Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand foreign aid partnerships

Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand foreign aid partnerships
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Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Emissions heading toward pre-pandemic levels The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - What do Manchin and Sinema want? Warren, Daines introduce bill honoring 13 killed in Kabul attack MORE (D-Va.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioMilley says calls to China were 'perfectly within the duties' of his job Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right MORE (R-Fla.) on Wednesday introduced a bill to fund a Trump-era program designed to diversify the number of groups that partner with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

The bill would authorize $250 million for the next four years to fund the New Partnerships Initiative, which seeks to make it easier for new entities to receive foreign aid funds and implement programs.

“The New Partnerships Initiative was founded on the principle that greater diversity and competition among USAID’s local partner base would lead to better and more effective humanitarian work,” said Kaine. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation, which would help the agency build safer, healthier, and stronger communities around the world.”

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The initiative is one of a handful of USAID programs that have sought to change the way the agency does business, in this case reducing reliance on a select group of contractors.

"Ultimately, USAID needs to diversify its partners to be able to bring new innovation, bring in new ideas to confront development challenges worldwide," said Eddy Acevedo, who served as national security adviser to former USAID Administrator Mark GreenMark GreenA quick reaction force in India could prevent the worst of Taliban rule in Afghanistan Overnight Defense: Troops head back to Afghanistan to aid diplomatic evacuation Vaccine mandate poses major test for Pentagon chief MORE.

The bill would make it easier for new organizations to partner with USAID and require the agency's administrator to provide annual congressional reports on the initiative's performance.

"USAID is a lot of things, one of them is a procurement entity. And a lot of people forget about that. So anything that we can do to kind of make it easier and lower the burden for people to partner with USAID is a good thing," said Acevedo.

USAID is a key distributor of foreign aid, providing direct monetary assistance for everything from food programs to nongovernmental organizations and foreign civil society organizations.

“USAID plays an important role in our nation’s foreign policy initiatives,” said Rubio. “The bill would authorize USAID’s New Partnerships Initiative to allow smaller organizations to better assist local entities and make the agency more effective for America’s allies and partners.”