Congress – BORGEN http://www.borgenmagazine.com Humanity, Politics & You Mon, 23 Apr 2018 08:30:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Spotlight: Senator Elizabeth Warren http://www.borgenmagazine.com/spotlight-senator-elizabeth-warren/ Sun, 22 Apr 2018 08:30:54 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126472 WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the upcoming 2018 Senate elections, many have their eyes on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has announced that she will be running for re-election. Senator Elizabeth Warren is well known for her fight for progressive action regarding women and children, nationally and internationally. Her support of several foreign assistance bills and [...]

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the upcoming 2018 Senate elections, many have their eyes on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has announced that she will be running for re-election. Senator Elizabeth Warren is well known for her fight for progressive action regarding women and children, nationally and internationally. Her support of several foreign assistance bills and resolutions exemplifies the importance of the U.S. lending a helping hand to those in need.

Regarding women and children, Senator Elizabeth Warren has cosponsored these three crucial bills which support the wellbeing of women and children in impoverished countries:

S.1730 – Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2017

Approximately three million preventable deaths occur each year due to malnutrition, pregnancy and childbirth. Women and children in impoverished nations are suffering from causes that are avoidable but lack the funds and strategy to tackle the issue.

This legislation would call on the U.S. to create a plan to focus on the unique and basic needs of impoverished countries, to lower the maternal, infant and childhood mortality rates. It would require the U.S. to set, track and report goals which support this cause, encourage USAID to use pay-for-outcome financing arrangements and encourage the nations toward self-sustainability.

S.1580 – Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act

Sixty-five million people have been displaced from their homes, half of whom are under the age of 18. This legislation was introduced to prioritize the access of primary and secondary education for these approximately 32.5 million children who are now refugees. It is crucial for these children to receive a quality education, and to specifically ensure that girls are included in these foreign assistance programs.

This bill will encourage nations to provide these refugees with safe and quality education, “enhance training and capacity-building for national governments hosting refugees” and promote the hosting of said refugees and innovative solutions to accommodate them. It will evaluate the effect of education on the lives of girls with reduce rates of forced labor, sex trafficking, child marriage and gender-based violence.

S.1178 – Vulnerable Children and Families Act of 2017

International adoptions into the U.S. have decreased a drastic 72 percent since 2004, and globally by half. Now more than ever, children around the world are in need of adoption into stable environments. The Vulnerable Children and Families Act of 2017 will restructure international adoption to the US, so more children in need are provided with safe, loving and quality families in a timely manner. This legislation would call for the U.S. to replace the current Office of Children’s Issues with a new Office of Vulnerable Children and Family Security (VCFS).

This office will center around family preservation and reunification, as well as international adoptions. The VCFS will create annual reports to Congress on the assistance the U.S. is providing to promote its goal of family preservation in foreign nations. This bill would also ensure that international child welfare and homes for vulnerable children are part of the conversation of U.S. foreign policy and international diplomacy.

While many political critics are unsure of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s stance on foreign aid and foreign policy, one thing is clear: Warren cares about the wellbeing and success of women, children and families around the globe.

When Senator Elizabeth Warren last spoke to The Borgen Project, she said: “Women and girls are tough, smart, and they are critical to international peace and security, both now and in the future. Our foreign assistance helps women and girls do more than survive – it breaks down barriers and stereotypes, makes their voices heard, and creates a more level playing field in countries around the world.”

– Courtney Hambrecht

Photo: Google

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Senate Passes AGOA and MCA Modernization Act, Preparing for Presidential Signature http://www.borgenmagazine.com/agoa-and-mca-modernization-act-passes/ Fri, 13 Apr 2018 08:30:00 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126517 SEATTLE — On April 9, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act unanimously. This Act will strengthen the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), two programs that have proven effective in improving the lives of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa. The MCC spurs economic [...]

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SEATTLE — On April 9, 2018, the U.S. Senate passed the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act unanimously. This Act will strengthen the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), two programs that have proven effective in improving the lives of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.

