H.R. 3159: H.R. 3159, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012

H.R. 3159

H.R. 3159, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012

Rep. Ted Poe

December 30, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact

Floor Situation

On Sunday, December 30, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 3159, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012, as amended.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3159 requires the President to establish (and report to Congress on) guidelines for measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans that can be applied with reasonable consistency to all U.S. foreign development assistance, to increase the transparency and efficacy of such programs.  It also requires the creation and maintenance of a publicly available website containing comprehensive, timely, detailed information on U.S. foreign development assistance.  It allows the Administration to exclude from that website any sensitive information whose release would endanger implementers or beneficiaries, or hurt U.S. national interests.  (Any such excluded information must be provided to Congress.) 

It also requires two GAO reports: One on current monitoring and evaluation activities by federal agencies, and one on the content and implementation of the President’s guidelines after they are issued. In response to feedback from the Departments of State and Defense and other stakeholders, the suspension version has been narrowed to apply only to “United States foreign development assistance,” as defined in sec. 6(2).  The revised text does not apply to U.S. security assistance or other non-development accounts.


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.”


No estimate from CBO was available.