USAID Nominee Sails Through Confirmation Hearing

USAID Nominee Sails Through Confirmation Hearing

By:  Rachel Oswald

The White House’s nominee to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development is likely to be confirmed after a relatively smooth hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.

Gayle Smith, a longtime Africa aid specialist and current senior director for development and democracy on the National Security Council, was nominated in April to succeed Rajiv Shah, who resigned last year. If confirmed by the full panel, Smith will oversee USAID, the leading foreign aid agency, for the remainder of President Barack Obama's term...

...Sen. Robert Menendez  zeroed in on the role the agency should play in promoting democracy and good governance, particularly when it appears to run up against security and stability concerns. He noted that under Obama, USAID's budget for promoting democracy has fallen by 38 percent.

“We have to decide whether USAID is going to play a role in democracy-building or not,” the New Jersey Democrat said.

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