COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — There have been several significant global poverty bills over the past few years. Below is a list of global poverty bills ordered chronologically from least to most recent. Some of these bills did not become laws, but they are still important to consider. It is important to consider which bills became laws as opposed to those that did not, because it can reveal the political atmosphere, lobbying interests and public opinion.
1) Global Poverty Act of 2007 – This bill would require that the President, in conjunction with the Secretary of State, to take actions to achieve global poverty targets. Specifically, the bill aims to reduce global poverty, eliminate extreme global poverty and achieve the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide that live on less than one dollar per day. This bill would also require the U.S. to spend .7 percent of its GNP on humanitarian aid.
Originally, this bill was introduced by Democratic Congressman, Adam Smith of Washington. The bill passed in the House. It was then sponsored by then Democratic Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. Next, the bill passed the Foreign Relations Committee with some amendments. However, the bill died at the end of the legislative session because it was never scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor. A subsequent version of this bill was reintroduced in 2009 but it has not been voted into law.
2) The Paul Simon Water for The World Act of 2014 – The act improved upon The Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005. The act improves designs and implementation of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs together with the United States Agency for International Development. The act will assist 2.5 billion people who live without a toilet and the 750 million people who do not have access to safe drinking water.
This bill was signed into law on December, 2014 with bipartisan support. The sponsors were Republican Congressmen Poe and Democratic Congressman Blumenauer. In the Senate, the sponsors were Republican Senator Corker and Democratic Senator Durbin. In the years 2009, 2010 and 2013, other versions of this bill were not signed into law.
3) Electrify Africa Act of 2015 – This act aims to install of at least 20,000 megawatts of electrical power, give electricity for at least 50 million people for the first time and provide electrical service to rural and undeserved areas by the year 2020.
This bill was sponsored by Republican Congressman Edward Royce from California. This bill passed in the House in 2014, but died in Congress before the new session started. It did not reach the Senate. A new version of this bill will be drafted in 2015.
4) Global Food Security Act of 2015 – This bill is meant to support USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative. This initiative tries to bolster efforts of local farmers by increasing their productivity and their wages. This act would only be authorized for one year if it were signed into law.
This bill is sponsored by Republican Congressman Chris Smith and Democratic Congresswoman Betty McCollum. Currently, the bill is in the House. On April 23, 2015, the bill was ordered to be reported to the House with new amendments. This bill has had previous versions in 2009, 2013 and 2014. However, none of them were signed into law.
5) The Equal Rights and Access for the Women of South Sudan Act of 2015 – This act aims to protect the rights of women in Africa. For example, the bill aims to encourage women to stay in school and participate in politics, improve women’s health programs and protect women from acts of military aggression.
This bill was introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas. It died in Congress in 2014. However, the bill was reintroduced in 2015. The bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations on February 11, 2015.
It is important to know some of the most recent global poverty bills. These bills can show the government’s opinion toward global poverty, and even more importantly, the peoples’ opinion toward global poverty. Education is a vital step toward influencing politicians to support global anti-poverty movements.
– Ella Cady