Durbin, Shaheen Meet with USAID Nominee Gayle Smith, Call on GOP to Stop Blocking Her Confirmation

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today met with Gayle Smith, whose nomination to head the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is currently being blocked from consideration on the floor of the Senate.


USAID is charged with coordinating America’s response to humanitarian crises around the world, and the catastrophic civil war in Syria is the biggest humanitarian crisis of our time,” said Durbin. “Senate Republicans are hamstringing this critical organization’s ability to fully function by not allowing Smith’s nomination to come to the floor. With so much at stake for so many, now is not the time to play partisan games. I hope my colleagues on the other side of the aisle will agree.”


The Syrian refugee crisis is weighing heavily on the hearts of Americans all across our country,” said Shaheen. “The agency responsible for humanitarian aid requires a leader at this critical time. Gayle Smith has outstanding credentials and would be overwhelmingly approved by the Senate if allowed an opportunity to vote on her nomination.  Republican Leadership should end this lengthy delay so that Smith can begin the urgent work that awaits her.”  


The Syrian conflict has led to the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian crisis and the worst refugee crisis since World War II. As the Syrian Civil War goes into its 5th year, more than half of Syria’s 23 million people have been forced from their homes. Last week, the Obama Administration announced that the United States would take in at least 10,000 displaced Syrians over the next year.