McCaul introduces bill to reform U.S. investments in international development

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) took the lead on retooling U.S. international development investments in science and technology to better meet the world’s highest-priority development challenges with a bipartisan bill he introduced on Wednesday.

Established by the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) in 2014, the U.S. Global Development Lab brings together a diverse array of public-private partnerships, scientists and members of academia to focus on producing development innovations with the ultimate goal of ending extreme poverty around the world.

The legislation, the Global Development Lab Act, would begin using innovation incentive awards that rely on a pay-for-success model to reward good ideas. Technical experts with term limits also would be brought in and used more efficiently, while giving the lab greater ability to utilize program income more effectively.

“At a time when our nation continues to face some of the most challenging global crises in recent history, we must continue to make smart investments in effective solutions,” McCaul, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said. “Through the use of scientific and technical innovations in collaboration with the private sector, the Global Development Lab has played a critical role in mitigating the effects of outbreaks, such as Ebola, and reducing global poverty.”

McCaul said he introduced the bill with U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) to “enhance the important work of the lab and sharpen a critical tool used to improve the lives of millions of people and American foreign policy abroad.”

Castro said the United States needs more problem solvers if it is going to address the numerous challenges confronting the world, such as hunger, illiteracy and disease.

“The Lab is a worthwhile investment in the future of humankind — in fact, it’s designed to save the government more money than it costs,” Castro said. “Convening the expertise of academia, the private sector, and nonprofits, we will be able to draw on a range of specialized knowledge and bypass hurdles that have held back innovation in the past.”