Congressional Testimony

Speeches Shim

Tuesday, 17 April, 2018

The humanitarian crisis we see in Yemen today is exacerbated by the Yemeni Government’s collapse in parts of the country. The current conflict has been ongoing since Houthi attacks against the Yemeni Government began nearly four years ago. This violence between the Houthis, armed by the Iranian regime, and Yemeni Government forces, backed by military support from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, has devolved into a civil war amongst multiple, growing factions, driven in part by regional powers. Political instability, a security vacuum, and fractured governance have allowed extremist groups to expand their areas of influence. Meanwhile, more than 75 percent of the country—or more than 22 million people—need humanitarian assistance. To put that into perspective, that’s more than one and a half times the entire populations of Tennessee and New Jersey, combined.

The ongoing conflict has resulted in an estimated 10,000 civilian deaths and is also the reason why two million people are still unable to return home after fleeing for safety. Fighting has hampered commercial trade, which is devastating in a country that traditionally imports 90 percent of its food and most of its fuel and medicine. Infrastructure has been destroyed, leaving 16 million people without access to clean water or working toilets. Salaries aren’t getting paid. These conditions are unlikely to change unless until there is durable political resolution to the conflict. It is imperative that all parties to the conflict protect civilians and aid workers, who work at great personal risk to assist people in need.

Wednesday, 21 March, 2018

Thank you, Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, members of the committee. I appreciate this opportunity to discuss USAID's Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Request. It is wonderful to be back in this room, as a couple of you have already noted. I served on this committee during my time in the House. Of course, back then it was called the "House International Relations Committee," and we were, shall we say, more of a rag-tag bunch than the distinguished ladies and gentlemen that I see here before me. But even so, today feels like I'm coming home.

Wednesday, 14 March, 2018

The President’s national security strategy states that America should target threats at their source, catalyze international response to man-made and natural disasters and provide to those in need. As the 2016 Global Food Security Act states, “It is in the national interest of the United States to promote global food security.” A food-secure world where people are not worried about their children going to bed hungry is in the U.S. interest: stability helps ward off future conflict and prosperity opens new markets for U.S. exports and trade.

Wednesday, 15 November, 2017

Strong and effective information technology systems are essential to USAID achieving its mission in a modern world. As a relatively small agency with a relatively small IT budget managing a worldwide network, USAID has no choice but to embrace efficient IT. USAID is proud to have received the first A rating ever given under the FITARA Scorecard; our score reflects years of hard work to put in place key reforms to address the deficiencies of prior years.

Thursday, 9 November, 2017

Good afternoon Chairman Smith, Ranking Member Bass, and Members of the Subcommittee. Thank you for inviting me to speak with you today about the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). It is always an honor to have the opportunity to discuss our work with supporters of Africa. For me personally, it is a pleasure to be back testifying before this Subcommittee.

Wednesday, 8 November, 2017

Chairman Ros-Lehtinen and Chairman Yoho, Ranking Members Deutch and Sherman, and Members of the Subcommittees, thank you for inviting me here to discuss the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Wednesday, 1 November, 2017

General Votel of U.S. Central Command put it this way: “There is a lot that the military can do, but it is extraordinarily important that our diplomats, our Department of State, our other development agencies, and others are involved in this process as well.”

Tuesday, 24 October, 2017

The recent escalation in violence in northern Rakhine State has resulted in massive displacement and humanitarian needs both in Burma and across the border in neighboring Bangladesh. This is a rapidly growing humanitarian crisis, and the United States is responding to save lives. Recent events not only imperil the lives of thousands, but also mark a decision point for Burma’s political and military leadership, with the world watching.

Thursday, 19 October, 2017

The four conflict-zones of South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria and Yemen alone account for more than 20 million people at risk of severe hunger or starvation and all face a credible threat of famine. In recent months, the United States has announced more than $1.5 billion in additional humanitarian assistance to these areas since May, including food assistance, bringing total U.S. humanitarian assistance to these countries to nearly $3.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2017. This assistance has saved the lives of millions and helped to avert famine and contain other deadly diseases like cholera from spreading further.

Wednesday, 11 October, 2017

Lebanon remains a high priority for the United States. Since 2006, with the support of Congress, the United States has provided approximately $1.2 billion in economic assistance to the Lebanese people. Together with USAID’s technical expertise, these funds have played a critical role in promoting Lebanon’s stability and security through programs focused on good governance, advancing access to education and clean water, and supporting social cohesion. As Deputy Assistant Secretary Ratney outlined, Lebanon is facing many challenges. The spillover from the Syria crisis has weakened the Lebanese economy, and put excessive pressure on the delivery of services. Many schools are overcrowded, food prices have escalated, and basic health delivery services are overwhelmed. Power, water and sanitation services do not meet the people's needs, and tensions between Lebanese host communities and the Syrian refugee population have intensified. Investment and trade with neighbors has slowed; tourism is down sharply from 2010; and unemployment has nearly doubled since 2012.

In the context of these challenges, I would like to talk briefly about how USAID’s programming is helping local partners deliver services across Lebanon, supporting Lebanon’s private sector, and enhancing inclusive economic growth. Strong local Lebanese communities empower the Lebanese people, and can serve as an alternative to extremist elements.


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