clear
Sunday May 3rd, 2015 5:51AM

Leading Democrat calls foreign aid system outmoded

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Soviet Union was the Cold War threat, Ian Fleming's creation James Bond was headed to the screen as Sean Connery in "Dr. No" and the U.S. established a new system for doling out foreign aid.

Fifty-one years later, a leading House Democrat closing out three decades in Congress says a new structure to provide U.S. assistance worldwide is long overdue, and he has a plan.

California Rep. Howard Berman, the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, unveiled a 923-page bill on Wednesday that would replace the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 with a framework for providing developmental and economic U.S. aid. Berman's Global Partnerships Act of 2012 would change the aid system to focus on mutually agreed goals instead of the emphasis on donor-recipient ties, increase accountability and oversight, and eliminate duplication.

It also would repeal 1961 provisions like the one that limits aid to countries "controlled by the international communist conspiracy."

Berman, who lost his re-election bid last month, said he didn't expect Congress to act on the measure in the closing days of the session, but hoped it would be a starting point in a future debate about foreign aid. He said he had spoken to his replacement on the committee, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and the panel's next chairman, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., about the legislation.

At a sometimes humorous Capitol Hill news conference, Berman made the case for the measure, offering up a top 12 list of reasons to coincide with the date - 12-12-12. He also jokingly apologized to late-night talk-show host David Letterman, famed for his top 10 lists.

One reason, Berman said, is "because if James Bond can adapt to the post-Cold War era, so can foreign aid." Another was "is there anyone who thinks that foreign aid is just fine the way it is?"

And in a bit of self-deprecation, Berman joked that his staff members needed something to put on their resumes "and so do I."

In a separate session with reporters, Berman said people were losing confidence in foreign aid, which accounts for about 1 percent of the federal budget or about $50 billion a year for the State Department and other international programs. He also said Congress is often driven by the latest crisis and the legislation would give lawmakers and the Obama administration a chance to step back and rethink the system.

"This is a chance to do something bigger," Berman said. "I hope it doesn't go in a dustbin."
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 2 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 2 years ago )
U.S. News
Couch names administrative team
Ahead of his scheduled swearing in Friday, Hall County Sheriff-elect Gerald Couch named his top administrative team Monday.
6:28PM ( 2 years ago )
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 2 years ago )
Hall Co. officials launch health-based initiative for employees
Hall County officials believe healthy county employees will be of greater service to the county. With that in mind, they have created a health-based fitness initiative to provide free fitness training for county workers.
5:46PM ( 2 years ago )
Local/State News
Ga. ethics legislation could end free tickets
General Assembly approval next year of a proposed ethics reform measure could endanger an important fall tradition for Georgia lawmakers - free football tickets.
6:26PM ( 2 years ago )
Abortion restrictions, tax changes loom in Ga.
Tax breaks for manufacturers and higher unemployment taxes for employers take effect with the new year in Georgia, but it remains to be seen whether the state's newest abortion restrictions will be enforced.
6:23PM ( 2 years ago )
Budget battle sends mixed signals on health care
Confused about the federal budget struggle? So are doctors, hospital administrators and other medical professionals who serve the 100 million Americans covered by Medicare and Medicaid.
6:20PM ( 2 years ago )
Politics
Obama again avoids calling 1915 Armenian killings 'genocide'
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will once again stop short of calling the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide, prompting anger and disappointment from those who have been pushing him to ful...
1:00PM ( 1 week ago )
Ex-NFL star Hernandez convicted of murder, sentenced to life
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for a deadly late-night shooting, sealing the d...
8:54PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Clinton kicks off 2016 campaign online, heads next to Iowa
WASHINGTON (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton jumped back into presidential politics on Sunday, making a much-awaited announcement she will again seek the White House with a promise to serve as the "champi...
7:56PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Hall, White, Jefferson schools recognized nationally for use of technology
Three school districts in northeast Georgia - Hall, White, and Jefferson - have received national recognition for their use use of innovative technologies. They earned top spots in the Center for Digital Education's and the National School Boards Association's 10th annual Digital School Districts Survey.
By Staff
1:00PM ( 2 weeks ago )
US Capitol lockdown lifted after man fatally shoots himself
WASHINGTON (AP) — A precautionary lockdown of the U.S. Capitol was lifted after about two hours Saturday following a suicide by a man carrying a protest sign.The man died after shooting himself on the...
6:15PM ( 3 weeks ago )