The NYT reports that some members of Congress are unhappy with the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s rate of progress – it hasn’t spent fast enough. They want to grab the MCC’s unspent billions and make it come back to Congress when it needs money. This attack on the MCC’s independence undermines its founding purpose and has serious consequences:
If the agency gets the lesser Senate amount, under the current rules requiring the money up front, Burkina Faso, a West African country that has spent more than two years qualifying for and drafting its $560 million to $620 million plan, will get nothing, agency officials said. Tanzania and Namibia are ahead of it in line…
In small, poor countries like Burkina Faso, every burp and hiccup of an aid agency like the Millennium Challenge Corporation is news — and often front page news. David Weld, the agency’s country director for Burkina Faso, said he did not know how he could face people there if Congress did not come through with enough money to help them.
“What type of message does that send to Burkina Faso, a country that has spent a huge amount of political capital and money on this process?” he asked. “What does that tell the Togos, the Nigers that want to become eligible? It tells them: Do everything like Burkina Faso, make all these reforms, spend millions of your own money, and then maybe at the end we might be able to sign a compact with you — or maybe not.”