A press release from Congressman Don Manzullo:
House Committee Approves Manzullo Amendment to Nix Wasteful $30 Million Foreign Aid Program
(WASHINGTON) The House Foreign Affairs Committee tonight approved a foreign aid bill that includes an amendment authored by Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Egan) to eliminate a wasteful and duplicative foreign aid “innovation” program that cost taxpayers $30 million last year. The committee unanimously accepted the Manzullo amendment.
The Development Innovation Ventures (DIV) program, created last year by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), provides grants up to $6 million – with a total annual budget of $30 million — to conduct research and development activities that promote “development outcomes.”
Recipients of these grants can be foreign governments and domestic or foreign individuals, companies, or non-government organizations.
Research by Manzullo’s office shows that the DIV duplicates existing work by
- the Energy Department,
- National Institutes of Health,
- Defense Department, and
- the private sector.
Some examples of taxpayer funds awarded through the DIV program last year include:
- A $100,000 grant to develop an affordable hydrogen fuel-cell bicycle called the E-Bike to be used in developing nations overseas. The technology behind the E-Bike already exists and has a number of private sector investors, including large multinational corporations. Furthermore, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $41.9 million to the Department of Energy for hydrogen fuel-cell research, including miniaturization and portability applications.
- A $99,992 grant to study the effectiveness of using cell phones to monitor election results in foreign countries.
- A $173,000 grant to study the use of smartphone technology to combat absenteeism in healthcare in India.
“It’s unconscionable that our government is spending $30 million in taxpayer money each year on these wasteful and duplicative projects that do nothing to create jobs and promote economic recovery in the United States, or even boost our national security.
“Furthermore, it is questionable whether the Development Innovation Program will even help improve the livelihood of those in the developing world, which is the core mission of USAID,” Manzullo said.
“I thank my colleagues for joining me tonight in eliminating this duplicative program as we continue our effort to cut wasteful spending, shrink the government, and ultimately reduce our deficit so we can improve our economy and help put Americans back to work.”