U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised committee passage of his bill, S. 1271, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2013. Introduced with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), this legislation requires regular evaluations of foreign assistance programs to be made publicly available to the American people.
"Foreign aid makes up approximately one percent of the federal budget but this small investment has the power to radically transform lives," said Senator Cardin. "The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act will allow American citizens to better understand our foreign assistance efforts and ensure that every dollar of our scarce foreign assistance dollars is used in the most effective and efficient way possible."
The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2013 directs the President to establish goals, performance, and evaluation guidelines for U.S. foreign assistance programs, country assistance plans, and international and multilateral assistance programs. It builds upon previous efforts by including specific measurement guidelines from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the American Evaluation Association (AEA).
The bill requires federal agencies administering foreign aid to regularly monitor and evaluate these programs against specific metrics, as well as to publish the results of these evaluations online. If enacted, the bill would give federal agencies up to two years to fully comply with a mandate to post semi-annual reports on their management of any foreign aid funds. It also mandates biennial reports from the GAO on the different agencies' implementation of the bill. The bill also recommends that Congress take into account these reports when appropriating funds for federal agencies administering foreign aid programs.