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Rep. Berman Unveils Discussion Draft Of Global Partnerships Act Of 2011 Aimed At Foreign Aid Reform

At an event on Thursday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, co-hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Brookings Institute, House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.) unveiled a discussion draft of the Global Partnerships Act of 2011, aimed at “reshap[ing] foreign assistance, making it more relevant ‘by incorporating the best practices and lessons learned over the last half century,'” he said, the Malaria Policy Center’s “Malaria Watch” blog reports (Todd, 9/9). Released as a draft instead of a numbered bill in order to spur discussion, the document covers “the full spectrum of foreign aid — development, democracy promotion, arms transfers and nuclear nonproliferation — but doesn’t include spending levels,” according to AEI’s “The Enterprise Blog” (Johnson, 9/8).

Foreign Policy’s blog “The Cable” reports that “[s]ome of the key reforms in the 813-page bill include: a new comprehensive system for evaluating and monitoring the success of foreign assistance programs, a rule that would peg USAID operating expenses to a percentage of program funds in order to limit dependence on contractors, and a requirement that comprehensive country strategies are developed with Congress’s participation and funded on a multi-year basis.” The blog writes, “In some ways, the bill adds implementation strategies for the broad goals set forth in the State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review [QDDR] released last December. But it also goes beyond the QDDR by speaking directly to Congress’s role in the process (which the QDDR doesn’t cover) and mandating stricter oversight” (Rogin, 9/8).

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