April 25, 2017

YOUNG PRESSES USAID TO IMPLEMENT IMPORTANT GAO REFORMS

Foreign Relations Committee Member Holds USAID Accountable on Food Assistance, Human Trafficking, and Fraud Reforms

Washington, D.C. - Continuing his oversight efforts related to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Senator Todd Young (R-IN) today sent a letter to USAID regarding Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendations that the agency has failed to adopt. These open recommendations relate to important topics such as international food assistance, human trafficking, fraud oversight, management challenges, and contingency contracting.

In the letter, Young wrote, "The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) plays an important role in promoting U.S. interests and values abroad. In order to ensure that USAID performs optimally and serves as a responsible steward of American tax dollars, USAID must constantly seek to improve operations and adopt sensible reforms."

In a March 22 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Young asked Mr. Gregory Gottlieb, Acting Assistant Administrator, Bureau of Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, about 53 Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendations that USAID has not adopted. Young asked USAID to provide an update on each of these GAO recommendations, as well as an adoption timeline for any recommendations that remained open. In the hearing, Young said, "I believe in the mission of the USAID and I want to continue to be a fulsome supporter of that mission. But for me to advocate on behalf of USAID, I need to ensure that you're the best possible steward of resources so that I can explain that support to my constituents."

Yesterday, Senator Young's office received a response from USAID that provided an update on each of the GAO recommendations but failed to provide an implementation timeline for open recommendations. In today's letter, Young asks USAID to provide the implementation timeline for each of the open recommendations.

The letter follows Senator Young's February 16, 2017, introduction of the bipartisan Department of State and United States Agency for International Development Accountability Act of 2017.

The text of today's letter is below:

Dear Mr. Gottlieb,

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) plays an important role in promoting U.S. interests and values abroad. In order to ensure that USAID performs optimally and serves as a responsible steward of American tax dollars, USAID must constantly seek to improve operations and adopt sensible reforms. In that spirit, I write to follow-up on our discussion during the March 22, 2017, Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

In that hearing, I asked you about the Government Accountability Office's (GAO) list of 53 recommendations and 12 priority recommendations for USAID that had not yet been implemented or fully implemented. Some of these open recommendations go back to the year 2013. In the hearing, I asked you to provide my office a detailed update regarding the status of all open GAO recommendations for USAID. I also asked you to provide an explanation for any recommendations USAID has decided not to adopt, as well as a timeline for the adoption of any open recommendations that USAID has decided to adopt. I appreciate that you committed in the hearing to complying with these requests.

On April 24, 2017, my office received USAID's response. I note that USAID has submitted closure requests to GAO for 11 GAO recommendations for which GAO had follow-up questions. I also note that USAID reports that 20 additional recommendations have not been implemented-including 9 with a target completion date in the future and 11 with a target completion date that has passed. Among other issues, these recommendations relate to important topics such as international food assistance, human trafficking, fraud oversight, management challenges, and contingency contracting.

While I appreciate the informative response, USAID did not provide a timeline for the adoption of the open recommendations. As you recall, you committed to doing so in the March 22 hearing. Based on this, I ask you to provide within two weeks an adoption timeline for the 20 recommendations that have not been implemented.

As the Senate Foreign Relations Committee fulfills its Constitutional oversight responsibilities, I look forward to working with you to ensure USAID operates as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Thank you for your distinguished service to our country.

Senator Todd Young