Congress – BORGEN http://www.borgenmagazine.com Humanity, Politics & You Tue, 23 Jan 2018 15:30:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.2 Multilateral Aid Review Act of 2017 Introduced in Senate http://www.borgenmagazine.com/multilateral-aid-review-act/ Thu, 16 Nov 2017 09:30:57 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=119757 SEATTLE — On October 5, 2017, Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced, in the Senate, the Multilateral Aid Review Act of 2017. The bill aims to establish a Multilateral Aid Review conducted by an interagency task force and a peer review group. The review would publicly assess the value of U.S. government [...]

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SEATTLE — On October 5, 2017, Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced, in the Senate, the Multilateral Aid Review Act of 2017. The bill aims to establish a Multilateral Aid Review conducted by an interagency task force and a peer review group.

The review would publicly assess the value of U.S. government investments in multilateral entities. This would include how well multilateral institutions carry out their missions, how effective the institutions and missions are to American interests and how effectively American aid is used by these institutions.

Multilateral institutions are institutions formed between multiple countries to address issues relating to each participating country. The bill specifies 39 total multilateral institutions that would be reviewed, including the World Bank and several entities within the U.N. The U.S. currently gives more than 10 billion dollars annually to multilateral institutions.

The interagency task force will be chaired by the Secretary of State or a senior official chosen by the Secretary of State with members of the task force chosen by the President from a group of senior, Senate-approved officials from the State Department, Treasury Department, USAID, the Office of Management and Budget and any other relevant departments or agencies in the executive branch. The peer review group will be made up of eight volunteer members and the Senate majority and minority leaders, the speaker of the House and the minority leader of the House will choose two members each.

The bill sets out three objectives for the aid review. These are to:

  1. Provide a tool to guide the United States Government’s decision-making and prioritization with regard to funding multilateral entities and to provide a methodological basis for allocating scarce budgetary resources to entities that advance relevant United States foreign policy objectives.
  2. Incentivize improvements in the performance of multilateral entities to achieve better outcomes on the ground in developing, fragile, and crisis-afflicted regions.
  3. Protect United States taxpayer investments in foreign assistance by improving transparency with regard to the funding of multilateral entities.

The review will create an assessment scorecard to determine the effectiveness of institutions, programs and aid. Grades will be based on the relationship between stated goals and actual results, whether institutions have responsible management, the accountability and transparency of institutions, alignment of institutions with U.S. foreign policy objectives, whether a multilateral or bilateral approach would be more effective and whether there are any redundancies or overlap between institutions or programs.

If the Multilateral Aid Review Act is passed, the first review would be conducted within 21 months of its enactment, with additional reviews being conducted every three years. These reviews would be submitted to the Congressional committees specified in the bill and released on the State Department website.

In a statement, Sen. Corker said that Americans have a right to know how U.S. involvement in multilateral institutions benefits the country. The bill would allow for this to happen through a more thorough and objective review of these institutions, which will allow for more informed decisions on prioritizing resources and demanding better outcomes. Sen. Coons concurred, stating that it is in the nation’s best interest to provide transparency and increase impact overseas.

The bill was introduced with bipartisan support, with three Republicans, Todd Young (R-IN), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and three Democrats, Tim Kaine (D-VA), Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA) cosponsoring the bill in addition to Sen. Coons. The next step for the Multilateral Aid Review Act will be hearings and debate in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Erik Beck

Photo: Flickr

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How to Become a Senator http://www.borgenmagazine.com/how-to-become-a-senator/ Tue, 14 Nov 2017 09:30:24 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=119411 SEATTLE — Congress is made up of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. These two bodies together are also known as the legislative branch of government. The Senate is the more deliberative legislative body and it serves as a check on the executive and judicial branches. Additionally, the Senate has the sole [...]

