Monday, June 22, 2009

The Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009

On April 29, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Representative Howard Berman (D-CA- 28) and Representative Mark Kirk (R-IL-10) introduced H.R. 2139, the “Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009,” to increase political accountability of foreign assistance.

The bill directs President Obama to develop and execute a comprehensive national strategy to advance the U.S. foreign policy goal of furthering global development. It also acts as a precursor to a larger reform effort later this year, including a complete rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

The “Initiating Foreign Assistance Act of 1961” has four key sections. It requires the president to develop and implement a National Strategy for Global Development, which will define the roles of each department and agency involved in U.S. global development policies, programs and activities to make them more efficient. In order to monitor the effectiveness of U.S. foreign assistance, the bill also requires the president to set up a thorough evaluation system and provide transparency of the National strategy for both U.S. taxpayers and recipients of U.S. foreign assistance. Information on the planning, allocating, disbursement, contracting, monitoring and evaluating of foreign assistance will all be made publicly available. In addition, the national strategy will also identify objectives for U.S. development programs aiming to reduce poverty and fostering economic-growth in developing nations. Lastly, the bill repeals and reforms outdated provisions of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.

-- Jaimie Hwang

Read Complete Bill Information Here.