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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 16, 2016.
(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the Senate on July 5, 2016. The summary of that version is repeated here.)
Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2016
(Sec. 2) This bill defines "covered U.S. foreign assistance" as assistance authorized under:
part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (development assistance), except for title IV of chapter 2 (relating to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation), and chapter 3 (relating to International Organizations and Programs); chapter 4 of part II of such Act (Economic Support Fund); the Millennium Challenge Act of 2003; and the Food for Peace Act. (Sec. 3) The President shall within 18 months prescribe guidelines for establishment of goals, performance metrics, and monitoring and evaluation plans for covered U.S. foreign assistance.
The guidelines shall direct federal departments and agencies that administer such assistance on how to:
establish annual monitoring and evaluation agendas and objectives; develop specific project monitoring and evaluation plans; apply monitoring and evaluation methodologies to covered U.S. foreign assistance programs; disseminate guidelines for the development and implementation of monitoring and evaluation programs to all personnel responsible for program design, implementation, and management of covered U.S. foreign assistance programs; establish data collection methodologies; evaluate, at least once in their lifetime, all programs whose dollar value equals or exceeds the median program size for the relevant office or bureau; develop a clearinghouse capacity for the collection and dissemination of knowledge and lessons learned that serve as benchmarks for future programs; distribute evaluation reports internally; publicly report evaluations and related recommendations; undertake collaborative partnerships and coordinate efforts with academic, national and international institutions; make verifiable and timely data available to monitoring and evaluation personnel; and ensure that standards of professional evaluation organizations for monitoring and evaluation efforts are employed. The President shall within 18 months give Congress a detailed description of these guidelines.
The Government Accountability Office shall analyze the guidelines and assess their implementation by the appropriate agencies, bureaus, and offices.
(Sec. 4) The Department of State shall within 90 days update its Internet website, ForeignAssistance.gov, to make publicly available comprehensive and accessible information on covered U.S. foreign assistance programs.
The head of each federal department or agency that administers such assistance shall give the State Department comprehensive program information each quarter.
Assistance program information shall be published: (1) on an award-by-award and country-by-country basis, or (2) on an award-by-award and region-by-region basis if provided on a regional level.
Such information shall include: (1) links to all regional, country, and sector assistance strategies, annual budget documents, congressional budget justifications, and evaluations; (2) basic descriptive summaries for foreign development and economic assistance programs and awards under such programs; and (3) obligations and expenditures.
If a federal department or agency determines that the inclusion of a required item of information online would jeopardize the health or security of an implementing partner or program beneficiary, or would require the release of proprietary information, it shall give Congress that determination in writing.
If the State Department determines that online inclusion of a required item of information would be detrimental to U.S. national interests, it shall also give Congress that determination in writing.
The bill expresses the sense of Congress that the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should, by the end of FY2018, coordinate data collection consolidation for the State Department's website, ForeignAssistance.gov, and USAID's website, Explorer.USAID.gov.