Politics of Poverty

Think Congress can’t move fast? Think again!

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The House Committee on Foreign Affairs is not wasting any time taking up foreign aid transparency legislation.

David Saldivar is the Aid Effectiveness Policy and Advocacy Manager at Oxfam America.

Last week we cheered the reintroduction of the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2015 (H.R. 3766), a key piece of legislation that will make US foreign aid more accountable to US taxpayers and more open to citizens watchdog groups, media, and government partners around the world.  We were hoping Congress would act fast on the bill, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee did not disappoint—the bill is being marked up in committee today.  We congratulate sponsors Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) and Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA), as well as Chairman Royce and House leadership for not wasting any time in moving this important bill.  There’s no reason why this legislation, which has passed the House with flying colors two times over, shouldn’t find an equally clear path this time around; and we see this quick action as a good sign for the bill’s prospects in the House.

That said, the hitch last time came in the Senate.  We know sponsors Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) are equally committed to getting this bill done, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) is also well-versed in how this legislation will help ensure that US foreign aid delivers the best return on investment, in line with recipient country priorities.  We’re optimistic that the third time will be the charm.  Nevertheless, now’s the time for effective aid supporters from both sides of the aisle in Congress to rally behind the House and Senate sponsors and push this bill over the finish line.  It’s fun to cheer positive action in Congress!  Let’s make sure we have the opportunity to do more of it.

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