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SEATTLE — Congress is made up of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. These two bodies together are also known as the legislative branch of government. The Senate is the more deliberative legislative body and it serves as a check on the executive and judicial branches. Additionally, the Senate has the sole power to review and debate bills, treaties and proposed legislation and to provide oversight to the president’s administration. Their primary obligation is to represent the interests of each state in the political process, whereas the House of Representatives is designed to represent the interests of the people.

The Senate is composed of two senators from each state. A senator’s term of office is six years, and they may be reelected indefinitely. One-third of the total membership of the Senate is elected every two years. Today, senators are chosen by popular election, as provided for in the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, and there are only three qualifications that must be met: age, citizenship and inhabitancy.

 

Qualifications to Become a Senator

  • At least 30 years old
  • A nine-year U.S. citizen
  • A resident of the state from which he is chosen to represent

Aside from these three requirements, there are no set rules on how to become a senator. However, there are a number of factors that may improve one’s chances of becoming a senator.

Education
It is important to have a solid educational background, as 100 percent of senators hold at least a bachelor’s degree. A majority of senators attain a higher degree: 21 hold a master’s degree as their highest attained degree, 55 hold law degrees, 2 hold doctoral degrees and 3 hold medical degrees.

Professional Occupation
One’s occupation most likely will not make or break his/her run for the Senate, but there are some trends that should be recognized. In the 115th Congress, law predominates as the declared profession with 50 senators, followed by public service and politics with 44 senators, business with 29 senators and education with 20 senators.

Involvement
Most senators don’t run for the Senate without previously serving in another type of public office or being well-known in the community. Half of the current senators (50) in the 115th Congress have had prior experience serving in the House of Representatives. Additionally, 44 have previously served as state or territorial legislators, 18 have previously served as congressional staffers, 10 have previously served as state governors and eight have previously served as mayors.

Party Support
Gaining the support of a political party can bolster any Senate run. Additionally, when it comes time to file for candidacy with the state’s Secretary of State, a candidate must obtain a minimum number of signatures from voters who are registered in his/her party in order to be put on the ballot. The minimum number varies by state.

Age
Aside from the Constitutional requirement, age plays a major role in a Senate run. The oldest senator in the 115th Congress is 83 years old and the youngest is 39. The median age of sitting senators in the 115th Congress is 61 years old, and the median age of newly elected senators in the 115th Congress is 54 years old.

Campaign
A lot of planning goes into running for the Senate, and campaigning may be among the most important. If a candidate accomplishes all of the above recommendations, the groundwork for a quality campaign is already set. All that is left is for the candidate to do his/her best to share the ideas and values of the campaign and hope that a majority of the state agrees.

The famous oath that reads: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God” isn’t just for the United States President. When the new term of office begins, senators-elect take this same oath of office in an open session of the Senate.

Now that you know how to become a senator, start thinking about what poverty-focused legislation you would introduce!

Jamie Enright

 

Learn more about how to become a Senator

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Senators Express Support for Global Partnership for Education http://www.borgenmagazine.com/global-partnership-for-education/ Thu, 09 Nov 2017 09:30:51 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=119159 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have introduced a simple resolution in the Senate supporting the role of the United States in ensuring children in the poorest countries have access to a quality education through the Global Partnership for Education. The resolution was presented in recognition of World Teacher’s Day. [...]

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have introduced a simple resolution in the Senate supporting the role of the United States in ensuring children in the poorest countries have access to a quality education through the Global Partnership for Education. The resolution was presented in recognition of World Teacher’s Day.

Unlike a bill, a simple resolution is only passed through the Senate and does not become law. Instead, simple resolutions are used to express a non-binding position of the Senate or deal with the Senate’s internal affairs.

This simple resolution, S.Res. 286, identifies numerous data points related to education and global poverty. The 2016 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report found an estimated 263 million children out of school. The 2015 GEM report identified that two-thirds of children out of school were living in countries affected by conflict.

Other statistics show that educated mothers are more likely to have their children vaccinated, every year of school decreases a male youth’s chances in engaging in violence by 20 percent and educating all students in developing countries could lead to 171 million people being lifted out of poverty.

