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Senator John Kerry discusses U.S. Diplomacy and Development

In a speech at the Brookings Institution titled “Diplomacy and Development in the 21st Century: A Conversation with Senator John Kerry,” Senator Kerry summarized his views on the current state of U.S. diplomatic and development institutions and suggested a number of reforms that would “strengthen our civilian institutions to adequately address the challenges of the 21st century.” Some of these reforms include:

- Increasing resources, personnel and training;

- Improving coordination of U.S. foreign assistance programs;

- Clarifying the policies and goals of U.S. foreign assistance;

- Reauthorizing the Foreign Assistance Act; and

- Rebalancing the decision-making process between Washington and the field.

Senator Kerry also announced that he would be “introducing two pieces of legislation: a Foreign Affairs Authorization Act that will authorize the State Department and related accounts, and an initial foreign aid reform bill.”

H.Res. 466 – Recognizing World Hepatitis Awareness Month and World Hepatitis Day May 19, 2009

Among other things, the resolution states that the House of Representatives “supports raising awareness of the risks and consequences of undiagnosed chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections, and the urgency for a robust governmental and public health response to protect the health of approximately 6,000,000 people in the United States and nearly 600,000,000 people worldwide who suffer from chronic viral hepatitis.”

H.R. 2475 – Foreign Relations Authorization and Reform Act, Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011

The proposed bill authorizes appropriation levels for the Department of State for FY2010 and FY2011 and directs the Secretary of State to make specific reforms in U.S. foreign relation policy. Among other things, the proposed bill incorporates aspects of other recently introduced bills to protect girls by preventing child marriage.

S. 1054 – Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009

S. 1054 provides supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009. The version passed by the Senate Committee on Appropriations on May 14, 2009 provided $91.3 billion in supplemental funding with appropriations dedicated to the International Affairs budget, food assistance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and to addressing pandemic diseases.

Timeline of the bill:
- The Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs released a summary of the supplemental appropriations budget for the Department of State and Foreign Operations on May 12, 2009.
- Senator Inouye formally introduced the bill on May 14, 2009. The bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations on the same day.

S. 838 – A bill to provide for the appointment of United States Science Envoys

The proposed bill authorizes the President and the Secretary of State to “increase the number of educational and cultural exchange activities involving persons from scientific, medicine, research, and academic sectors” by creating new programs or expanding existing ones. Additionally, the bill authorizes the Secretary of State to appoint U.S. Science Envoys “to collaborate with other countries to promote the advancement of science and technology throughout the world based on issues of common interest and expertise.”

H.R. 2293 – To amend the Trade Act of 1974 to require a Public Health Advisory Committee on Trade to be included in the trade advisory committee system, to require public health organizations to be included on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations, and for other purposes

The bill would create a Public Health Advisory Committee on Trade that would submit a report to the President, Congress, and the United States Trade Representative on all proposed trade agreements and “the extent to which the trade agreement promotes public health and promotes the goal of protecting the environment in the United States and in any other country affected by the agreement.” The bill also requires public health organizations be included on the Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.

S. 955 – African Development Fund Replenishment Act of 2009

Among other things, the bill authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to contribute $468 million to the African Development Fund for the 11th replenishment of resources and an additional $26 million “to the African Development Fund for the purpose of funding debt relief under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative.” The bill also directs the Secretary of the Treasury to “seek to ensure that each multilateral development bank discloses to member countries the operating budget of the bank, including expenses for staff, consultants, travel, and facilities.”

S. 954 – World Bank International Development Association Replenishment Act of 2009

Among other things, the bill authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to contribute $3.7 billion to the International Development Association for the 15th replenishment of resources and an additional $356 million “to the International Development Association for the purpose of funding debt relief under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative.” The bill also directs the Secretary of the Treasury to “seek to ensure that multilateral development banks rigorously evaluate the development impact of selected bank projects, programs, and financing operations.” Finally, the bill requires the Secretary of the Treasury to conduct a study in coordination with the Secretary of State, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and other Federal agencies “on the respective roles each agency plays in the formulation of United States policy concerning the development policy, programs, and activities of the World Bank Group.”