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Protect the Fundamental Development Mission

The lack of a formidable domestic constituency for foreign assistance often makes such assistance vulnerable to budget cuts. Yet we know that fundamental development requires long-term commitment. Furthermore, the United States has a clear interest in helping states continue along the path of sustainable democratic development, regardless of their near-term strategic value. Thus funds dedicated to this mission must be protected against the vicissitudes of the annual appropriations process.

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The lack of a formidable domestic constituency for foreign assistance often makes such assistance vulnerable to budget cuts. Yet we know that fundamental development requires long-term commitment. Furthermore, the United States has a clear interest in helping states continue along the path of sustainable democratic development, regardless of their near-term strategic value. Thus funds dedicated to this mission must be protected against the vicissitudes of the annual appropriations process.

There are at least two ways to do this. The first is to mandate by law that some portion of the budget (either tied to the entire budget, or the defense appropriation, or the foreign operations appropriation, or some other budgetary mechanism) will be dedicated to fundamental development assistance to be executed by USAID or another relevant agency. The other is to contract out the fundamental development assistance mission to the U.N. Development Program or another major international organization, and dedicate a fixed multiyear appropriation to them with whatever caveats might be particular to American foreign assistance priorities.

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