NPR Examines Presidential Candidates’ Plans To Increase Foreign Aid
NPR's "All Things Considered" on Thursday examined the plans of presumptive presidential nominees Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to increase U.S. foreign aid. According to "All Things Considered," the next president likely will build on some of President Bush's foreign aid programs, such as the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President's Malaria Initiative.
McCain has said he considers foreign aid a key factor in U.S. security. U.S. foreign aid "really needs to eliminate many of the breeding grounds for extremism, which is poverty, which is HIV/AIDS, which is all of these terrible conditions that make people totally dissatisfied and then look to extremism, particularly Islamic extremism." Although McCain has not specified how much funding he would allocate to foreign aid, he has set a goal of eradicating malaria in Africa, if elected.
Obama earlier this summer said that if elected he "will make the case to the American people that it can be our best investment in increasing the common security of the entire world and increasing our own security." Obama added that he would double U.S. foreign aid to $50 billion by 2012 if elected and use the funding increase to "support a stable future in failing states and sustainable growth in Africa, to halve global poverty and to roll back disease."
According to Steve Radelet of the Center for Global Development, the U.S. system for providing foreign assistance needs to be updated. Radelet said that several government agencies -- including the State Department, Department of Treasury, Department of Agriculture and USAID -- are involved in foreign aid distribution and delivery. However, he said a more independent USAID with a designated official in charge of development efforts is needed.
According to Radelet, both McCain and Obama have "hinted" that U.S. foreign aid programs need to be reorganized, but "neither has been particularly explicit as to what that reorganization might look like." He added that it is too early in the campaign to look into "specific details of what the reorganization might be" but that both McCain and Obama "have recognized the importance of making investments going forward" (Keleman, "All Things Considered," NPR, 8/7).
A health08.org Issue Spotlight looking at the candidates on global health and HIV/AIDS is available online.