The MCC spurs economic development, allowing developing countries to address deficiencies in communications, transportation and energy networks. AGOA offers duty-free access to the U.S. market for most exports from eligible sub-Saharan African nations; it was enacted in 2000 and has been renewed until 2025. By authorizing the MCC to develop a second, concurrent compact and requiring the promotion of AGOA, the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act will accelerate the economic growth of developing countries and strengthen the domestic economy and job market.

“It is critical that we do all that we can in Congress to encourage sustainable economic growth in developing countries and expand American businesses’ access to overseas markets,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Member Chris Coons (D-DE) said. House Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Karen Bass (D-CA) elaborated on the domestic implications, stating that “expanding these programs advances our position as international leaders, strengthens our domestic job market and economy, while protecting our national security interests.”

The MCC and AGOA programs use metrics such as economic freedom, rule of law and government investment in people to fund developing nations. The AGOA and MCA Modernization Act will ensure that only the most qualified countries receive a second compact, protecting U.S. taxpayers from fraud and confirming that funds are allocated to programs with a proven track record.

“This bill ensures that MCC has all the tools it needs to deliver smart, efficient, and effective U.S. development assistance,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) stated. “Compacts that cross borders, expand markets, and strengthen regional growth have the potential to lead to even higher rates of return on investment and larger scale reductions in poverty,” he said.

“Foreign aid is an investment, and investing in programs with a proven track record is crucial in the fight against global poverty,” The Borgen Project president and founder Clint Borgen said. “The AGOA and MCA Modernization Act would be a victory for development both at home and abroad.”

During the 114th session, supporters of The Borgen Project held more than 170 meetings with Congress to gain support for the M-CORE Act, which was merged with another bill to create the Senate version of the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act. In the current 115th session, Borgen Project supporters have held more than 200 meetings. Collectively, 9,100 emails were sent to Congress from supporters of The Borgen Project requesting support for this bill.

The Congressional Budget Office analysis showed that the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act would cost U.S. taxpayers less than $500,000 over a four-year period (2018-2022).

– The Borgen Project

Photo: Flickr

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Spotlight: Senator Bernie Sanders and American Politics http://www.borgenmagazine.com/spotlight-bernie-sanders/ Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:30:26 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=126477 During the 2016 presidential election, a lot of buzz circled around Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who held a large fan base of millennials. Many people, including the news media, claim Senator Sanders is ‘redefining’ American politics. Bernie Sanders is well known for his democratic and socialist beliefs. What many do not know, though, is that [...]

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During the 2016 presidential election, a lot of buzz circled around Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who held a large fan base of millennials. Many people, including the news media, claim Senator Sanders is ‘redefining’ American politics.

Bernie Sanders is well known for his democratic and socialist beliefs. What many do not know, though, is that Senator Sanders is registered as an Independent, so he sponsors and co-sponsors several bipartisan bills. Many of these bills regard important foreign relations and assistance because part of Senator Sander’s campaign is compassion for others and human rights.

Senator Sanders co-sponsored the following three bills which have been introduced into legislation, and that exemplify his concern for foreign assistance and human rights on a global scale.

S.2307, the International Violence Against Women Act of 2014

Sponsored by New Hampshire Senator Shaheen, this bill would ensure that the U.S. takes a leading role in stopping violence against women and girls on a global level. Many senators, including Sanders, feel this is an issue of inequality that must be combatted. This bill requires the Ambassador-at-Large to advance and update the U.S. strategy to prevent and respond to this sort of violence annually for a total of six years.

In a Huffington Post article by Senator Sanders, he states, “Not only are we not going to retreat on women’s rights, we are going to expand them. We are going forward, not backward.” This quote from 2012 exemplifies his longstanding support and campaign for women’s equality—everywhere.

S.2475, the Children in Families First act of 2014

This legislation delineates how the U.S. will support foreign countries to implement child welfare laws and policies, as well as promote protective permanent family care for these nations’ orphans. This bill also amends the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000, and will create a database for adoption service providers and children around the globe who need adopting.

In a speech at Westminster College in fall 2017, Senator Sanders spoke about the importance of foreign aid. He stated:

“In my view, the United States must seek partnerships not just between governments, but between peoples. A sensible and effective foreign policy recognizes that our safety and welfare is bound up with the safety and welfare of others around the world. Every person on this planet shares a common humanity: we all want our children to grow up healthy, to have a good education, have decent jobs, drink clean water and breathe clean air, and to live in peace. That’s what being human is about.”

