U.S. Senate Takes on Foreign Aid Transparency
On November 14, the U.S. Foreign Relations Committee approved the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act introduced by Senators Cardin (D-MD) and Rubio (R-FL). The bill aims to promote foreign aid transparency by monitoring and disclosing program data to the government. This effort has been widely supported among Congress, but some government agencies are worried that the evaluation process will harm security sensitive sector assistance programs.
The Foreign Relations Committee has addressed this issue by revising the bill to allow sensitive programs to be exempt as long as the government is still making an effort to increase foreign aid transparency. Now that the bill has passed the committee, it will be brought onto the floor of the Senate for a vote.
Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) has introduced a similar bill, H.R. 2638, in the House Foreign Relations Committee. This bill is expected to pass as well as Representative Poe has proposed a similar bill in the past that passed unanimously.
This bill has received support from various organizations including The Borgen Project and U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC). Liz Schrayer, executive director of the USGLC, praised Senators Cardin and Rubio for proposing a bill that “builds on the important reforms being undertaken by USAID and those modeled by the Millennium Challenge Corporation to ensure the highest standards for transparency and results from international affairs programs.” The Senate bill will be brought to the floor soon and is expected to pass.
– Lienna Feleke-Eshete