Commission: Keep AID Independent

A 14-member commission of United States agriculture leaders, including some prominent Republicans, met Monday in the Senate Agriculture Committee briefing room to call for a $2 billion increase in the government's international affairs budget and to urge Congress to keep the Agency for International Development independent of the State Department.

Half of the $2 billion increase should be spent on broad-based economic development projects, while the other $1 billion should go toward additional foreign affairs functions, said John Stovall of the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, a Washington think tank which organized the Commission on International Trade, Development and Cooperation.

Commission member Bob Thompson, a former Reagan administration official who now is president of Winrock International, said future increases in U.S. agricultural exports depend on development of Third World countries to increase the demand for food.

Michigan State University President Peter McPherson, who headed AID in the Reagan administration, said, "It would be a mistake to fold AID into the State Department" and disperse AID's "critical mass" of skilled technicians among State's geographic divisions.

McPherson said while he ran AID, he considered then-Secretary of State Schultz his "boss." But he added that AID's independence from the State Department made it possible for the U.S. government to take possibly contentious positions, for example, on family planning and banking deregulation in foreign countries, without publicly linking that position to the secretary of state or State Department officials in the countries involved.

The commission was chaired by former Cargill CEO Whitney MacMillan and included Dean Kleckner, president of the Republican-leaning National Farm Bureau Federation, and Leland Swenson, president of the Democrat-leaning National Farmers Union.

The commission's research was funded by Cargill, DowElanco, Farmland Industries, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Harvest States Co-op, AID and the Agriculture Department.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.