These statistics support the U.S. goal of improving education around the world. Much of this work is done in partnership with the Global Partnership for Education.

The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is the only private-public global partnership exclusively dedicated to education in the world’s poorest countries. Established in 2002, the GPE aims to strengthen education systems in developing countries in order to increase the number of children attending school. This is done by bringing together developing countries, international organizations, civil society and the private sector.

Today, the GPE is working to help achieve U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 4, which is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The GPE works with more than 60 developing country partners containing approximately 870 million total children and 78 percent of the world’s out-of-school children. The U.S. has contributed more than $198 million since joining the GPE as a partner country in 2009..

If passed, the resolution will express four positions held by the Senate in relation to education, poverty and the GPE. These positions include:

  • Affirmation of U.S. leadership and commitment to providing quality education for the poorest and most marginalized children in the world.
  • Supporting the mission and goals of the GPE.
  • Recognizing that U.S. investments in bilateral basic education are complemented by GPE’s approach.
  • Encouraging increased investment by the U.S. and other entities through the GPE to ensure children are in school throughout the world.

Upon introducing the resolution, Sen. Booker expressed pride in being able to come together with Sen. Rubio to highlight the Senate’s bipartisan commitment to ensuring U.S. leadership in supporting global access to education.

The resolution has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where it will be heard before potentially moving to the Senate floor.

Erik Beck

Photo: Flickr

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H.R. 2408: Protecting Girls’ Access to Education Act Passes House http://www.borgenmagazine.com/protecting-girls-access-to-education-act/ Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:30:05 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=118865 WASHINGTON D.C. — On October 3, 2017, the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act (H.R. 2408) or the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education Act for short, passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote. Introduced to the House in May 2017 by Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH-1) and Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), the [...]

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WASHINGTON D.C. — On October 3, 2017, the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act (H.R. 2408) or the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education Act for short, passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote.

Introduced to the House in May 2017 by Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH-1) and Robin Kelly (D-IL-2), the Protecting Girls’ access to Education Act has garnered bipartisan support, with 50 total cosponsors representing both parties.

The bill seeks to support educational services for displaced children, especially girls. If passed, the bill would direct the Secretary of State and the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to prioritize and advance efforts to support programs providing access to education for displaced children.

Such efforts include programs that provide safe primary and secondary education, build the capacity of institutions to prevent discrimination against displaced children and help increase the access of displaced children to educational, economic and entrepreneurial opportunities. This work would happen with multilateral organizations, including the World Bank and the U.N., and other private and civil society associations where applicable.

Reps. Chabot and Kelly applauded the passage of the bill through the House. Each Representative also cited the benefits that would come from the passage of the bill. “Ultimately, H.R. 2408 will help to pave the way for a more peaceful and stable life for millions of displaced girls, before they are subjected to further poverty, trafficking and recruitment into extremist organizations,” said Rep. Chabot. Rep. Kelly added, “By supporting young girls and their families, we are making this a safer, more secure world for all of us.”

Rep. Kelly also stated that she looks forward to the quick passage of the bill through the Senate.

The Senate version of the Protecting Girls’ Access to Education Act (S. 1580) was introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Joe Manchin, III (D, WV) in July 2017. The bill must still go through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before reaching a vote in the Senate. With a nearly identical text to the House bill, a conference committee would likely be unnecessary to reconcile any differences between the two bills, pending any changes by the Foreign Relations Committee.

– Erik Beck
Photo: Flickr

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Congressional Spotlight: Representative Ted Yoho http://www.borgenmagazine.com/representative-ted-yoho/ Sat, 04 Nov 2017 08:30:10 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=117785 WASHINGTON, D.C. — In March 2017, the Trump administration released a proposed budget which would have drastically cut foreign aid. A major opponent to this cut was Representative Ted Yoho of Florida’s third district. Rep. Yoho felt that cuts to aid would diminish the U.S. presence around the world, allowing other actors or ideals to [...]

