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House Subcommittee Approves Bill Calling For Report On USAID’s Efforts To Address Haiti’s Cholera Outbreak

The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere on Thursday “approved by voice vote a bill (HR 1016) that would require the Obama administration to report to Congress within six months on the handling of U.S. funds for combating a cholera outbreak that occurred after last year’s earthquake in Haiti,” CQ reports. 

The bill calls for a report that would review USAID’s efforts to deal with Haiti’s cholera outbreak. The agency “has provided more than $45 million to the small island specifically for its cholera problem. The money, administration officials have noted, is aimed at improving water and sewer and public works infrastructure in the capital of Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas,” the news service notes. “Our goal is to make sure U.S. dollars are spent effectively,” said subcommittee Chair Connie Mack (R-Fla.). The legislation, which was sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), has bipartisan support, according to Mack (Mulero, 3/31).

Slate Examines USAID’s Decision to Suspend Large Contractor

“The sudden collapse of [the Academy for Educational Development or AED] startled the development community. One moment, USAID’s inspector general had been investigating reported mismanagement in AED projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan, two projects out of scores that AED managed for USAID. The next, AED was suspended based on ‘initial findings’ by the inspector general that weren’t being made public. Soon after that, AED was folding – and the inspector general hadn’t even released its report yet,” Slate reports in a piece looking at the developments before AED announced its dissolution and the development community’s reaction to the situation.

“It’s impossible to say definitively what happened until the inspector general’s report is released. … But members of the development community are voicing their disappointment with what they call USAID’s lack of transparency during the investigation,” Slate writes, adding, “The main complaint has been that USAID suspended AED without sufficient explanation. … Others argue that USAID should have known that suspending AED, a low-margin nonprofit that relies overwhelmingly on government funds, would be a death sentence.”

The publication notes, “Accident or not, AED’s collapse is just the latest chapter in the ongoing effort for better oversight of federal contractors” (Beam, 3/31).

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