House, Senate reintroduce foreign aid transparency bill

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The House version was introduced by Foreign Affairs panel members Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Gerry Connelly (D-Va.).

The bill would require the administration to update its fledgling Foreign Assistance Dashboard with detailed information about how such assistance is used by program and country. Relevant federal departments or agencies would be required to publish and update the dashboard quarterly with country assistance strategies, annual budget 
documents, budget obligations and expenditures, and evaluation reports for projects and programs.

It also mandates the administration to “establish goals, performance, and evaluation guidelines for US foreign assistance programs, country assistance plans, and international and multilateral assistance programs,” according to a summary. It would require federal agencies administering foreign aid to regularly monitor and evaluate these programs against specific metrics, as well as to publish the results of these evaluations online. 

Organizations that support foreign aid spending welcome the transparency legislation.

“Making all U.S. foreign assistance more transparent and accountable will help certify that money is used efficiently
 and justify to Congress and the American people the rationale for increased funding,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and co-chair of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN). “We stand a good chance of getting this legislation passed this year. The fact that it is a bipartisan initiative makes it particularly meaningful to members of Bread for
 the World.”

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