WASHINGTON, D.C. ñ Today, Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non-proliferation and Trade, and Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA)  introduced H.R. 2638, the bipartisan Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act. In the midst of difficult economic times and wasteful spending of American taxpayer dollars, this bill would strengthen transparency, monitoring and evaluation procedures of all foreign aid programs. Companion legislation is also being introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

Since the passage of the Foreign Assistance Act in 1961, foreign aid programs have spread across 12 departments, 25 agencies, and almost 60 federal offices. With many foreign aid programs without any monitoring and evaluation procedures in place, the programs donít have proper oversight or accountability. In 2011, the Administration launched ìThe Foreign Assistance Dashboard,î a public, online source designed for users to easily research foreign assistance investments. To this day, this site is still incomplete, failing to display the quality or quantity of information that was initially promised.

This bill addresses both of these issues.  First, it requires the President to establish and the heads of federal agencies to implement guidelines on measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation of plans for all foreign assistance programs. Second, it codifies what is being done through the Dashboard Initiative and increases transparency of foreign assistance information available to the public, such as country development, congressional budget justifications, actual expenditures, reports, and evaluations.

ìForeign aid has operated in the dark for far too long and transparency is long overdue,î said Chairman Poe. ìUnder the current system, taxpayer dollars are spent all over the world and no one really knows how efficient or effective that aid is. Lack of transparency and accountability have resulted in massive corruption and waste. There must be measureable goals and ways to monitor how successful the assistance really is. This legislation will finally bring transparency and accountability to the American foreign aid program.î

ìIf Americans are going to support foreign aid they need to have confidence that it works,î said Rep. Connolly. ìThe first important step is transparency."