Putting Single Official in Charge of State Department’s Aid Programs Might Lead to Program Cuts, Editorial Says
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice putting "a single official, reporting directly to her, in charge of coordinating the State Department's multiple foreign aid programs" might "easily end up cutting programs that fight disease, send children to school or provide clean water," a New York Times editorial says. According to the Times, a USAID "director inside the State Department will be under tremendous political pressure to take money away from effective antipoverty programs, which have very small political constituencies, and divert it to the State Department's geopolitical goals, which have little to do with development." In addition, Rice chose the "wrong man" -- current head of the State Department's Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Randall Tobias -- to head USAID, the editorial says (New York Times, 2/6). Rice in January nominated Tobias to be the administrator of USAID and director of foreign assistance, a new position in the State Department that will oversee all U.S. foreign aid programs. Tobias, former CEO of Eli Lilly, would have a rank equal to that of deputy secretary of state and a planning staff at the State Department (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/20). Although Tobias is a "good manager," he "had no development experience" before accepting the OGAC job, the editorial says. Tobias also has "proved himself unable to resist pressure to abandon proven AIDS prevention strategies in favor of the abstinence programs supported by the religious right," the editorial says (New York Times, 2/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.