October 12, 2011 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs David Beckmann, George Ingram and Jim Kolbe:
MFAN applauds Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) for introducing the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012 (H.R. 3159), which calls for more coherent and consistent monitoring and evaluation of U.S. foreign assistance programs. The proposed legislation has attracted a strong list of co-sponsors from both parties, signaling broad support for U.S. development programs that are critical levers of U.S. influence in an increasingly complex global environment. The legislation also affirms the consensus among Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle that reforming U.S. foreign assistance is imperative in today’s tight budget environment.
The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012 calls for making information on U.S. foreign assistance more accessible to the public and our partners in development. The bill would do so by expanding the Obama Administration’s Foreign Assistance Dashboard initiative to include comprehensive reporting from each agency engaged in overseas development, while requiring that these agencies produce and make available measurable goals and clear strategies for foreign assistance programs.
These steps would allow American citizens to access information on where taxpayer-funded foreign assistance is going and how it is impacting economic growth, poverty alleviation and disease eradication. Increased transparency would also give Congress the ability to exercise more effective oversight of foreign assistance programs. Finally, more transparency will help our developing country partners access timely information that can inform their own efforts. This is critical, given that the Obama Administration and Republicans and Democrats in Congress have called for recipient countries to take more ownership of, and responsibility for, their own development.
Congressman Poe’s bill is an important first step toward making lasting, statutory reforms that will ensure U.S. foreign assistance programs are more transparent, accountable, and effective. We look forward to working with Rep. Poe, House Committee on Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-CA), the bill’s additional co-sponsors, and other Members of Congress to enact this bill during the 112th Congress.