S. 3310 (112th): Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Nov 13, 2012 (Reported by Senate Committee).

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II

Calendar No. 538

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3310

[Report No. 112–233]

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 19, 2012

(for himself and Mr. Rubio) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

November 13, 2012

Reported by , with an amendment and an amendment to the title

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

A BILL

To direct the President, in consultation with the Department of State, United States Agency for International Development, Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Department of Defense, to establish guidelines for United States foreign assistance programs, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012.

2.

Guidelines for United States foreign assistance programs

(a)

Purpose

The purpose of this section is to evaluate the performance of United States foreign assistance programs and their contribution to policy, strategies, projects, program goals, and priorities undertaken by the Federal Government, to foster and promote innovative programs to improve the effectiveness of such programs, and to coordinate the monitoring and evaluation processes of Federal departments and agencies that administer such programs.

(b)

Establishment of guidelines

The President, in consultation with the Department of State, United States Agency for International Development, Millennium Challenge Corporation, and the Department of Defense, shall establish guidelines regarding the establishment of measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans that can be applied on a uniform basis to United States foreign assistance programs, country assistance plans, and international and multilateral assistance programs receiving financial assistance from the United States. Such guidelines shall be established according to best practices of monitoring and evaluation studies and analyses.

(c)

Objectives of guidelines

(1)

In general

Such guidelines shall provide direction to Federal departments and agencies that administer United States foreign assistance programs on how to develop the complete range of activities relating to the monitoring of resources, the evaluation of projects, the evaluation of program impacts, and analysis that is necessary for the identification of findings, generalizations that can be derived from those findings, and their applicability to proposed project and program design.

(2)

Objectives

Specifically, the guidelines shall provide direction on how to achieve the following objectives for monitoring and evaluation programs:

(A)

Building measurable goals, performance metrics and monitoring and evaluation into program design at the outset, including the provision of sufficient program resources to conduct monitoring and evaluation.

(B)

Disseminating guidelines for the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation programs to all personnel, especially in the field, who are responsible for the design, implementation and management of foreign assistance programs.

(C)

Developing a clearinghouse capacity for the dissemination of knowledge and lessons learned to United States development professionals, implementing partners, the international aid community, and aid recipient governments, and as a repository of knowledge on lessons learned.

(D)

Distributing evaluation reports internally and making this material available online to the public. Furthermore, providing a summary including a description of methods, key findings and recommendations to the public on-line in a fully searchable form within 90 days after the completion of the evaluation. Principled exceptions will be made in cases of classified or proprietary material.

(E)

Establishing annual monitoring and evaluation agendas and objectives that are responsive to policy and programmatic priorities.

(F)

Applying rigorous monitoring and evaluation methodologies, choosing from among a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative methods common in the field of social scientific inquiry.

(G)

Partnering with the academic community, implementing partners, and national and international institutions that have expertise in monitoring and evaluation and analysis when such partnerships will provide needed expertise or will significantly improve the evaluation and analysis.

(H)

Developing and implementing a training plan for aid personnel on the proper conduct of monitoring and evaluation programs.

(d)

Role of other Federal departments and agencies

The President shall carry out this section in conjunction with the heads of Federal departments and agencies that administer United States foreign assistance programs.

(e)

Report

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to Congress a report that contains a detailed description of the guidelines that have been developed on measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans for United States foreign assistance programs established under this section.

(f)

Evaluation defined

In this section, the term evaluation means, with respect to a United States foreign assistance program, the systematic collection and analysis of information about the characteristics and outcomes of the program and projects under the program as a basis for judgments, to improve effectiveness, and to inform decisions about current and future programming.

3.

Internet Web site to make publicly available comprehensive, timely, comparable, and accessible information on United States foreign assistance programs

(a)

Establishment; publication and updates

Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall establish and maintain an Internet Web site to make publicly available comprehensive, timely, comparable, and accessible information on United States foreign assistance programs. The head of each Federal department or agency that administers such programs shall on a regular basis publish and update on the Web site such information with respect to the programs of the department or agency.

(b)

Matters To be included

(1)

In general

Such information shall be published on a detailed program-by-program basis and country-by-country basis.

