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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I rise today along with my colleagues from Florida and Maryland, Senator Rubio and Senator Cardin, to introduce the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review Act of 2012.

This legislation demonstrates Congress's commitment to strengthening the accountability and effectiveness of our foreign aid programs. With the United States facing critical foreign policy and development priorities worldwide, it is vital that we update our foreign aid programs to reflect the new challenges of the 21st century.

The first-ever quadrennial review on diplomacy and development provided an important roadmap for increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of our diplomatic and development agencies. I applaud Secretary Clinton for her leadership in bringing this valuable planning tool to the State Department.

The purpose of our bill is straightforward: In keeping with the practice of undertaking quadrennial reviews by various departments, including the Department of Defense, it creates the statutory basis for conducting periodically scheduled reviews to guide the mission of the State Department and USAID.

The Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review Act will strengthen our diplomacy and development efforts in several key ways. Let me cite just a few specifically:

First, this bill clarifies the measures by which we assess and evaluate our diplomacy and development efforts. Developing clear metrics will further the effective and results-oriented diplomacy and development efforts that I view as essential for protecting and advancing our national security interests.

Second, this bill will focus our diplomacy and development efforts in the most effective ways possible, getting the biggest bang for our scarce foreign assistance dollars.

Third, it will help ensure that Congress and the Administration, working together, can set clear priorities for diplomacy and development. As we face multiple crises and major challenges, setting priorities will be absolutely critical to our shared success going forward. We must continue to foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth and vibrant civil societies. We must also focus on areas where we have comparative strengths, including public health, humanitarian aid and food security.

Fourth, this bill will put our diplomacy and development efforts on a sustainable path. It streamlines the process for working with the Department of Defense and it will help us bring all the tools of the United States government to bear in meeting the complex challenges of this new century.

Finally, we all know that we need to strengthen our professional diplomatic expertise and capacity, target our investments and untie the hands of our aid workers. The QDDR process and our bill provides the Secretary and President with a comprehensive and analytically sound basis for doing just that.

Returning diplomacy and development to their rightful place cannot be achieved through words alone. This legislation translates words into deeds. And if that helps promote U.S. national security interests and keeps us safe, as I believe it will, then it's time and effort well spent.

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