WASHINGTON, D.C.--Today, Reps. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Gerry Connolly (D-VA) released the following statement following the Senate passage of the bipartisan Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (HR 3766). HR 3766 first passed the House unanimously in December.  Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) sponsored the bill in the Senate. The amended version of the House bill passed the Senate today and the House is expected to take it up soon.

The “Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act” requires the President to establish guidelines on measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans for foreign aid programs. Secondly, it would increase aid transparency by codifying what is currently being done through the Foreign Assistance Dashboard and increasing the amount of information required to be posted online, including actual expenditures and evaluations.

Congressman Poe: “It is time to modernize and reform our outdated foreign aid system. For the first time in over 50 years, this bill requires our foreign aid to be rigorously evaluated. This bipartisan bill would increase public oversight over foreign aid by requiring federal agencies to show both where taxpayer money is spent around the world and how effective that aid is. Under the current system, billions of taxpayer dollars are sent to a majority of the countries in the world, but 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 accountability.  It is also important for Americans to know exactly where their money is sent, which is why the new transparency requirements in this bill are so important. The unanimous passage in the Senate today shows just how common sense this bill is. I look forward to the House quickly taking it up.”

Congressman Connolly: "I welcome the Senate’s passage of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act. Foreign assistance is a critical and necessary tool for protecting and proliferating democratic values. We need to expand, not disinvest, in our global leadership. 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. I look forward to moving quickly to consideration in the House of Representatives, which passed a version of the bill by voice vote in December.”

Senator Rubio: “Foreign assistance programs help us to advance American interests, reinforce our alliances and support the spread of economic and political freedom around the world, but we must remember that they are funded here at home by the American people, who have a right to know how and where their money is being spent. Not only will this act increase the amount of information that is shared regarding these programs, it will also help us to evaluate their efficiency and effectiveness, ensuring that American dollars are spent wisely.”

Senator Cardin: “The United States remains a generous leader on foreign development, aid programs and economic assistance worldwide. But with more than a dozen federal departments and agencies delivering U.S. foreign assistance, we must ensure the highest possible efficiency,  effectiveness, and transparency of our precious foreign assistance investments. The Senate’s passage of the Foreign Assistance Transparency and Accountability Act sends a clear message to the American taxpayer, as well as governments and civil society in developing countries,  that transparency and accountability are absolutely critical to the effectiveness of our foreign assistance programs. This information will not only enable American citizens to better understand our foreign assistance efforts, but will allow recipient countries to better include aid flows in their budgets and planning, and will provide NGOs, legislators and citizens in the developing world with the information they need to hold their governments accountable for the assistance they receive. Today’s Senate passage also takes us one step closer toward fulfilling our obligations under the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).”