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Kerry, Lugar Letter Calls For Obama To Appoint USAID Leader Quickly

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., and the ranking Republican Senator Richard Lugar, R-Ind., have sent a letter to President Barack Obama “urging” him to nominate a candidate – who has already been screened – for the vacant USAID administrator position “as quickly as possible,” CQ reports. According to the senators, the “leadership vacuum” is impeding USAID’s efforts in foreign, development and humanitarian aid, and it is the “last major agency in the U.S. government to remain unfilled,” CQ writes. “‘Not only does U.S. development lack clear leadership at the top, but increasingly we believe that key development voices are being shut out of major policy decisions and interagency processes,’ they added, stopping just short of accusing the administration outright of dragging its feet” (Webber, 9/22).

In the letter, dated Sept. 18, Kerry and Lugar “recommend” that Obama strongly consider “selecting a candidate that has already gone through the vetting process and that has experience in global development. We believe that time is of the essence, and that the longer we wait for a new leader for the Agency, the more serious the problems become,” Foreign Policy’s blog, “The Cable,” reports (Rogin 9/23). The senators did not mention names in the letter, according to CQ (9/22).

“The Cable” examines some of the factors at play that could change the way the agency operates, including two bills related to USAID – one in the Senate, one in the House. The post also includes a link (.pdf) to the text of the letter (9/23).

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