WASHINGTON, D.C. — On May 20, 2019, three global poverty reduction bills passed the House of Representatives with significant bipartisan support. Representative Michael McCaul (R-TX), as well as Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, pushed all three bills forward alongside Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee. This bipartisan effort allowed for all three bills to pass the House with backing from both Democrats and Republicans.
The Global Fragility Act
H.R. 2116, also known as the Global Fragility Act, seeks to stabilize areas across the world that are prone to violence. Violence is the leading cause of both food insecurity and forced displacement. Around 80 percent of global humanitarian need stems from these consequences of violence. Furthermore, global fragility poses a significant national security threat to the United States by fostering environments in which terrorist organizations thrive.
Following these findings, the Global Fragility Act seeks to mitigate these conflicts and provide stability in the most vulnerable parts of the world through establishing a Stabilization and Prevention Fund within the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This fund is dedicated to stabilizing conflict-ridden areas and providing aid to areas controlled by, at risk or recently liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The Global Fragility Act is currently is cosponsored by eight Democrats and six Republicans. According to Skopos Labs, it currently has a 14 percent chance of being made law.
Refugee Sanitation Facility Safety Act of 2019
The Refugee Sanitation Facility Safety Act, H.R. 615, aims to provide women and girls in refugee camps with access to sanitation facilities. This bill amends Section 501 of the Foreign Relations Act of Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995 to include a phrase specifying safe access to sanitation facilities “with a special emphasis on women and girls, and vulnerable populations.’’ This bill has a 21 percent chance of being made law according to Skopos Labs.
The Digital GAP Act
H.R. 1359, the Digital Global Access Policy Act of 2019, seeks to aid developing countries to create an infrastructure for reliable Internet access. Also known as the Digital GAP Act, this bill aims to foster innovation and job creation, help fuel a better education system and promote free speech and democracy.
These results of more reliable and secure Internet access would not only reduce poverty but also gender inequality. Women are disproportionately disconnected from the Internet, thus removing potential billions of dollars from the economies of developing countries. According to Skopos Labs, the bill has an 85 percent chance of being made law.
After passing the House, these poverty reduction bills have now moved to the Senate for consideration. All bills must pass both chambers of Congress in their exact same form before they can be sent to the President and signed into law. Call or email your senators and ask them to support the Global Fragility Act, the Refugee Sanitation Facility Safety Act and the Digital GAP Act today.
Should these three poverty reduction bills pass the Senate, it could mean a world with significantly less violence, food insecurity and forced displacement as well as safer access to healthcare for refugee women. It could mean a world that is connected to the Internet, exposed to democratic ideas and able to build and advertise new businesses. Most importantly, these bills have the real potential to lift countless people out of poverty.
– Macklyn Hutchison