Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, February 25, 2004

horizontal rule

Hyde Schedules First in Series of Hearings

Effectiveness of U.S. Foreign Assistance

Does U.S. Have Overall Strategy for Assistance Programs?
Hearing Scheduled Thursday, Feb., 26


BACKGROUND:  Laws governing U.S. foreign assistance programs have remained largely unchanged since 1961 when Congress enacted the Cold War-era Foreign Assistance Act.  The 2002 National Security Strategy articulates a new doctrine for our time preemptive action against enemies, and military and economic support for those who embrace freedom and democracy.  But with several notable exceptions (such as HIV/AIDS and the newly established Millennium Challenge Account), there appears to be little cohesion among the various programs of foreign assistance implemented by the Executive Branch. The national security strategy asserts that the 2001 terrorist attacks "taught us that weak states, like Afghanistan, can pose as great a danger to our national interests as strong states.  Poverty does not make poor people into terrorists and murderers.  Yet poverty, weak institutions, and corruption can make weak states vulnerable to terrorist networks and drug cartels within their borders."  Since September 11, 2001, 70 percent of Foreign Operations appropriations funding has gone for antiterrorism or Iraq/Afghanistan war-related purposes.  The events of September 11th  changed the world and our understanding of our role in it, including our foreign assistance program.  Foreign aid has differing objectives, and there are different standards for different recipients.  But is there an overall strategy that guides our efforts?  How do we measure results?   

WHAT: Full Committee oversight hearing, U.S. Foreign Assistance After September 11th:  Major Changes, Competing Purposes and Different Standards Is There an Overall Strategy?

WHEN: 11:00 a.m., Thursday, February 26, 2004

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: Helle Dale, Heritage Foundation;  Mary McClymont, InterAction; Patrick Cronin, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Lael Brainard, Brookings Institution; and Steven Radelet, Center for Global Development

 Questions expected to be raised during the hearing:

      What are, or should be, the current objectives of U.S. foreign assistance?  Is there an overall strategy that    directs U.S. foreign aid programs? 

     Is there a means of measuring the effectiveness of foreign aid, across the board?

     Is foreign aid provided on the basis of need, performance, or cooperation?  What are the standards? Under what circumstances should we provide foreign aid to enemies of America?

     Is foreign aid appropriate as a negotiating tool with rogue nations or totalitarian regimes like North Korea?

     Should there be a National Foreign Assistance Strategy?


Back to Press Page      Home