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