WASHINGTON, D.C. — After announcing her presidential bid in late January, all eyes have been on Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). She has not backed down her support of legislation that challenges the current administration. It remains to be seen if her previous record will tranfer over into her political campiagn, but one thing is clear, Sen. Harris’ first rally in Oakland, California set the tone for the excitement surrounding her campaign.
Senator Kamala Harris’ Foreign Policy
Enthusiasm for Sen. Kamala Harris is a set pattern. When she was first inducted into the Senate in 2017, Global Citizen highlighted her as one of six new national politicians with strong foreign policy platforms. Sen. Harris has stated, “We must do everything we can to protect our nation and our allies from threats we face around the world.” Capable of taking a hard stance, Sen. Harris also understands the power of international aid and diplomacy. Sen. Harris has suggested – first and foremost – that it is essential to prevent overseas military conflict by leveraging “the power of smart diplomacy.”
Sen. Harris’ attitude toward international affairs emphasizes the importance of collaboration. She has previously stated that “our country is strongest when we stand together with our allies and when we rally the world to act instead of simply acting alone.” However, she is not afraid to advocate for reform, and her voting record keeps supporters at her rallies. Sen. Harris has remained true to her foreign policy platform time and again, as proven by her congressional record and cosponsored legislation.
Legislation Cosponsored by Sen. Harris
There are four bills that have been introduced and cosponsored by Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris that illustrate her continued commitment to International Affairs.
- Global Health, Empowerment and Rights Act (S.210): Cosponsored by Sen. Harris, this bill ensures that foreign nonprofit and nongovernment organizations will be given international development assistance under the Foreign Assistance of 1961 on the basis of health and medical services provided by non-U.S. government funds so long as those services do not violate the laws of the country in which they would be provided.
- Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2018 (S.3696): Recently referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations, this bill is intended to promote democracy and human rights in Burma. It is a response to the crisis in Myanmar (Burma) wherein hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people (a Muslim ethnic minority group) are fleeing from persecution and death.
- S.Res.34: This resolution is related to the previous bill on Burma human rights. Essentially, the Senate is demanding a safe and sustainable return of the Rohingya refugees who have been displaced due to Burmese ethical cleanse, along with the release of unjustly imprisoned journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
- S.J.Res.54: Another resolution cosponsored by Sen. Harris, this bill is intended to strong-arm the President to remove U.S. Armed Forces from Yemen unless Congress authorizes their presence. Additionally, this joint resolution also dictates that the President must submit a risk report about the results of ceasing support operations in the conflict with Yemen and what the risk would be if Saudi Arabia were to cease sharing Yemen-related intelligence with the United States.
Other aspects of her voting record overall show that the majority of Sen. Harris’ attention is focused on domestic policies, specifically those related to poverty and civil rights. However, Sen. Harris will not let international affairs fall to the wayside. Her cosponsorship of select diplomacy-related bills reflects a thoughtful approach to foreign issues, and the statements made in the Global Citizen interview are supported by Sen. Harris’ congressional record. Only time will tell how Kamala Harris’ foreign policy platform will transform in the wake of a Presidential campaign.