Foreign Assistance Act of 1961: Authorizations and Corresponding Appropriations (June 16, 2010)   [open pdf - 295KB]

"The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (P.L. 87-195; 22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.) serves as the cornerstone for the United States' foreign assistance policies and programs. Written, passed, and signed into law at what some consider the height of the Cold War, the Act is seen by some today as anachronistic. Ironically, when President Kennedy urged the 87th Congress to enact foreign aid legislation that would exemplify and advance the national interests and security strategies of the United States post-World War II, he described the existing foreign aid mechanisms as bureaucratic, fragmented, awkward, and slow. Some have used the same language today, nearly 50 years later, to characterize the legislation he promoted. The House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in the 111th Congress have set out to assess the current body of law that comprises foreign aid policy, starting with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Their goal is to rebuild the United States' capacity to deliver effective foreign aid, and make aid more transparent and responsive to today's quick-changing international challenges. To this end, the Senate has before it the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009 (S. 1524; S.Rept. 111-122), which would establish a Council on Research and Evaluation of Foreign Assistance to objectively evaluate the impact of U.S. foreign assistance programs and their contribution to policies, strategies, projects, program goals, and priorities undertaken by the United States in support of foreign policy objectives."

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CRS Report for Congress, R40089
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