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — In March 2017, the Trump administration released a proposed budget which would have drastically cut foreign aid. A major opponent to this cut was Representative Ted Yoho of Florida’s third district. Rep. Yoho felt that cuts to aid would diminish the U.S. presence around the world, allowing other actors or ideals to fill the void that would be created. Instead, Rep. Yoho believes that investing in the foreign aid budget will allow for reforms to how the U.S. approaches foreign aid spending and implementation.

Representative Ted Yoho has had his own ideological shift on approaching foreign aid. As a fiscal conservative, Rep. Yoho campaigned in 2012 on cutting government spending, including reductions in foreign aid. After defeating an incumbent Congressman in the Republican primary and winning the general election by a near two to one margin, Rep. Yoho was poised to bring calls to cut foreign aid to Washington.

Upon his arrival to Congress, Rep. Yoho began serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It was through service on this committee that his views on foreign aid began to change.

In an article for The Hill in July 2016, Rep. Yoho acknowledged his service on the Foreign Affairs Committee as developing an appreciation for the good that can come from well-administered aid programs. Additionally, in an interview with Devex, Rep. Yoho explained how his professional work as a veterinarian had informed his position change on foreign aid.

“When foreign assistance has a clear mission, buy-in from the aid-recipient country, and explicit metrics for implementation, the United States will be able to transition aid-recipient nations into strong trading partners,” he said.

Rep. Yoho explained that he practiced preventative medicine much more often than treating an illness. In diagnosing foreign aid spending, Rep. Yoho sees how things like corruption, lack of infrastructure or weak rule of law are symptoms that can be treated rather than completely cutting off the foreign aid budget.

Rep. Yoho’s focus is no longer on cutting foreign aid, but rather on the effective implementation of aid programs that can help develop aid recipients into trade partners. Rep. Yoho often refers to South Korea as an example of this use of foreign aid. After the Korean War, the U.S. invested heavily in South Korea, and 65 years later the country is the ninth-largest U.S. trading partner.

On May 25, 2017, Representative Ted Yoho introduced the Economic Growth and Development Act into the House of Representatives. This bill seeks to create a primary interagency mechanism which would coordinate U.S. development assistance programs, connect private sector and federal entities and provide oversight for aid distribution around the world. With bicameral and bipartisan support, this bill represents a congressional and U.S. shift mirroring Rep. Yoho’s own shift to supporting reform rather than funding cuts.

Erik Beck
Photo: Flickr

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How to Talk About Foreign Aid, With Both Democrats and Republicans http://www.borgenmagazine.com/how-to-talk-about-foreign-aid/ Fri, 03 Nov 2017 08:30:26 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=117778 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Discussing foreign aid and global poverty can frequently be a divisive conversation. According to research, many Americans have false assumptions about the International Affairs Budget, believing the federal government spends 20 percent on foreign aid rather than the actual figure of less than 1 percent. However, Congressional support for foreign aid remains [...]

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Discussing foreign aid and global poverty can frequently be a divisive conversation. According to research, many Americans have false assumptions about the International Affairs Budget, believing the federal government spends 20 percent on foreign aid rather than the actual figure of less than 1 percent.

However, Congressional support for foreign aid remains high. Recent proposed budget cuts from the executive branch have faced stern opposition from Democrats and Republicans. Despite differing perspectives on foreign aid, both sides of the aisle recognize its importance. How to talk about foreign aid can, therefore, differ depending on an individual’s political ideology.

Republicans often prioritize the national security benefits that foreign aid brings. In the GOP manifesto in 2017, foreign aid is outlined as a crucial weapon in the U.S. arsenal, an “alternative means of keeping the peace, far less costly both in human lives and dollars than military engagement.”

