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Rep. Howard Berman Proposes U.S. Foreign Assistance Reform Legislation

Today, Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, released a draft of the Global Partnerships Act of 2011 for public discussion in a presentation at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research in Washington, DC. The draft legislation is the first step in reforming the 50-year-old Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. (Watch video of Rep. Berman's remarks above.)

“Rep. Berman’s draft proposal serves as the foundation for building a consensus in Congress on how to modernize U.S. foreign aid,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “Members on both sides of the aisle have expressed interest in reforming and modernizing the system, and this proposal provides an excellent place to begin the discussion.”

Current U.S. foreign aid policy is more than 50 years old. It was created during the Cold War to address problems of the 20th century, but poor planning, lack of oversight, and unpredictable funding have left the current system unable to meet 21st–century challenges. The Global Partnerships Act of 2011 would make foreign assistance more efficient, more effective, and better at serving America’s interests abroad.

“Moving this legislation through Congress will be tough, but there is little disagreement that the current system needs to be fixed,” added Beckmann. “Responsible foreign assistance reform is a far better alternative to cuts to poverty-focused aid that some have proposed. Cutting funds without fixing the underlying problems would make things worse.”

The draft bill hopes to:

  • Reduce global poverty and alleviate human suffering
  • Advance peace and mitigate conflict
  • Support human rights and democracy
  • Build and reinforce strategic partnerships
  • Counter transnational threats
  • Sustain the global environment
  • Expand prosperity through trade and investment

+Continue reading the Bread Blog to stay up-to-date on this important legislation.


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