In a new op-ed for Roll Call, House Foreign Affairs Committee member Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX-2) and former Rep. Jim Kolbe argue that modernizing the U.S. foreign assistance system will helps us confront challenges abroad while making the most effective use of every dollar spent.
MFAN applauds Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) for introducing the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012 (HR.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.
To become a member, participating countries must make an Open Government Declaration; deliver a country action plan; and report on progress. Country plans were released as the OGP was launched. The US and the UK made important commitments to aid transparency, including to publish information in line with a common standard.
“We are delighted that President Bush is weighing in to protect funding and promote continued reform in U.S. foreign assistance,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “This week’s bipartisan cooperation on global health is a welcome break from the gridlock that has characterized efforts to reduce our national debt.”
On Monday, September 19th the Kojo Nnamdi Show will feature MFAN Co-Chair Jim Kolbe, former Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Paul O’Brien, Vice President of Policy and Campaigns at Oxfam America to discuss the future of foreign aid and the trajectory of reform, continuing a conversation that began two years ago.
Of all the cuts to emerge from last month’s House Foreign Affairs Committee draft authorization bill and the fiscal 2012 State-Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee bill markup, the cut from USAID’s operating expenses budget may turn out to be one of the most painful for U.S. foreign policy.
In the midst of a misguided and disproportionate effort to slash the international affairs budget, the House of Representatives has proposed to cut nearly 27% ($365million) from USAID’s operating budget for fiscal year 2012. Such a drastic cut would cripple the agency’s ongoing and aggressive internal reform effort, while undermining bipartisan efforts to increase the effectiveness and accountability of U.S. foreign assistance.
We commend House Committee on Foreign Affairs (HCFA) Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-CA) for introducing a discussion draft of the Global Partnerships Act of 2011. The draft legislation lays the foundations for a serious dialogue between the Congress, the Executive Branch, and civil society to reach consensus on legislation to replace America’s outdated and ineffective jumble of foreign assistance statutes. The reforms proposed by Rep. Berman build on the work the last two Presidents – and Republicans and Democrats currently serving on HCFA – have done to make our efforts to alleviate poverty, improve health, and drive economic growth in poor countries more effective and accountable.
Over the weekend, The Washington Post ran an op-ed by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in which she elaborates on the partnership between Liberia and the U.S. that has helped set her country on a path to recovery, and even growth, following a decades-long civil war. She writes: “Thanks to our partnership with the American people, we are rebuilding roads, clinics, and schools, and expanding access to electricity, water, and sanitation. It is critical that this aid continues in next year’s budget.”
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) has introduced the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2012-13, which calls for robust resources for U.S. diplomacy and development programs that are critical components of U.S. foreign policy in a challenging world. MFAN applauds Chairman Kerry for authoring a bill that demonstrates a strong commitment to the civilian tools of U.S. global leadership and pushes forward the vital reforms to U.S. foreign assistance.