Senate Committee Drafts MCA Legislation; Major Step Taken to Increase U.S. Foreign Assistance

Bread for the World
Wednesday, 21 May 2003

In March of 2002, President Bush articulated a clear vision for a new foreign assistance initiative that would narrow the "growing divide between wealth and poverty" in the world's poorest countries. The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) legislation, which reflects the president's announcement of last year, was drafted in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today.

Coupled with the recent passage of the Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the MCA, when approved by the Senate and the House, would call for a dramatic increase in U.S. foreign assistance to specifically address hunger, poverty and disease. In Fiscal Year 2004 alone, U.S. assistance would jump by at least $4.3 billion if Congress funds the president's request for AIDS and the MCA, leading up to at least $8 billion annually in FY 2006 for these two initiatives. This new money would be in addition to current levels of development and humanitarian assistance.

In his March 2002 speech, President Bush made it clear that the MCA will not rob funds from other development programs. "We will increase our development assistance by $5 billion over the next three budget cycles. This new money is above and beyond existing aid requests," he said.

Comment of Bread for the World President David Beckmann

"President Bush has taken a bold step to address the axis of evil that is hunger, poverty and disease. The recent passage of the AIDS legislation and today's Senate action on the MCA sends a strong signal that the United States is ready to assume a leadership role in helping the 800 million people in God's world struggling with hunger.

"I hope the Senate and the House will quickly pass the MCA. It then becomes imperative that they work together with the White House to fulfill the president's vision of fully funding these new initiatives while maintaining our core development and humanitarian programs."

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