Senate confirms new USAID administrator Mark Green

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed former congressman Mark Green as President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development at a time the administration is proposing cuts in foreign aid and a reorganization of the agency.

Green was a Republican U.S. representative from Wisconsin from 1999 to 2007, ambassador to Tanzania under former President George W. Bush, and president of the International Republican Institute, where he sought to promote democracy and governance overseas.

His term at the main U.S. aid agency starts amid Trump administration plans for a 31 percent cut in the budget of USAID and the State Department, a major refugee crisis spilling into Europe and the Middle East from wars in Syria and Iraq, and famine and drought in parts of Africa that have displaced tens of thousands of people.

The agency announced on Thursday the second round of funding for more drought-stricken countries in Africa.

Green’s appointment has been widely applauded by development experts and aid groups.

“Green’s confirmation is a sign of hope that if we are entering a period of triage when it comes to many USAID programs, we will at least have a responsible actor overseeing this difficult and fraught process, and hopefully one who will stand firm on behalf of his agency’s critical mission,” said Scott Morris, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a former U.S. Treasury official.

Abby Maxman, president of the Oxfam America development group, said Green had a long track record in international development that was needed at a time of “unprecedented global crisis from refugees to hunger and climate changes.”

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Peter Cooney