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Public Statements

Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LUGAR. Mr. President, last week heads of state, key policymakers, and foreign aid implementers met in Washington to examine ``Frontiers in Development.'' It was my pleasure to provide the conference keynote address Monday in which I pressed for greater transparency in global financial transactions and investments. This includes both U.S. foreign assistance funding and payments that companies make to foreign governments for oil, natural gas and mineral developments. Fuller disclosure improves accountability to citizens of both our country and the recipient country and would set an important example for other countries to provide more clarity about their own foreign assistance programs. Transparency in energy and mineral payments is already required for U.S.-listed companies by law in the Cardin-Lugar provision of the Dodd-Frank Act, and thanks to American leadership, the European Union is preparing similar legislation. Now, it is timely to enact legislation requiring the U.S. to disclose where and for what purpose it provides foreign assistance dollars across the globe. Further, taxpayers and foreign aid recipients have a right to know the impacts of these funds.

That is why I am introducing The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act, which will require the President to disclose this information through a publicly accessible website in a timely manner.

The U.S. provides assistance through a host of federal agencies including the Departments of State, Defense and Agriculture, as well as agencies including the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, MCC. While our Federal budget is available for public review, there is currently no single source required by law where one can review in what amount and for what purpose U.S. dollars flow to individual countries and programs. President Obama early in his administration promised to bring more transparency to our international development programs. But so far, the efforts by the State Department, USAID, the MCC and others to display this information through the Foreign Assistance Dashboard have been inadequate. There is a meager amount of data on the Dashboard, and it is often woefully out of date.

My legislation is the identical version to that introduced earlier in this Congress by Congressman TED POE of Texas, which now has more than 50 House co-sponsors. I compliment Representative POE on the bill and appreciate the bipartisan support he has already garnered for it in the House. I look forward to working to enact the legislation in this Congress, bringing greater transparency and accountability to taxpayer funding of foreign assistance programs in a timely manner.

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