SEATTLE, Washington — Since 2013, Dr. Ami Bera has served in the House of Representatives for California’s 7th district. Rep. Bera always had a desire to help others. Before running for Congress, he practiced medicine and later became the Chief Medical Officer in Sacramento County. This role allowed him to focus more on healthcare issues. His efforts created jobs, reduced healthcare costs and helped deliver better medical care to his district. Rep. Bera is one of many congressional leaders addressing global poverty in today’s congressional session. Many policies that he supports are centered around healthcare services and women’s rights domestically and internationally. Here are five ways that Rep. Bera is addressing global poverty.
Five Ways Representative Bera is Addressing Global Poverty
- Increased Funding For Medical Research: In May of 2016, Rep. Bera pushed to pass legislation for emergency funding to combat the Zika virus and prepare for future outbreaks in Africa. He spoke at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing and brought light to issues of birth defects and health crises created by the outbreak. He also supported the 21st Century Cures Act, which provided more funding to scientists discovering new innovations in treatment for rare and modern-day diseases.
- Traveled with CARE To Visit Syrian Refugees: In 2017, Rep. Bera joined a delegation and traveled with the organization CARE to witness the impact of U.S. humanitarian efforts assisting Syrian refugees in Jordan. The U.S. program was able to provide vital health services, education and counseling to the refugees. One of the biggest accomplishments of the relief program was the delivery of 7,500 healthy babies in the maternity clinic. Rep. Bera had the chance to interact with these refugees first hand and hear their stories. This greatly influenced some of his work back in Washington D.C. Overall, this delegation of congressional leaders addressing global poverty was able to see just how the legislation they advocated for is making a difference.
- Fought Against Cutting The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): Rep.Bera wrote an article for The Hill in 2017, bringing light to the proposed cuts to UNFPA. UNFPA received around $69 million from the United States for the support of family planning and counseling, pregnancy and delivery services. It also supports programs combating gender-based violence. The aid provided to the Syrian refugees in Jordan was made possible by the UNFPA. Protecting the fund would allow organizations like CARE to continue providing aid to communities globally.
- Supported The Reach Every Mother and Child Act: Rep. Bera has been a major advocate for women’s rights issues domestically and internationally while on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This particular act focuses on establishing an American foreign assistance strategy to end preventable maternal and newborn deaths. This would be done by focusing on poor and vulnerable populations and assisting progress toward self-sustaining maternal, newborn and child health services in partner countries. Rep. Bera is a co-sponsor of this bill along with 211 other House members.
- Cosponsored The Digital Gap Act: In 2017, the House of Representatives passed the Digital Gap Act, promoting internet access in developing countries. The goal of this act is to increase public and private investments in global internet infrastructure, spur economic growth and improve education and health. By 2027, at least 1.5 million people will gain internet access through this act. Rep. Bera mentioned that this bill can also empower women around the world since many are disproportionately affected by the digital gap in developing countries. An average of 23 percent fewer women are online than men.
For six years, Representative Ami Bera has been one of many leaders addressing global poverty issues in Congress. His position in the House Foreign Affairs Committee gives him the unique opportunity to give issues such as global health and women’s rights a voice in congressional hearings and on the House floor. Congressman Bera’s advocacy efforts are some that will have lasting impacts on millions across the globe.
– Sydney Blakeney