Dear Mr. Townsend:
Thank you for contacting me regarding United States foreign assistance. It is a pleasure to hear from you on this important issue.
On June 11, 2008, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced H. Res. 1268, which expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that United States foreign assistance is a critical instrument for achieving our national security goals and that modernizing United States foreign assistance should become a national priority.
H.Res 1268 calls for the modernization of United States foreign aid practices to effectively meet 21st century global challenges, such as terrorism, poverty, pandemic disease, energy security, failed or failing states, food insecurity, a lack of or slow economic growth, and population and migration issues. Foreign aid is a primary means for America to bolster our own national security as we mitigate threats by strengthening democratic states around the world and protect the dignity and inalienable rights of the individual.
I share in your concerns that the United States must recognize its importance in the global community. Poverty and hunger are the terrible effects of both natural and man-made disasters, and we should act responsibly in response to them. However, providing foreign aid is not limited to simply funneling money into different projects and organizations. Many citizens in developing countries struggle with poverty and hunger due to the corruption of their governments or the lack of infrastructure to support aid programs to their nation.
We must be certain that all development assistance is protected by institutional safeguards to make sure that funds go to nations that are actively working to improve the social welfare of their citizens, are supporting open markets and economic growth, and are not controlled by corrupt government officials. We must be certain that the aid we provide is going to line the stomachs of the hungry and not the pocketbooks of the corrupt and powerful.
An important aspect of foreign aid concerns the protection of Children and vulnerable populations during international crises and conflicts. During times of natural disasters and military operations, civilians are regrettably but inescapably victims of the tumultuous times. Even the most careful military operation can result in the accidental harm to civilian livelihood. The United States, other nations, and many international organizations are vigilant in their protection of the vulnerable, and provide humanitarian aid and rehabilitation when possible.
H.Res. 1268 awaited action in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs until the end of the 110th Congress. Rest assured, if I have the opportunity to vote on related legislation in the 111th Congress, I will keep your concerns in mind.
Finally, I encourage you to visit my website at www.radanovich.house.gov to get the most current information on my work in Congress. Once again, thank you for contacting me. Please keep in touch.
It kind of seems like Radanovich is talking around the issues a wee bit here but at least he sent me a computer generated response.