(2)

Types of information

To ensure transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of United States foreign assistance programs, the information shall include country assistance strategies, annual budget documents, congressional budget justifications, actual expenditures, and reports and evaluations for such programs and projects under such programs. Each type of information described in this paragraph shall be published on the Web site not later than 30 days after the date of issuance of the information and shall be continuously updated.

(3)

Report in lieu of inclusion

If the head of a Federal department or agency makes a determination that the inclusion of a required item of information on the Web site would jeopardize the health or security of an implementing partner or program beneficiary or would be detrimental to the national interests of the United States, such item of information may be submitted to Congress in a written report in lieu of including it on the Web site, along with the reasons for not including it in the database required under subsection (c)(2).

(c)

Scope of information

(1)

In general

The Web site shall contain such information relating to the current fiscal year and the immediately preceding 5 fiscal years.

(2)

Database

(A)

In general

Subject to subparagraph (B), the Web site shall also contain a link to a searchable database available to the public containing such information relating to fiscal years prior to the current fiscal year and the immediately preceding 5 fiscal years.

(B)

Limitation

The database shall not contain such information relating to fiscal years prior to fiscal year 2006.

(d)

Form

Such information shall be published on the Web site in unclassified form. Any information determined to be classified information may be submitted to Congress in classified form and an unclassified summary of such information shall be published on the Web site.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2012.

2.

Guidelines for United States foreign assistance programs

(a)

Purpose

The purpose of this section is to evaluate the performance of United States foreign assistance and its contribution to policy, strategies, projects, program goals, and priorities undertaken by the Federal Government, to foster and promote innovative programs to improve effectiveness, and to coordinate the monitoring and evaluation processes of Federal departments and agencies that administer foreign assistance.

(b)

Establishment of guidelines

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall establish guidelines regarding the establishment of measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans that can be applied on a uniform basis to United States foreign assistance. Such guidelines shall be established according to best practices of monitoring and evaluation studies and analyses.

(c)

Objectives of guidelines

(1)

In general

The guidelines established under subsection (b) shall provide direction to Federal departments and agencies that administer United States foreign assistance on how to develop the complete range of activities relating to the monitoring of resources, the evaluation of projects, the evaluation of program impacts, and analysis that is necessary for the identification of findings, generalizations that can be derived from those findings, and their applicability to proposed project and program design.

(2)

Objectives

Specifically, the guidelines shall provide direction on how to achieve the following objectives for monitoring and evaluation programs:

(A)

Building measurable goals, performance metrics and monitoring and evaluation into program design at the outset, including the provision of sufficient program resources to conduct monitoring and evaluation.

(B)

Disseminating guidelines for the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation programs to all personnel, especially in the field, who are responsible for the design, implementation and management of foreign assistance programs.

(C)

Developing a clearinghouse capacity for the dissemination of knowledge and lessons learned to United States development professionals, implementing partners, the international aid community, and aid recipient governments, and as a repository of knowledge on lessons learned.

(D)

Distributing evaluation reports internally and making this material available online to the public. Furthermore, providing a summary including a description of methods, key findings and recommendations to the public on-line in a fully searchable form within 90 days after the completion of the evaluation. Principled exceptions will be made in cases of classified or proprietary material.

(E)

Establishing annual monitoring and evaluation agendas and objectives that are responsive to policy and programmatic priorities.

(F)

Applying rigorous monitoring and evaluation methodologies, choosing from among a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative methods common in the field of social scientific inquiry.

(G)

Partnering with the academic community, implementing partners, and national and international institutions that have expertise in monitoring and evaluation and analysis when such partnerships will provide needed expertise or will significantly improve the evaluation and analysis.

(H)

Developing and implementing a training plan for aid personnel on the proper conduct of monitoring and evaluation programs.

(d)

Implementation of guidelines

Beginning not later than one year after the date on which the President establishes the guidelines under subsection (b), the head of each Federal department or agency that administers United States foreign assistance shall administer the foreign assistance in accordance with the guidelines.

(e)

Report

Not later than one year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to Congress a report that contains a detailed description of the guidelines that have been developed on measurable goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans for United States foreign assistance programs established under this section.

