Foreign Assistance: USAID's Operating Expense Account Does Not Fully Reflect the Cost of Delivering Foreign Assistance

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Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Humanitarian and economic development assistance has long been an important component of U.S. global security strategy. Since 1962, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has managed more than $273 billion in such assistance. In fiscal year 2003, USAID estimates that it will obligate about $13 billion for assistance programs in almost 160 countries. In recent years, demands on USAID's budget and workforce have increased as the agency strives to meet emerging requirements, such as reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and increased funding for health programs. However, ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 30, 2003.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Humanitarian and economic development assistance has long been an important component of U.S. global security strategy. Since 1962, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has managed more than $273 billion in such assistance. In fiscal year 2003, USAID estimates that it will obligate about $13 billion for assistance programs in almost 160 countries. In recent years, demands on USAID's budget and workforce have increased as the agency strives to meet emerging requirements, such as reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq and increased funding for health programs. However, USAID officials have expressed concern that funds provided for its administrative or operating expenses have not kept pace with the agency's requirements. Since 1976, Congress has included a separate appropriation to consolidate USAID's operating expenses into a single budget item. Congress intended that USAID pay for the administrative costs of delivering foreign assistance (its "cost of doing business") from an operating expense account separate from its humanitarian and development assistance program funds. These operating expenses are costs incurred primarily for the benefit of the United States rather than the foreign assistance recipient. In accordance with congressional guidance, USAID reports all expenses related to the U.S. direct-hire staff as operating expenses and, based on its guidance on what constitutes the cost of doing business, other operating expenses--from rent to office utilities and supplies. In fiscal year 2003, USAID estimates that it will obligate $668 million for its operating expenses. We examined (1) trends in USAID's operating expenses since 1995 and (2) whether the charges to USAID's operating expenses account reflect the agency's actual cost of doing business."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 30, 2003

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Foreign Assistance: USAID's Operating Expense Account Does Not Fully Reflect the Cost of Delivering Foreign Assistance, text, September 30, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302086/: accessed January 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.