U.S. House Democrats Question USAID Acting Administrator Over Political Appointees, Proposed Budget In Light Of Pandemic

CNN: House Democrats press USAID director over ‘homophobic, misogynistic, and xenophobic’ comments from appointees
“…Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs committee pressed John Barsa, the acting administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, during a budget request hearing on why political appointees [with histories of inflammatory rhetoric targeted at refugees, the LGBTQ community, and women] continue to work for an agency whose core mission is to promote pro-women, pro-LGBTQ, and pro-immigrants foreign aid. The questioning came after the committee’s chairman Eliot Engel and other committee Democrats sent a letter on Wednesday night to Barsa … to demand the resignation of deputy White House liaison Merritt Corrigan…” (Steck/Kaczynski, 7/23).

Devex: Lawmakers question USAID chief about ‘troubling’ management decisions
“…In response to concerns about Corrigan and other recent controversial appointees, Barsa repeatedly offered a prepared statement affirming that ‘all USAID employees, regardless of hiring category, are held to the same high moral, legal, and ethical standards that USAID has always had in place.’ The budget proposed by President Donald Trump included a cut of more than 20% to U.S. foreign aid compared to what Congress approved for 2020, but Barsa noted that proposal was created before the coronavirus emerged as the unprecedented global health and development threat facing the world today. Barsa could not commit to providing lawmakers with an updated budget proposal reflecting increased need due to the pandemic, nor could he say how much funding USAID might require from a supplemental spending package, citing discussions taking place between the White House and the Office of Management and Budget. Barsa did note that he has created a new task force inside USAID known as ‘Over the Horizon’ to examine what kinds of support USAID’s partner countries might require in light of the pandemic…” (Igoe, 7/24).

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