It is obvious that the assistance and success of international families is a foreign policy priority to Senator Sanders. You can listen to the entire speech here.

S.Res.432, Resolution Supporting Respect for Human Rights and Inclusive Governance in Ethiopia

This resolution is legislation to support the human rights of Ethiopians and encourage an inclusive government. Senator Sanders, and other co-signing U.S. senators, want the Ethiopian government to end excessive force by security forces, investigate the deaths of protestors caused by excessive force, and to release those protestors, journalists and activists who have been imprisoned for exercising their constitutional rights.

The bill will also call for the Ethiopian government to condemn killings of protestors and the arrests of journalists, students and activists. It also convicts the abuse of the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation, which has been stifling political and journalistic freedom.

The U.S. Department of State would improve U.S. assistance, review security assistance and lead efforts to develop a support strategy to improve democracy in Ethiopia. An act like this is important because Ethiopians are entitled to the right of peaceful assembly, and freedom of the press.

Support from All Sides

Senator Sanders also co-sponsors several other important global human rights acts, such as the International Human Rights Defense Act of 2015 and the Global Respect Act, both of which protect and support the rights and safety of LGBT People.

With the prospects of a potential 2020 presidential campaign, the spotlight has been on Senator Bernie Sanders as a political figure unfailing and true to his political beliefs and who continues to create positive national and international change.

– Courtney Hambrecht

Photo: Bernie Sanders” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Flickr

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The Global Health Innovation Act Passes the House of Representatives http://www.borgenmagazine.com/global-health-innovation-act-passes/ Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:30:31 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=124580 SEATTLE — On January 18, 2018, the Global Health Innovation Act passed in the House of Representatives. The Global Health Innovation Act, titled H.R. 1660, explicitly directs the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) “to submit to Congress a report on the development and use of global health innovations in programs, [...]

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SEATTLE — On January 18, 2018, the Global Health Innovation Act passed in the House of Representatives. The Global Health Innovation Act, titled H.R. 1660, explicitly directs the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) “to submit to Congress a report on the development and use of global health innovations in programs, projects, and activities of the Agency”.

The bill was introduced to the House of Representatives in March 2017 by Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), who have a history of advocating for legislation addressing global poverty.

In a press release published on January 19, 2018, Sires expressed confidence that the legislation will further address the very real problems of infectious disease, malnutrition and complications of pregnancy that cause the deaths of millions around the globe. Sires commented exclusively to The Borgen Project that “U.S. investments in global health research are central components of U.S. foreign policy to increase national security, strengthen U.S. relations around the world and reduce infectious diseases.”

The Global Health Innovation Act will provide the necessary oversight to gain a clearer picture of how USAID is currently expanding global health research and development. Research and development projects through USAID have a history of greatly reducing HIV and AIDS and preventing maternal and early childhood deaths in countries within the developing world. The bill itself ensures that the current USAID administrator reports directly to Congress to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being utilized in the most efficient and effective possible ways.

More specifically, the Global Health Innovation Act will require USAID to outline the following:

  • Updates on current global health innovations such as drugs, diagnostics, devices, vaccines, mobile health technologies and their impact on behavior and the delivery of services.
  • Steps and impacts that these innovations have taken against the global occurrence of HIV/AIDS, maternal and early childhood death and the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Benchmarks, goals, evaluations and impact assessments for future health product development.
  • Lists of reasons behind decision making to ensure that USAID is investing in the proper and most cost-effective health technology developments.
  • How USAID collaborates with other federal agencies such as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • How USAID coordinates with its own agencies such as the Bureau for Global Health and the Global Health Development Lab.

The Congressional Budget Office explains that the USAID reporting would take place over the period of 2018-2022 and would cost taxpayers less than $500,000. The Congressional Budget Office also explained that enacting the Global Health Innovation Act would not increase net direct spending on budget deficits for any of the four years in which it will be implemented.

