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The Democracy Program Essay

A bill was introduced in April 1967 by Congressman Dante Fascell (D,FL) to create an institute of International Affairs. And although the bill did not pass it led to discussions on Capitol Hill to establish an institution in which democracy efforts abroad would benefit the U. S. as well as countries struggling for freedom and self- government. In a 1982 speech at the Palace of Westminster, President Ronald Reagan proposed an initiative, before the British Parliament, “to foster the infrastructure of democracy—the system of a free press, unions, political parties, universities.

The U. S. government, through USAID (United States Agency for International Development), contracted The American Political Foundation to study democracy promotion, which became known as “The Democracy Program. ” The Program recommended the creation of a bipartisan, private, non-profit corporation to be known as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). NED, though non-governmental, would be funded primarily through annual appropriations from the U. S. government and subject to congressional oversight. 3] The State Department and United States Information Agency (USIA) proposed the Endowment to encourage and facilitate exchanges between democratic institutions through private sectors; promote nongovernmental participation in democratic training programs; strengthening democratic electoral processes abroad in cooperation with indigenous democratic forces; fostering cooperation between American private sector groups and those abroad “dedicated to the cultural values, institutions, and organizations of democratic pluralism. , and encouraging democratic development consistent with the interests of both the U. S and the other groups receiving assistance.

In 1983, the House Foreign Affairs Committee proposed legislation to provide initial funding of $31. 3 million for NED as part of the State Department Authorization Act (H. R. 2915), because NED was in its beginning stages of development the appropriation was set at $18 million. Included in the legislation was $13. 8 million for the Free Trade Union Institute, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, $2. million for an affiliate of the National Chamber Foundation, and $5 million each for two party institutes, which was later eliminated by a vote of 267-136. The conference report on H. R. 2915 was adopted by the House on November 17, 1983 and the Senate the following day. On November 18, 1983, articles of incorporation were filed in the District of Columbia to establish the National Endowment for Democracy as a nonprofit organization.

Under the reauthorization of NED several factors were added to the organizations guidelines: the NED Act had to arrange the Board’s prohibition on the use of funds for partisan political purposes, including funding for national party operations; mandate that NED consult with the State Department on any overseas programs it funds prior to the commencement of their activities; move the required date of reporting to Congress on all grants from December 31 to February 4, and lastly despite its non-governmental status, comply fully with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.


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