Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced the “Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015,” legislation to establish guidelines for measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans for foreign aid programs and to increase transparency by codifying and increasing the amount of information posted online. Companion legislation is also being introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressmen Ted Poe (R-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA).
“Although it is less than 1 percent of our budget, foreign assistance plays an important role in advancing American interests in the world, but taxpayers have a right to see where and how American dollars are being used overseas,” Rubio said. “Foreign aid should be conditioned to advance our national interests and reflect our moral clarity as a nation. The programs we invest taxpayer dollars in must reinforce our alliances and support the spread of economic and political freedom around the world. Sharing more information about our assistance programs will provide much needed transparency and accountability to this useful foreign policy tool.”
“U.S. leadership on foreign development, aid programs, and economic assistance is the global gold standard making impactful and positive changes throughout the world,” said Cardin. “But we must always demand the highest standards of transparency and accountability to ensure our foreign assistance efforts are making the most positive and meaningful impact in the communities we assist. This legislation will establish common guidelines to evaluate our development programs in order to maximize efficiencies and ensure transparency, while fulfilling the highest standards of our foreign assistance responsibilities.”
“It is time to modernize and reform the outdated foreign aid program,” said Poe. “Under the current system, billions of taxpayer dollars are sent to a majority of the countries in the world, and no one really knows how efficient or effective that aid is. Implementing a system to evaluate the success (or failure) of each program will increase both learning and accountability, making the program stronger. It is also important for Americans to know exactly where their money is sent.”
“As a longtime proponent of foreign assistance who, as a staffer for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, helped write the last reauthorization of the Foreign Assistance Act, I appreciate the importance of accountability in our foreign aid programs,” Connolly said. “This bill will bring needed transparency to an often misunderstood part of the federal budget, which will in turn allow us to continue to grow our investment in stability and prosperity abroad.”
A PDF of the legislation is available here.