Berman proposes massive overhaul of U.S. foreign aid

Thumbnail image for berman-tv-grab.jpgRep. Howard Berman won't go out quietly after most of three decades in Congress, ending as a respected senior member of the House foreign affairs committee. Berman proposed on Wednesday a 923-page bill that would rewrite the way the United States hands out foreign aid around the world. From AP:

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....

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."

Berman lost his bid for reelection to fellow Democrat Rep. Brad Sherman after redistricting put them in the same Valley district.

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