The House Appropriations Committee has published the bill and accompanying report (pdf) for State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development funding for the fiscal year that begins October 1. The report confirms what I reported before: $9 million is provided in this bill for “democracy assistance programs in
The Committee requires that the Administration provide “a spending plan and strategy for how these funds will be utilized” before the funds are used. Its report takes note of the 2006 GAO report on the U.S. Agency for International Development program, particularly its findings about insufficient “internal controls” over the funding, the way grants are awarded and monitored, and communication between the State Department and USAID that it describes as “ineffective and lacking with regard to grantees’ in-country activities.”
This amount and these conditions could change as the House and Senate work on this bill. But even if the Committee’s action remains unchanged, this is hardly an emergency for the program, or for
If aid to dissidents is the priority, $9 million is plenty of money, and submission of a spending plan is not an onerous condition.
What is new is that Congress is paying closer attention to the program and beginning to exercise routine oversight.