Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand foreign aid partnerships

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Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (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.”

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 Green.

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.”

Tags Foreign Aid government contractors Marco Rubio Mark Green Tim Kaine USAID

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