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