SEATTLE — The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 3766) with a unanimous vote last night. The legislation now goes to the President’s desk for his signature and enactment into law.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously last week. Sponsored by Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), the Act has gained popularity between both parties and is considered a very important bipartisan piece of legislation urged by Congress to be signed by the President.
The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act is designed to make sure that the average American citizen can see where U.S. foreign aid is having the greatest impact, where we can do better and where we can learn valuable lessons that can be applied elsewhere.
It will require the President to issue guidelines that establish goals and evaluate plans for foreign assistance programs. The Act also requires the federal agencies administering and monitoring these foreign programs to publish detailed findings on a public dashboard found at www.foreignassiance.gov.
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. Representative Ed Royce advocated the bill’s passage on the House floor shortly before the vote. He said that the bill was meant to establish tough standards for monitoring and evaluation U.S. foreign aid agencies.
“It will ensure that the many Federal departments and agencies that implement these programs coordinate — rather than duplicate — their efforts and then apply the lessons learned. And it will require these agencies to publish foreign assistance on a consolidated website so we can better track investments against results,” Royce said in a press release by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
According to Royce, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act is the result of years of consultation and collaboration between Congress, experts and advocates. In 2015, a version of the Act passed the House of Representatives. The updated version that is now going to the President will require further accountability of government agencies and stricter adherence to foreign aid benchmarks.
“The Borgen Project applauds Congress for working together to make the passage of this bill a reality. This is an important step that will ensure greater transparency and accountability of U.S. foreign assistance programs and better allocate our limited foreign aid dollars to global communities in need,” said Kim Thelwell, Political Team Manager at The Borgen Project.
Another supporter of this piece of legislation is the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network known as MFAN. The organization noted that this new bill comes at an important time. With a new Administration and Congress being sworn in next year, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act will allow the progress that has been made in increasing the evaluation practices of our foreign aid to built upon and improved.
– Katie Grovatt