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New Global Partnerships Act Aims to Modernize U.S. Foreign Assistance

Washington, DC, December 12, 2012

A bill that extensively reforms and modernizes the decades-old U.S. foreign assistance system was introduced today by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.).  The Global Partnerships Act of 2012 is the major rewrite of the Foreign Assistance Act originally passed in 1961 during Pres. John F. Kennedy’s term.

“We welcome Rep. Berman’s efforts to modernize U.S. foreign assistance,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World and co-chair of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network. “This has been long-awaited by Bread and the development community because it will make our aid more effective in meeting the challenges of the 21st century.”

The GPA seeks to modernize foreign aid efforts by reducing global poverty and alleviating human suffering, advancing peace and mitigating conflict, and supporting human rights and democracy. It aims to do this by building and reinforcing strategic partnerships, countering transnational threats, sustaining the global environment, and expanding prosperity through trade and investment.

“Regrettably, over the past few years we have witnessed an increasingly destructive and divisive assault on our foreign assistance program and on U.S. international engagement more broadly,” said Rep. Berman. “It is easy to find fault with the current system, but rather than taking cheap shots and mindlessly slashing programs, I believe it is incumbent upon us to find a responsible way to fix them.”

Rewriting and updating the Foreign Assistance Act has been a primary goal of Bread for the World and the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN). Rep. Berman’s legislation aims to guide future U.S. foreign assistance efforts, focusing heavily on country ownership, transparency, and accountability—principles for which both MFAN and Bread for the World have been strong advocates.

“We appreciate Rep. Berman consulting with the development community over the past three years in shaping this new legislation,” said Rev. Beckmann.  “Our hope is that a new champion in Congress will take his good work and expand the dialogue on reform in the next Congress.”

The full text of the document can be found on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ minority website at www.democrats.foreignaffairs.house.gov

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

Media Contact:

Fito Moreno, Interim Media Relations Manager, 202-688-1138


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