Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act (H.R. 3766).  The bipartisan legislation, introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), ensures that United States foreign assistance is efficient and effective.  Specifically, the legislation directs the President to establish guidelines for U.S. foreign development and economic assistance programs.  The legislation now heads to the President’s desk.

On the House floor prior to the vote, Chairman Royce delivered the following remarks (as prepared for delivery):

I rise in strong support of HR 3766, the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act.  I’d also like to thank Judge Ted Poe, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, for his years of dedication to this important issue.

Effective U.S. foreign assistance can help advance the diplomatic, economic, and national security interests of the United States. It can help support the growth of healthier, more stable societies; provide alternatives to extremism; combat global health threats; foster self-sufficiency; and open new markets to U.S. trade and investment. 

But it can also be wasted, as it has many times.

That’s why making U.S. foreign assistance as efficient and effective as possible has been a central focus of the Foreign Affairs Committee. This is no easy task.  There are more than 20 Federal departments and agencies delivering foreign aid.  Too many of them do not share our interest in transparency, accountability, and results. 

Too often, the importance of an agency is measured by the amount of resources it controls and not by its positive impact. Unfortunately, the success of initiatives are too often measured by “things delivered” – like bed nets – instead of “program outcomes” – like malaria infections averted and lives saved.  As long as our foreign aid agencies and organizations are allowed to operate beyond scrutiny, nothing will change.

Congress needs the tools to break down these barriers to effective aid. We need to help U.S. foreign aid agencies and organizations improve coordination, identify duplication, eliminate waste, and learn from experience.  This bill will help.

The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act will establish tough standards for monitoring and evaluation.  It will ensure that the many Federal departments and agencies that implement these programs coordinate – rather than duplicate – their efforts, and then apply the lessons learned.  And it will require these agencies to publish foreign assistance data on a consolidated website so we can better track investments against results. 

This bill is the result of years of consultation and collaboration between Congress, experts and advocates.  I want to again thank Judge Poe, as well as Representative Connolly, for their steadfast work and leadership in bringing this important measure before us today.

I urge Members to support this bill and get it to the President’s desk without further delay.