Foreign Aid Reform Needed ‘Quickly,’ Opinion Piece Says

“At a time when our national-security and foreign-policy priorities have become increasingly dependent on effective development,” political leaders “must act swiftly and put partisan politics aside in order to enact reforms that will make our foreign-aid programs more efficient, more effective and therefore more capable of supporting and advancing our national interests around the globe,” Mark Green – a former Republican congressman from Wisconsin and ambassador to Tanzania, who now directs the Malaria No More Policy Center – writes in a Washington Times opinion piece.

“Despite some initial positive steps by the Obama administration and Congress, a critical constituency is missing from the discussion: congressional conservatives,” Green writes. Although there has been “important progress,” U.S. foreign aid is “not as effective and supportive of our diplomacy and security efforts as it should be.” Although the “Foreign Relations committees in both the House and Senate have introduced reform bills that have gained some Republican support,” there is still “a long way to go,” according to Green. “The same leadership from conservatives that helped deliver millions of people in the developing world from poverty and disease over the last decade is needed to keep the foreign-aid reform effort focused on increasing accountability, eliminating waste and maximizing results,” he writes, adding that the Democrats should “run the reform process in an open and bipartisan way and keep it from becoming a debate over money and divisive social issues.”

He concludes that because “foreign-assistance reform is fundamentally” about making the U.S. “better at saving lives … [and] highlighting our leadership and compassion abroad, we have to get it right — and we have to do it quickly” (Green, 8/20).

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