Senate Amendment to H.R. 3766, Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015

H.R. 3766

Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015

Sponsor
Rep. Ted Poe

Date
January 1, 1970 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Molly Newell

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, July 5, 2016 the House will consider the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3766, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015, under a suspension of the rules. H.R. 3766 was introduced on October 20, 2015, by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and was referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee which ordered the bill reported by Unanimous Consent on November 5, 2015. The House passed the bill by voice vote on December 8, 2015 followed by the Senate on June 28, 2016 with an amendment by Unanimous Consent.

 

Bill Summary

The Senate Amendment to H.R. 3766 would require the President, within 18 months of enactment, to issue guidelines establishing measurable goals, performance metrics, and plans for monitoring and evaluating United States foreign assistance. Within this time frame the President must also report to Congress on the guidelines. No later than 18 months after Congress receives this report, the Government Accountablty Office must submit a report to Congress as well, assessing the implemenation of the guidelines. The bill further requires the Department of State to make publically available on its foreignassistance.gov website information on U.S. foreign assistance programs for the purpose of transparency and accountability.

The major differences between the Senate Amendment and the House bill are:

  • The Senate Amendment provides the Government Accountablty Office an additional 6 months to report to Congress.
  • The Senate Amendment requires Agencies to post required information on the ForeignAssistance.gov website from FY 2015 through the current fiscal year, rather than from FY 2012 through the current fiscal year.
  • The Senate Amendment calls on the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development to coordinate the consolidation of processes and data collection for “ForeignAssistance.gov” and “Explorer.USAID.gov” no later than Fiscal Year 2018.
  • The Senate Amendment changes the definition of “covered assistance” to include assistance provided under the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement account and amends the title of the bill accordingly.

Background

U.S. foreign assistance “is aid given by the United States to other countries to support global peace, security, and development efforts, and provide humanitarian relief during times of crisis.”[1] The U.S. manages foreign assistance programs “in more than 100 countries around the world through the efforts of over 20 different U.S. Government agencies. These investments further America’s foreign policy interests on issues ranging from expanding free markets, combating extremism, ensuring stable democracies, and addressing the root causes of poverty, while simultaneously fostering global good will.”[2]

According to the bill’s sponsor, “It is time to modernize and reform the outdated foreign aid program. 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.”[3]

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[1] http://beta.foreignassistance.gov/
[2] Id.
[3] See Press Release, “Rubio, Cardin, Poe & Connolly Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Foreign Aid Reform Bill” Oct. 20, 2015

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that implementing H.R. 3766, as ordered reported by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, would cost less than $500,000 over the 2016 to 2020 period. Enacting H.R. 3766 would not affect direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact Molly Newell with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 2-1374.