Global Poverty Act Crucial Measure for Homeland Security
Released on: August 13, 2008, 10:19 am
Press Release Author: Caroline for the borgen Project
Press Release Summary: Global Poverty Act would cut global poverty in half by 2015, bring stability to poor countries and improve the United States international diplomacy efforts
Press Release Body: SEATTLE - July 8th 2008 - The Global Poverty Act is arguably the most important bill that you've never heard of. The landmark legislation introduced in the Senate by Sen. Barack Obama calls on the president to "develop and implement a strategy for cutting global poverty in half by 2015."
In September, the Global Poverty Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives and the bill has passed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The success of the Global Poverty Act in Congress is being driven in no small part by national security interest and the need to protect the United States.
"You can't have half of the world's population living in severe poverty and not expect it to bite you in the butt," said Clint Borgen, President of the The Borgen Project. "We've seen a great awakening occur over the last two years."
Borgen said military leaders have been calling on Congress and the White House to step up efforts to combat global poverty in the interest of national security, diplomacy and international relations.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates made history in November when he called on Congress to increase the Foreign Aid Budget. Gates stated the nation must devote more resources to "soft power."
During a speech in April, the Defense Secretary reiterated the need for "elements of national power beyond the guns and steel of the military - from diplomacy to economic development and assistance."
The National Security Strategy of the White House states, "a world where some live in comfort and plenty, while half of the human race lives on less than $2 a day, is neither just nor stable."
Poverty is without question the biggest issue facing humankind. It is also one of the easiest issues to address. With the help of wealthy nations many countries have drastically reduced severe poverty. During the 1990's hunger was cut in half in China. From India to Vietnam progress is being made and the Global Poverty Act would ensure that the United States is utilizing the most efficient strategies to combat the problem.
Polls show that American's drastically overestimate how much the U.S. gives in foreign aid. On average American's believe 25 percent of the federal budget goes to foreign aid. In reality poverty-focused foreign aid accounts for less than one percent of the federal budget.
The Global Poverty Act passed in the House with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans. Currently, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is blocking the bill from passing in the Senate. Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma has placed a hold on the bill; blocking it, along with over 80 other bills ranging from solving civil rights crimes to protecting children from sex offenders, from passing in the Senate.
The Global Poverty Act: * Declares it official U.S. policy to promote the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme global poverty in half by 2015. * Requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to carry out that policy. * Includes guidelines for what the strategy should include - from aid, trade, and debt relief, to working with the international community, businesses and NGOs, to ensuring environmental sustainability. * Requires that the President\'s strategy include specific and measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and timetables. * Requires the President to report back to Congress on progress made in the implementation of the global poverty strategy.
The Global Poverty Act does not allocate any funding.
The Borgen Project is bringing U.S. political attention to severe poverty. The Seattle-based organization operates on a national level meeting with congressional leaders and mobilizing public support for poverty-reduction legislation. The Borgen Project has been an innovator in using web-based strategies to mobilize thousands of people across the country behind the cause.