President and CEO Samuel A. Worthington Chair Charles MacCormack, Save the Children Vice Chair Ritu Sharma Fox, Women Thrive Worldwide Treasurer Amy Coen, Population Action International Board of Directors Nancy A. Aossey, International Medical Corps Kenneth Bacon, Refugees International David Beckmann, Bread for the World Carol Bellamy, World Learning Sekyu Chang, Korean American Sharing Movement Julius Coles, Africare Helene D. Gayle, CARE USA Anne Lynam Goddard, Christian Children’s Fund Lee H. Hamilton, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Neal Keny-Guyer, Mercy Corps Elizabeth Lathem, US Committee for UNDP Lelei Lelaulu, Counterpart International Jo Luck, Heifer International John McCullough, Church World Service Stephen F. Moseley, Academy for Educational Development Daniel E. Pellegrom, Pathfinder International Linda Pfeiffer, INMED Robert Radtke, Episcopal Relief and Development Yolonda C. Richardson, Centre for Development and Population Activities George Rupp, International Rescue Committee Zainab Salbi, Women for Women International Ron Sconyers, Physicians for Peace Kathy Spahn, Helen Keller International Richard Stearns, World Vision Tsehaye Teferra, Ethiopian Community Development Council Sam Worthington (Ex-Officio) 1400 16th St., NW Suite 210 Washington, DC 20036 PHONE: (202) 667-8227 FAX: (202) 667-8236 E-MAIL: [email protected] http://www.interaction.org June 4, 2008 President George W. Bush White House Washington, DC Dear Mr. President, On behalf of InterAction’s NGO MCA Working Group, we write to raise our concerns about the $525 million rescission to FY 08 Millennium Challenge Account funds included in the FY 08/09 emergency supplemental recently passed by the Senate. By cutting these funds, we are sacrificing long-term sustainable solutions to poverty and rising food prices in the interest of emergency needs. The two amendments using the MCC as an offset address legitimate concerns. The United States must adequately address the rising food prices and Cyclone Nargis relief efforts that threaten to erase the progress we have made in reducing poverty around the world, and we are right to support Jordan while its infrastructure is stressed by the large number of Iraqi refugees it has taken in. While necessary, however, these are ultimately short-term responses, not lasting solutions to the problems at hand, and the offsets would sabotage progress toward such lasting solutions by delivering a devastating blow to poor countries making tough reforms to improve governance, security and economic growth. The offsets thus undercut long-term solutions to the very problems the amendments are intended to fix. As you know, more than half of the MCA funds already committed have addressed agriculture or rural investments critical to growing agricultural productivity. The withdrawal of FY 08 MCC funds also sends the signal that America is not a reliable partner that follows through on its promises, reducing our ability to encourage the governance and process reforms that enable healthy, durable, long-term development. The Millennium Challenge Account is an innovative way of doing development and deserves the chance to succeed. We applauded the creation of the program and have worked closely with the Millennium Challenge Corporation and civil society in recipient countries for its successful implementation. However, political support for the program has lacked and the FY 08 enacted level for the MCA was already below the previous two years of funding. As you know, Burkina Faso and Namibia are within weeks of finalizing their compacts but with this cut will likely have to wait until next year for approval and to begin implementation. Countries identified as likely candidates for FY09 funding, including Jordan, would be pushed even further back. As the Administration weighs in on the final negotiations on the emergency supplemental, we urge you to work for the removal of the MCA as an offset. It is neither efficient nor effective to sacrifice sustainable solutions for short term response– both are necessary. We appreciate your attention to these concerns. Sincerely yours, Nora O’Connell Women Thrive Worldwide Co-chair Cc: Erin Tunney Bread for the World Co-Chair Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice OMB Director Nussle MCC CEO John Danilovich InterAction is a membership association of US private voluntary organizations engaged in international humanitarian efforts including relief, development, refugee assistance, environment, population, public policy, and global education.