(f)

Evaluation defined

In this section, the term evaluation means, with respect to a United States foreign assistance program, the systematic collection and analysis of information about the characteristics and outcomes of the program and projects under the program as a basis for judgments, to improve effectiveness, and to inform decisions about current and future programming.

3.

Internet Web site to make publicly available comprehensive, timely, comparable, and accessible information on United States foreign assistance programs

(a)

Establishment; publication and updates

Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall direct the Secretary of State to establish and maintain an Internet website to make publicly available comprehensive, timely, comparable, and accessible information on United States foreign assistance programs. The head of each Federal department or agency that administers United States foreign assistance shall, not later than three years after the date of the enactment of this Act, publish and on a quarterly basis update on an Internet website such information with respect to the programs of the department or agency.

(b)

Matters To be included

(1)

In general

Such information shall be published on a detailed program-by-program basis and country-by-country basis.

(2)

Types of information

To ensure transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of United States foreign assistance programs, the information shall include country assistance strategies, annual budget documents, congressional budget justifications, obligations, expenditures, and reports and evaluations for United States foreign assistance programs and projects under such programs. Each type of information described in this paragraph shall be published or updated on the Internet website not later than 90 days after the date of issuance of the information.

(3)

Report in lieu of inclusion

If the head of a Federal department or agency makes a determination that the inclusion of a required item of information on the Internet website would jeopardize the health or security of an implementing partner or program beneficiary or would be detrimental to the national interests of the United States, the head of the Federal department or agency may provide briefings to Congress on the item of information or submit to Congress the item of information in a written report in lieu of including it on the Internet website, along with the reasons for not including it in the database required under this section.

(c)

Scope of information

(1)

In general

The Internet website shall contain the information described in subsection (b) as follows:

(A)

For fiscal year 2013, the information relating to such fiscal year and each of the immediately preceding 2 fiscal years.

(B)

For fiscal year 2014, the information relating to such fiscal year and each of the immediately preceding 3 fiscal years.

(C)

For fiscal year 2015, the information relating to such fiscal year and each of the immediately preceding 4 fiscal years.

(D)

For fiscal year 2016, the information relating to such fiscal year and each of the immediately preceding 5 fiscal years.

(2)

Older information

For fiscal year 2017 and each fiscal year thereafter, the Internet website shall also contain a link to a searchable database available to the public containing information described in subsection (b) relating to fiscal years prior to the immediately preceding 5 fiscal years but subsequent to fiscal year 2010.

(d)

Form

The information required under subsection (b) shall be published on the Internet website in unclassified form. Any information determined to be classified or particularly sensitive information may be submitted to Congress in classified form. An unclassified summary of such information shall be published on the Internet website unless the head of the Federal department or agency, in consultation with the appropriate congressional committees, determines that such publication would have a detrimental effect on national security.

4.

Offset

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of State and the head of each other Federal department or agency that administers United States foreign assistance, in consultation with the appropriate congressional committees, shall—

(1)

eliminate such initiatives, positions, and programs within the Department of State or such other department or agency that are not otherwise required by law as the Secretary or the head of such other department or agency determines to be necessary to entirely offset any and all costs incurred to carry out the provisions of this Act with respect to the Department of State or such other department or agency;

(2)

ensure no net increases in personnel are added to carry out the provisions of this Act, with any new full or part time employees ore equivalents offset by eliminating an equivalent number of existing staff; and

(3)

report to Congress not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act the actions taken to ensure compliance with paragraphs (1) and (2), including the specific initiatives, positions, and programs within the Department of State or such other department or agency that have been eliminated to ensure that the costs of carrying out this Act will be offset.

5.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Appropriate congressional committees

The term appropriate congressional committees means—

(A)

the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate; and

(B)

the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives.

(2)

United States foreign assistance

The term United States foreign assistance has the meaning given the term foreign assistance in section 634(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2394 (b)).

Amend the title so as to read: A bill to direct the President to establish guidelines for United States foreign assistance, and for other purposes..

November 13, 2012

Reported with an amendment and an amendment to the title