Public statements from leading GOP members of Congress reflect this prioritization of national security. The proposed 2017 cuts were met with a chorus of opposition from Senate Republicans, in particular from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who condemned the bill as doomed. “If you take soft power off the table, you’re never going to win the war”, Graham said.

While Democrats also share the national security concerns of Republicans, the Democratic platform offers more of a focus on specific poverty alleviation benefits of the foreign aid budget. In the party platform, issues surrounding child mortality, food security and disease prevention are highlighted as major benefits of U.S developmental assistance.

Public statements from Democratic officials also reflect this motivation to support the International Affairs Budget. On World Refugee Day in 2017, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi highlighted the conditions that cause refugee crises to develop and how foreign aid can alleviate such situations.

Across both major parties, a focus on benefits to the domestic economy is evident. In the Democratic party platform, the importance of investment in emerging economies is emphasized, and in the GOP manifesto it is stressed how open markets are a boon for private American investment.

These variations between the two parties give some suggestions as to how to talk about foreign aid when speaking to either Democrats or Republicans. Generally, a focus on national security appears to be more of a priority for Republicans, while Democrats favor the specific humanitarian programs that foreign aid establishes abroad. Economic benefits at home appear to be a shared motivation for representatives of both parties.

Jonathan Riddick
Photo: Flickr

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How Much Senators Make in U.S. Government & the Reasons Why http://www.borgenmagazine.com/how-much-senators-make-in-u-s-government/ Fri, 20 Oct 2017 08:30:48 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=117003 WASHINGTON D.C. — A senator is an elected official who takes part in meetings and congresses, debates over creating or updating laws as well as regulations and votes for or against certain political motions. Many senators choose their professions for the love of their country, and many may also choose their profession for the large [...]

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WASHINGTON D.C. — A senator is an elected official who takes part in meetings and congresses, debates over creating or updating laws as well as regulations and votes for or against certain political motions. Many senators choose their professions for the love of their country, and many may also choose their profession for the large yearly salary they receive.

So you may be wondering; how much do senators make?

Typically, a senator will make approximately $174,000 annually. During the Constitutional Convention, the original founding fathers first had the idea of not paying members of government for their efforts. This idea was abandoned, however, due to how much time is needed to be devoted to serving their country, and how that took away from their jobs that made them their living.

How much senators make annually seems to be quite high—so what is the reason for that?

There could be a few. One reason could be that it is a way to protect against fraud. A public official working in government has more power than the average citizen, and if crooked they have the potential to rob the nation of tax dollars, and do so under the table. However, we do have things such as checks and balances and laws in place to prevent these sorts of incidents from occurring. When a senator’s pockets are fully lined, there is less reason to commit fraud.

Attracting people to the job of being senator also goes hand-in-hand with how much senators make, and why it is so much.

The role of the senator can be quite daunting to an individual—their position opens up their entire personal life as well as their family’s to the public eye, and many times the senator can become under scrutiny or even threat. There is also the fact that not just anyone can become a senator; these jobs are given to individuals with a love and interest in our country and they must be highly qualified and professionally successful to receive the job.

One must also take into consideration when thinking about how much senators make that yes, they do make quite a bit; however, is it really that much? When considering how much other high-paying professions make—physicians at around $180,000, lawyers at around $144,500 and CEOs at around $170,000—it is not terribly unreasonable.

There are also benefits and allowances that senators receive in addition to their salaries. They are eligible for benefits that will all-in-all raise their income. They may possibly deduct up to $3,000 for tax purposes in annual living expenses when they are working not in their home districts, for example.

A senator is also entitled to $944,671 a year to pay for their staff’s salaries, and they also receive money that allows for expenses such as travel, mail, office equipment, district office rental, stationary and other various things needed in an office environment. In addition, senators are allowed to earn an “outside income.”

Interestingly, the richest U.S. senator in John Kerry with a net worth of $238,812,296, while the poorest is Christopher S. Murphy, a democrat from Connecticut whose net worth is just $7,502 due to student loan debt that is between $30,000 and $100,000. As a whole one can clearly see that there are definite advantages (and some disadvantages) to becoming a U.S. senator—it is perhaps a career worth considering if one has an interest in our country and public service.

