November 20, 2017 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs George Ingram, Tessie San Martin, and Connie Veillette.
MFAN commends the effort to review U.S. assistance to multilateral institutions in order to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness. The Multilateral Aid Review Act (S. 1928) was recently introduced by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) along with six original co-sponsors: Sens. Todd Young (R-IN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Robert Casey (D-PA). The bill passed out of Committee by a unanimous voice vote on Tuesday, November 14.
MFAN has called for a comprehensive review of U.S. foreign assistance to serve as the basis for a Global Development Strategy and any restructuring of U.S. development efforts. Overall, this bill is a positive step toward evidence-based reforms as an alternative to the Administration’s proposed deep and disproportionate budget cuts to international programs.
The Act calls on the President to establish a task force chaired by the Secretary of State and made up of officials from select agencies who would conduct the review in consultation with Congress. It also requires the creation of an “analytical framework and assessment scorecard” for the review based on accountability and transparency, U.S. foreign policy objectives, and other criteria.
As the bill moves forward, MFAN hopes to work with Congress to strengthen provisions related to transparency, congressional and stakeholder engagement, and the articulation of foreign policy interests.