bill to pass out of the SFRC in five years. The revised bill focuses on reforms at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), among others. The most noteworthy reform was the decision to redefine the MCC’s low-income country category to include 75 of the poorest countries, thus expanding the opportunity for the U.S. to partner with more well-governed countries – a recommendation proposed in a recent paper by MFAN Partner the Center for Global Development. Aside from these technical changes relating to new candidate income, the bill allows for MCC compacts to be extended from five to seven years and for countries to have concurrent compacts. These measures will improve the MCC model – a model that embodies many of the reform principles including partnership, country ownership, and enhanced monitoring and evaluation.
For details on the amendments to the authorization bill follow this link. To read more about how the authorization bill’s new provisions for the MCC relate to reform, read CGD’s Rethinking U.S. Foreign Assistance blog.