New take on aid – Modeled on Bush ideas

U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina says he would back a boost in foreign aid – but only if all future U.S. aid gets to the needy through private charities and religious groups, not government, The New York Times reported Jan. 12.

Helms, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he had modeled his proposal on the campaign theme of President-elect George W. Bush to help private relief groups help the poor.

If adopted by the Bush administration and Congress, Helms’ plan would result in the biggest change in four decades in how America helps the world’s poor, the Times said.

“The time has come to reject what President Bush correctly labels the ‘failed compassion of towering, distant bureaucracies’ and, instead, empower private and faith-based groups who care most about those in need,” Helms said in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group.

Helms met earlier this week with Gen. Colin L. Powell, Bush’s choice for secretary of state.  Powell voiced support for boosting foreign aid, but an aide said he had not been briefed on details of Helms’ plan.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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