Durbin Statement on Confirmation of Gayle Smith to Head USAID

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement after the Senate voted 79-7 to confirm Gayle Smith, who was nominated to head the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on April 30th:


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. While this tragedy unfolded throughout the year, giving rise to a massive refugee crisis in the Middle East and across Europe, Senate Republicans hamstrung USAID’s ability to fully function by not allowing Smith’s nomination to come to the floor. With so much at stake for so many children and families, I’m glad to see this critical agency finally has a confirmed administrator.


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