WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today, Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) released the following statement following the House passage of the bipartisan Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (HR 3766). HR 3766 passed the House unanimously. This bipartisan bill would increase public oversight over foreign aid by requiring federal agencies to show both where taxpayer money is spent around the world and how effective that aid is.
Since the passage of the Foreign Aid Act in 1961, foreign aid programs have grown and spread across 12 federal departments, 22 agencies, and almost 60 offices – many of which have no monitoring and evaluation procedures in place.
In 2011, the Administration launched “The Foreign Aid Dashboard,” a public, online resource that allows users to examine foreign aid in an accessible and easy-to-understand format. Nevertheless, by its own admission, the site is incomplete, with information posted from only 10 of the 22 federal agencies that administer aid. Without a statutory requirement to maintain the data, any Administration can just as easily take down the website or continue to post incomplete information.
The “Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act” addresses both of these problems. First, it would require the President to establish guidelines on measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans for all foreign aid programs. Second, it would increase aid transparency by codifying what is currently being done through the Foreign Assistance Dashboard and increasing the amount of information required to be posted online, including actual expenditures and evaluations.
“It is time to modernize and reform the outdated foreign aid program”, said Rep. Poe. “Under the current system, billions of taxpayer dollars are sent to a majority of the countries in the world, and no one really knows how efficient or effective that aid is. Implementing a system to evaluate the success (or failure) of each program will increase both learning and accountability, making the program stronger. It is also important for Americans to know exactly where their money is sent. The House has now acted in a bipartisan fashion to improve our foreign aid program. It is time for the Senate to do the same and send this common sense bill to the President’s desk.”
"Foreign assistance is a critical and necessary tool for protecting and proliferating democratic values,” said Rep. Connolly. “We need to expand, not disinvest, in our global leadership. This bill will bring needed transparency to an often misunderstood part of the federal budget, which will in turn allow us to continue to grow our investment in stability and prosperity abroad.”