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Committee News

Howard Berman Unveils Landmark Foreign Assistance Reform Legislation

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Howard L. Berman, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the Global Partnerships Act of 2012, a landmark bill intended to reform the U.S. foreign aid system.

The nearly 1000-page legislation represents the culmination of nearly five years of work that began when Berman assumed the chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in 2008.

“This legislation sets forth a comprehensive framework for advancing American interests by working in cooperation with other countries to make our world a better, safer place,” said Berman. “The most fundamental change that this bill makes is transforming the donor – recipient relationship to one of equal partners working toward mutually agreed upon and beneficial goals.”

The GPA replaces both the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which covers economic, and development assistance, and the Arms Export Control Act, which deals with arms sales and military aid.

Key reforms of the Global Partnerships Actinclude: increasing effectiveness of foreign assistance, strengthening accountability and oversight, eliminating duplication and waste, slashing red tape, improving transparency, making aid more efficient, and leveraging private investments.

The legislation encompasses seven basic purposes of foreign assistance, each with its own title of the bill:

Title I: Reducing Global Poverty and Alleviating Human Suffering
Title II: Advancing Peace and Mitigating Conflict
Title III: Supporting Human Rights and Democracy
Title IV: Building and Reinforcing Strategic Partnerships
Title V: Countering Transnational Threats
Title VI: Sustaining the Global Environment
Title VII: Expanding Prosperity through Trade and Investment

Additional titles provide for strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation, and reporting; policy restrictions and special authorities; organization, management and human resources; and amendments and repeals.

The legislation was introduced at a Wednesday press conference with representatives from NGOs and other organizations working to modernize foreign assistance programs.

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