At this point, the Global Health Innovation Act needs to pass in the Senate and be signed by the president before it becomes law. H.R. 1660 passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan agreement at 423-3. The bill has been read to the Senate twice and is currently being referred to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

When asked about his thoughts on the bill’s passage, Rep. Sires told The Borgen Project, “I am pleased that the Global Health Innovation Act passed the House with such overwhelming and bipartisan support. I hope my colleagues in the Senate will move quickly to consider this timely and common sense legislation.” He also added, “Organizations like The Borgen Project are key to making sure people around the world know how they can fight global poverty and help those most in need.”

Overall, USAID and organizations that work alongside USAID fund programs that contribute to reducing the spread of disease, maternal and early childhood death, and malnutrition. The passage of the Global Health Innovation Act will ensure that USAID continues to make intentionally beneficial decisions in its work to reduce global poverty.

– Daniel Levy

Photo: Flickr

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DELTA Act to Protect Wildlife and Livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa http://www.borgenmagazine.com/delta-act-sub-saharan-africa/ Mon, 29 Jan 2018 09:30:17 +0000 http://www.borgenmagazine.com/?p=124202 SEATTLE — On January 18, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel introduced a bill to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs called H.R. 4819, or the Defending Economic Livelihoods and Threatened Animals (DELTA) Act. The bill focuses on the Okavango River Basin, which encompasses Angola, Botswana [...]

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SEATTLE — On January 18, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot L. Engel introduced a bill to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs called H.R. 4819, or the Defending Economic Livelihoods and Threatened Animals (DELTA) Act.

The bill focuses on the Okavango River Basin, which encompasses Angola, Botswana and Namibia. It seeks to boost economic development in southern Africa, as all three of these countries continue to fight against poverty and other economic hardships.

Angola’s economy has been struggling since 2015, when, according to the World Bank, reduced oil prices caused the GDP growth to decrease to 1.5 percent, down from 10.3 percent in previous years. Furthermore, Angola has a high rate of inflation, large amounts of deficit, high public debt and negative interest rates.

Botswana is different because it has a successful economy, but high rates of economic inequality and poverty. The World Bank states that poverty in Botswana only fell from 13.2 percent in 2013 to 12.3 percent in 2018.

Similar to Botswana, Namibia is also an upper-middle income country. However, it continues to be plagued by both a lack of job creation and economic inequality that has been entrenched in the country since the days of apartheid.

The DELTA Act has five main goals that it aims to complete in order to foster economic development in southern Africa and the Okavango River Basin area:

  1. To encourage federal agencies to work in conjunction with the governments of Angola, Botswana and Namibia to create improved natural resource management and wildlife conservation.
  2. To add protection to the migration routes of elephants and other endangered species that live around the river basin.
  3. To fight against poaching and trafficking of wildlife in the area.
  4. To assist with human health and other development needs of the local communities around the river basin.
  5. To generally stimulate the economic development in southern Africa, namely Angola, Botswana and Namibia, as well as the region around the river basin.

If passed into law, the DELTA Act would be beneficial to both the people who depend on the delicate ecosystem of the Okavango River Basin for their livelihoods, as well as the endangered animals that call the area home.

For example, the preservation of the river basin is critical because it supports around a million people and is their main source of water. Botswana depends on the Okavango River Basin as a means to generate income from tourism. The river basin is the “second largest foreign currency earner” for the country, according to the Okavango River Basin Water Commission.

Furthermore, combating poaching and trafficking is also important because the DELTA Act states that these activities can have detrimental effects on the local government, due to the potential of causing instability in the region.

The Okavango River Basin also happens to be home to the largest remaining group of elephants in the world. Therefore, protecting wildlife and natural resources from poaching and exploitation is crucial to ensuring the ecosystem’s wellbeing, and as a result, improving the growth of the communities that live in the area.

The DELTA Act seeks to spur economic development in southern Africa by encouraging federal agencies to work with the governments and local communities of Angola, Botswana and Namibia in order to create a better “policy-enabling environment.”

Not only would these countries benefit, but the bill also states “it is in the strategic interest of the United States to… advance conservation efforts and promote economic growth and stability in the greater Okavango River Basin.”

The DELTA Act has been introduced to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and as of this writing no further action has been taken on it.

– Jennifer Jones

Photo: Flickr

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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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