CQ Politics Examines Delay In Naming USAID Head, Farmer’s Reported Withdrawal

Paul Farmer’s withdrawal from consideration as head of USAID “would send the [Obama] administration back to the drawing board to fill a critical position that will be a centerpiece of efforts to overhaul foreign aid,” CQ Politics reports. Farmer, the cofounder of Partners in Health, who was “the leading candidate” to lead USAID, is “no longer in the running for the job, according to several Hill aides and people in the foreign aid community” (8/5). On Wednesday, Foreign Policy’s “The Cable” blog also reported that Farmer is no longer being considered for the position (Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, 8/5).

According to CQ Politics, it is not known whether “Farmer took himself out of the running or whether the vetting uncovered issues that would complicate his confirmation,” adding, “A spokesman for Farmer said he was in Rwanda and could not be reached. The White House declined to comment.”

Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, who is the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “It’s not clear to me what the administration’s problem is here,” adding that he was just “mystified.” A Foreign Relations Committee aide said the delays finding a new head for USAID “are becoming concerning” (8/5).