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house Bill H.R. 3766

Does the Executive Branch Need to be More Transparent About Foreign Aid?

Argument in favor

The State Dept. and federal agencies that offer foreign aid need to be accountable for where that funding goes so the public can rest assured it's not being wasted.

BTSundra's Opinion
···
02/06/2016
No more lying and hiding. We need as much transparency as possible.
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mcgovea's Opinion
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07/05/2016
This bill is not about transparency, it's about metrics. Budgets are already pretty transparent, but there are no standards for targets and goals. Non-governmental charities have already been emphasizing efficacy and measurement as a way to understand and maximize their impact. They aim to address the question: how do you know how well you're doing unless you look? This same approach should apply to governmental aid. This bill creates guidelines for goal setting, measurement, and reporting to understand and track the efficacy of foreign aid. That is an obvious win.
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Loraki's Opinion
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07/09/2016
The Executive Branch definitely needs to be more transparent about (almost) EVERYTHING (keeping in mind that old caveat, "Loose lips sink ships!")! The Obama Administration is the LEAST TRANSPARENT administration in the last 70 years, as far as I can remember. And the least CREDIBLE! Congress needs to demand much more transparency and accountability, although it is rather late in the game for the current POTUS. Such demands, moreover, need to be backed up by exercising the POWER OF THE PURSE! That means that the American people need to hold their MEMBERS OF CONGRESS fully accountable, as well! We MUST remind them that they are answerable to "We the People"! RESTORE THE BALANCE OF POWER! As for foreign aid, WE CANNOT AFFORD IT! Obama has seen to that! And God help us, if we elect Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or some other socialist/globalist!!! That $19.1 TRILLION debt is accruing interest, meanwhile. . . .
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Argument opposed

Federal agencies that provide foreign aid, including the State Department, are already transparent about how that funding is spent.

Zachary's Opinion
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07/05/2016
I fail to see how yet another reporting requirement would improve anything; this information is already available to the public. This smacks of drumming up more uninformed and misplaced outrage at the minuscule amount of taxpayer money spent on foreign aid. It's just another layer of bureaucracy that would make an under-funded/staffed agency even less efficient.
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Scott's Opinion
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12/10/2015
This is nonsense. The public can do a google search and find out exactly how, where, and when, foreign aid is spent. This is just more anti government nonsense.
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singinghawk926's Opinion
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07/05/2016
There is a 17-page document accessible on the website of USAID that outlines the reporting requirements for all recipients of aid through that federal program -- reports are expected quarterly. In addition, the State Department prepares another huge document detailing foreign aid disbursements and their uses, including all USAID money, which is private not government sourced. These documents are readily available online. I fail to see why a bill needs to be passed in Congress to demand reporting that is already being done openly and transparently.
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Bill Details

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Title

Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016

Official Title

A bill to direct the President to establish guidelines for covered United States foreign assistance programs, and for other purposes.

Summary

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate on July 5, 2016. The summary of that version is repeated here.) Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016 (Sec. 2) This bill defines "covered U.S. foreign assistance" as assistance authorized under: part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (development assistance), except for title IV of chapter 2 (relating to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation), and chapter 3 (relating to International Organizations and Programs); chapter 4 of part II of such Act (Economic Support Fund); the Millennium Challenge Act of 2003; and the Food for Peace Act. (Sec. 3) The President shall within 18 months prescribe guidelines for establishment of goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans for covered U.S. foreign assistance. The guidelines shall direct federal departments and agencies that administer such assistance on how to: establish annual monitoring and evaluation agendas and objectives; develop specific project monitoring and evaluation plans; apply monitoring and evaluation methodologies to covered U.S. foreign assistance programs; disseminate guidelines for the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation programs to all personnel responsible for program design, implementation, and management of covered U.S. foreign assistance programs; establish data collection methodologies; evaluate, at least once in their lifetime, all programs whose dollar value equals or exceeds the median program size for the relevant office or bureau; develop a clearinghouse capacity for the collection and dissemination of knowledge and lessons learned that serve as benchmarks for future programs; distribute evaluation reports internally; publicly report evaluations and related recommendations; undertake collaborative partnerships and coordinate efforts with academic, national and international institutions; make verifiable and timely data available to monitoring and evaluation personnel; and ensure that standards of professional evaluation organizations for monitoring and evaluation efforts are employed. The President shall within 18 months give Congress a detailed description of these guidelines. The Government Accountability Office shall analyze the guidelines and assess their implementation by the appropriate agencies, bureaus, and offices. (Sec. 4) The Department of State shall within 90 days update its Internet website, ForeignAssistance.gov, to make publicly available comprehensive and accessible information on covered U.S. foreign assistance programs. The head of each federal department or agency that administers such assistance shall give the State Department comprehensive program information each quarter. Assistance program information shall be published: (1) on an award-by-award and country-by-country basis, or (2) on an award-by-award and region-by-region basis if provided on a regional level. Such information shall include: (1) links to all regional, country, and sector assistance strategies, annual budget documents, congressional budget justifications, and evaluations; (2) basic descriptive summaries for foreign development and economic assistance programs and awards under such programs; and (3) obligations and expenditures. If a federal department or agency determines that the inclusion of a required item of information online would jeopardize the health or security of an implementing partner or program beneficiary, or would require the release of proprietary information, it shall give Congress that determination in writing. If the State Department determines that online inclusion of a required item of information would be detrimental to U.S. national interests, it shall also give Congress that determination in writing. The bill expresses the sense of Congress that the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should, by the end of FY2018, coordinate data collection consolidation for the State Department's website, ForeignAssistance.gov, and USAID's website, Explorer.USAID.gov.

