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ELCA Bishops Urge Congress to Sponsor Foreign Aid Reform Bill


May 28, 2009

ELCA Bishops Urge Congress to Sponsor Foreign Aid Reform Bill

WASHINGTON (ELCA) - Urging support for robust funding for
foreign aid programs, 59 of the 65 synod bishops of the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) signed a letter
calling on members of the U.S. Congress to co-sponsor the
Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009 (H.R. 2139). The
bipartisan bill is intended to refocus the U.S. government's
global development policies and programs to make them more
effective at addressing poverty and security.
In the May 14 letter distributed to the 465-member U.S.
House of Representatives, the bishops said "comprehensive reform
is critical in order to more effectively meet the growing needs
of those living in extreme poverty while ensuring global
The ELCA is one of several faith groups calling on
millions of their constituents to urge their U.S. representatives
to co-sponsor the bill. Nearly 50 Christian, Jewish and Muslim
organizations are working together to issue statements on U.S.
foreign assistance reform.
"Lutheran leaders understand the importance of U.S. foreign
aid because we have seen firsthand how it affects our brothers
and sisters in partner churches throughout the world," said the
Rev. Peter Rogness, bishop, ELCA St. Paul (Minn.) Area Synod, and
one of the signers. "Many individuals and communities that we
work with have experienced the lifesaving reality of U.S.
assistance," he said.
Every ELCA synod has an established relationship with at
least one global church partner.
Kimberly C. Stietz, director for international public
policy, ELCA Washington Office, said, "The Initiating Foreign
Assistance Reform Act is a critical first step toward
comprehensive reform of U.S. foreign aid. Comprehensive reform is
necessary to ensure sustainability and the building of local
capacities necessary to address the root causes of hunger and
The bishops stated that they were "acutely aware" of the
severe consequences global partners face during the economic
downturn. "A global development strategy will help ensure
taxpayer dollars are used effectively by eliminating duplication,
increasing coordination among U.S. government agencies
implementing foreign aid and requiring a more robust system of
monitoring and evaluation," the bishops wrote.
The bill would direct the U.S. president to develop and
implement a comprehensive national strategy for global
development, establish new guidelines for monitoring and
evaluating U.S. foreign assistance, and increase the transparency
for U.S. foreign assistance.

The text of the ELCA Bishop's joint letter and information
about Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act (H.R. 2139) is at on the ELCA Web site.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or
ELCA News Blog:

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