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NTU Writes in Support of H.R. 3159, the "Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012."
November 30, 2011
The Honorable Ted Poe United States House of Representatives 430 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Poe:
On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write in support of your bill, H.R. 3159, the “Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012.” Your legislation would bring accountability and transparency to the foreign aid process by requiring federal agencies to establish performance-evaluation guidelines for assistance programs and creating a user-friendly website to track how taxpayer money is being spent.
Increasingly complex global challenges, in combination with a proliferation of foreign aid programs have led to muddled objectives and poor results for America’s foreign assistance funding. According to an independent study commissioned by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), “Current monitoring and evaluation of most U.S. foreign assistance is uneven across agencies, focuses on outputs rather than outcomes and impact, lacks sufficient rigor, and does not produce the necessary analysis to inform strategic decision making.”
In an era of historically high deficits, it has never been more critical for Washington to ensure that Americans’ tax dollars are being spent wisely and only in furtherance of our foreign policy and security objectives. The Obama Administration has taken modest steps to introduce some level of accountability to these programs through the creation of a Foreign Assistance Dashboard and USAID’s formulation of a Monitoring and Evaluation policy. However, these approaches are limited in the number of aid-providing agencies they cover and the metrics they are meant to assess.
The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act would build upon this foundation by examining all of our foreign assistance investments and then creating an Internet-based hub to publicly display the information. This would be accomplished by creating measurable goals and a feedback loop to encourage continuous improvements. H.R. 3159 would also expand the Foreign Assistance Dashboard initiative to ensure all government agencies involved in foreign aid provide searchable information such as expenditures, congressional budget justifications, country assistance strategies, and program evaluations. This would not only add much-needed transparency for U.S. taxpayers, but would also provide foreign stakeholders with a powerful tool to fight corruption in their own countries.
In the current partisan climate, H.R. 3159 promises to eliminate wasteful spending and increase the effectiveness of our foreign aid programs – goals that should unite all lawmakers. NTU applauds the introduction of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act and encourages all Members to work toward its passage.
Sincerely,Brandon Greife Federal Government Affairs Manager
108 North Alfred Street Ø Alexandria, Virginia 22314 Ø Phone: (703) 683-5700 Ø Fax: (703) 683-5722 Ø Web: www.ntu.org