Sara Venusti

Photo: Flickr

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Congress Responds to Foreign Aid Budget Cuts with New Bill http://www.borgenmagazine.com/congress-responds-foreign-aid-budget-cuts/ Sun, 15 Oct 2017 20:57:37 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=118985 WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s no secret that U.S. diplomacy and humanitarian efforts are expected to fall victim to immense budgets cuts under the Trump administration. According to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, the State Department and USAID budgets are currently at risk of being decreased by 31 percent. However, the proposed foreign aid budget cuts have [...]

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — It’s no secret that U.S. diplomacy and humanitarian efforts are expected to fall victim to immense budgets cuts under the Trump administration. According to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, the State Department and USAID budgets are currently at risk of being decreased by 31 percent. However, the proposed foreign aid budget cuts have sparked response from both Republicans and Democrats who argue that these cuts could place U.S. national security at risk.

On June 15th, Republican Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Democratic Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) issued a memo to Congress urging their colleagues and the Trump administration to reconsider the proposed cuts to the International Affairs budget. The senators insist that developmental aid can complement military efforts by working toward political stability and decreasing vulnerability to radicalization. The senators also address the economic benefits of developmental assistance. Other political leaders, such as Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), have spoken on the importance of foreign assistance and addressed Congress in its defense as well. By helping politically unstable countries rise out of poverty, we can combat terrorism, promote economic growth and create potential markets for U.S. exports.

In response to growing concerns about the proposed foreign aid budget cuts, Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL) introduced the Economic Growth and Development Act (H.R. 2747). This legislation would coordinate U.S. foreign aid with private sector investment to increase efficiency. Moreover, it would require an annual report to be submitted by the U.S. President that evaluates the effectiveness of this “interagency mechanism.”

Asked by The Borgen Project about the bill, Ted Yoho stated that “we are going through tough fiscal times as a nation and we need to make sure that aid is used effectively.” Although Rep. Yoho initially wanted to eliminate the foreign aid budget due to previous inefficiencies, he stated that “it is important to use the money invested to create stronger relationships with countries that can potentially become U.S. trading partners.” Targeted foreign aid focused on key developmental issues can be mutually beneficial for both the U.S. and aid recipients.

The Trump administration defends these foreign aid budget cuts as a way for the U.S. to step back from its international spending and force other countries to contribute more in compensation. Nonetheless, international affairs comprised less than one percent of the U.S. budget even before the proposed cuts were issued for next year. With increasing political instability, the U.S. cannot afford to fall short on viable foreign assistance programs that could benefit our national security and economic interests. You can contact your representatives about the Economic Growth and Development Act (H.R. 2747) here.

– Antonina (Nina) Mangiola

Photo: USAID

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Continuous Strides for the Global Food Security Act http://www.borgenmagazine.com/strides-for-the-global-food-security-act/ Sat, 14 Oct 2017 08:30:37 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=117000 WASHINGTON D.C. — On July 20, 2016, strides for the Global Food Security Act were recognized when the act was signed into law, pushing a Feed the Future initiative to develop a food security strategy for the entire world. Now, strides for the Global Security Act are being made for stability and accountability. Twelve countries [...]

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WASHINGTON D.C. — On July 20, 2016, strides for the Global Food Security Act were recognized when the act was signed into law, pushing a Feed the Future initiative to develop a food security strategy for the entire world. Now, strides for the Global Security Act are being made for stability and accountability.

Twelve countries were selected for investment: Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda. This step forward in addressing the issue of poverty and aiding in harnessing the power of agriculture to feed their people was accomplished by much hard work done on the ground by citizens fighting Congress for action.

After thousands of letters and tens of thousands of calls to Congress, action was finally put into law. The Feed the Future initiative has already helped nearly 7 million smallholder farmers and producers to improve crop yields. This effort has reached nearly 12.5 million children with nutrition programs.

