Melissa Kaplan, advocacy manager for aid reform at InterAction, wrote about the recently introduced Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act in an op-ed in CQ. See an excerpt of the piece below.
“The world we live in today is more tightly interconnected than it has ever been. It’s not a question of whether foreign assistance is necessary, but rather how we can best utilize this important tool to reduce extreme poverty as a prominent signal of America’s moral leadership. President Barack Obama recently completed a high-profile trip to Africa — a continent that has suffered greatly from war, poverty and disease but also a place where U.S. foreign assistance has had a real and positive impact through programs such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (an HIV and AIDs initiative that has provided anti-retroviral treatment, care and other support to millions around the world). At less than 1 percent of the federal budget, foreign assistance represents a tiny sliver of U.S. spending, but the dollars invested in the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development can do an enormous amount of good even on a relative shoestring.”
“Many problems facing Congress today seem intractable, and our legislative branch is often stymied by partisan rancor that prevents the implementation of much-needed solutions to pressing problems. The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act represents a chance to break through this logjam and enact common-sense legislation that will enable our foreign assistance programs to work better. It’s no wonder that this legislation has drawn such strong bipartisan support among those who believe in the good foreign assistance can do, and want to see that it’s carried out as effectively as possible. Despite its unanimous approval by the House of Representatives, time ran out last Congress before the Senate had a chance to vote on FATA. Now that it has been reintroduced, with additional, stronger language on monitoring and evaluation, I am confident that it can and will pass in both chambers this year.”