bill Progress


  • EnactedJuly 15th, 2016
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed June 28th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
  • The house Passed December 8th, 2015
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedOctober 20th, 2015

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    No more lying and hiding. We need as much transparency as possible.
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    I fail to see how yet another reporting requirement would improve anything; this information is already available to the public. This smacks of drumming up more uninformed and misplaced outrage at the minuscule amount of taxpayer money spent on foreign aid. It's just another layer of bureaucracy that would make an under-funded/staffed agency even less efficient.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill is not about transparency, it's about metrics. Budgets are already pretty transparent, but there are no standards for targets and goals. Non-governmental charities have already been emphasizing efficacy and measurement as a way to understand and maximize their impact. They aim to address the question: how do you know how well you're doing unless you look? This same approach should apply to governmental aid. This bill creates guidelines for goal setting, measurement, and reporting to understand and track the efficacy of foreign aid. That is an obvious win.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    This is nonsense. The public can do a google search and find out exactly how, where, and when, foreign aid is spent. This is just more anti government nonsense.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    When it comes to the federal government giving aid to foreign countries, there is no reason why the public should not know where funds are actually going.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    The Executive Branch definitely needs to be more transparent about (almost) EVERYTHING (keeping in mind that old caveat, "Loose lips sink ships!")! The Obama Administration is the LEAST TRANSPARENT administration in the last 70 years, as far as I can remember. And the least CREDIBLE! Congress needs to demand much more transparency and accountability, although it is rather late in the game for the current POTUS. Such demands, moreover, need to be backed up by exercising the POWER OF THE PURSE! That means that the American people need to hold their MEMBERS OF CONGRESS fully accountable, as well! We MUST remind them that they are answerable to "We the People"! RESTORE THE BALANCE OF POWER! As for foreign aid, WE CANNOT AFFORD IT! Obama has seen to that! And God help us, if we elect Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or some other socialist/globalist!!! That $19.1 TRILLION debt is accruing interest, meanwhile. . . .
    Like (4)
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    Don't we have three branches of government? Has anybody else noticed how many times "executive branch" has been mentioned when it comes to decision-making? What's going on here?????????
    Like (3)
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    There is a 17-page document accessible on the website of USAID that outlines the reporting requirements for all recipients of aid through that federal program -- reports are expected quarterly. In addition, the State Department prepares another huge document detailing foreign aid disbursements and their uses, including all USAID money, which is private not government sourced. These documents are readily available online. I fail to see why a bill needs to be passed in Congress to demand reporting that is already being done openly and transparently.
    Like (3)
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    Transparency is an essential part of maintaining accountability in government
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    Transparent? Even translucent would be a huge improvement! How about NO handouts to non-citizens!
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    Every dime stolen from citizens must be given a report of who what when where why and how. This must also be made public.
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    When we have government that is of the people, for the people, and by the people, then people deserve to know where their money goes. We are paying the Executive branch to perform a function, and how are we supposed to make changes if we don't know what's going on in the first place? Transparency is of the utmost importance.
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    There shouldn't be any foreign aid. We're bankrupt. Why do we always have to serve others? They will never learn on their own when money keeps coming in. Plus most of our aid goes to the political elites for partying.
    Like (2)
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    Transparency could improve in almost all areas of government. Unless it is a matter of security, all government policies should be 100% transparent without exception.
    Like (2)
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    Transparency is the root of trust. The executive branch often forgets who they work for. Our nations government has struggled through some difficult times as late, and trust that the peoples wishes are not being represented
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    Those currently in power seem to want everything about our society to be open, except of course for their own books. However, since this is the "most transparent administration in history", I'm sure the President will sign this bill post haste;) Considering the complicated entanglements involving the former Secretary and her family's foundation, I'd say more transparency is sorely needed.
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    The fact that people actually think this bill means anything is scary. Don't be stupid... they keep secrets... we have no idea. They steal from us everyday. They slowly whittle away at our rights and they throw our money down the drain. They literally lie to our face about employment rates. So don't be stupid.
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    We can always do more to increase transparency and we always should do more
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    Could be a potential national security risk.
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    What part of it is cloaked in mystery now?
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