One year later, the next step is to create a strategy to help this initiative grow and propel people all over the world out of poverty. Food security “is a basic justice issue for people around the world today,” said Senator Bob Casey, “We have an obligation to do all we can to reduce the likelihood that an individual anywhere in the world suffers from hunger, malnutrition, food insecurity.”

Programs such as USAID have made initiatives in reducing poverty through academic and agribusiness education; although progress has been made, one year later is no time for complacency.

As this act works to promote transparency and accountability, USAID now calls for performance monitoring indicators to ensure the implementation of such efforts.

The U.S. now plans to build on the success of the Feed the Future initiative and work with local stakeholders to review progress and opportunities for aid. Increased focus on nutritional programs for women and children and emphasis on developing a strategy in each country are part of the developments currently in motion.

Such strides for the Global Food Security act provides increased accountability to ensure that such action actually gets put into practice. With the help of people on the ground, those in Congress can make change and facilitate stability.

Tucker Hallowell
Photo: Flickr

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Three Key Members of Congress Who Support Foreign Aid http://www.borgenmagazine.com/three-key-members-of-congress-who-support-foreign-aid/ Wed, 11 Oct 2017 08:30:02 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=116299 WASHINGTON D.C. — There are key members of Congress who support foreign aid in both major parties and in both the House and the Senate. Despite often being perceived as a partisan issue, widespread support for at least maintaining the foreign aid budget remains in place. There are several notable members of Congress, however, who go [...]

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WASHINGTON D.C. — There are key members of Congress who support foreign aid in both major parties and in both the House and the Senate. Despite often being perceived as a partisan issue, widespread support for at least maintaining the foreign aid budget remains in place.

There are several notable members of Congress, however, who go above and beyond in their support of the foreign aid budget.

Senator John McCain (R) of Arizona

McCain’s illustrious senate career is notable for his consistent and unwavering support for maintaining the foreign aid budget. In response to proposed cuts to aid programs in 2017, McCain leveraged his position as chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee to voice opposition to the cuts and highlighted their importance for national security.

McCain has also been willing to criticize leading figures within his own party as part of his support. In 2012, in response to the increasing instability in North Africa, McCain described the suggestion of foreign aid cuts as ‘idiocy’ at a time when withholding aid to Egypt and Libya was a major point of discussion in Congress.

Representative Eliot Engel (D) of New York’s 16th District

Engel serves as the ranking minority member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which gives him a platform to advocate for and defend foreign aid — an opportunity he has taken full advantage of. Engel was notably outspoken this year at the proposed cuts to foreign aid, and he released a statement condemning the move as a betrayal of American values and U.S. leadership in lifting developing nations out of poverty.

Engel is a regular speaker on the floor of the house in support of the foreign aid budget. He has made several speeches highlighting public misconceptions over the extent of U.S. foreign aid and his tireless advocacy for soft power diplomacy has allowed global poverty alleviation to take center stage when it comes to discussions of foreign affairs in the House.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina

As chair of the Senate Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, Graham has used his position to become one of the most significant members of Congress who support foreign aid. “This budget destroys soft power,” Graham commented upon reviewing the proposed cuts to the foreign aid budget this year. His insistence that the cuts are “dead on arrival” gives strong support to continued U.S. leadership in tackling poverty abroad.

In the early stages of his 2016 presidential bid, Graham differentiated himself from other candidates with his strong advocacy for foreign aid. At his launch event in 2015, Graham emphasized the significance of foreign aid for national security and described it as the most powerful weapon in the U.S. Arsenal.

These members of Congress who support foreign aid need encouragement and plaudits for the stance they have taken. Their bipartisan support for a frequently unpopular expenditure demonstrates how important the foreign aid budget is to both poverty alleviation abroad and U.S. domestic interests.

Jonathan Riddick
Photo: Flickr

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