Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Urgent Action Needed

Bread for the WorldThis is a blog about raising funds for social service agencies. It is not a political blog, but we must admit to ourselves that:

  1. Poverty is political.
  2. There is no reason that any of our organizations should exist. We should all be working to put ourselves out of business.
  3. Government responses to these situations are the only way to effect true change.
For that reason, I am passing on this important request from my friend Meredith Story Williams at Bread for the World. I encourage you to contact your senators today and ask them to cosponsor the Global Poverty Act (S.2433). If you are in Texas, our Senators are Hutchison and Cornyn.

Contact your senators today and ask them to cosponsor the Global Poverty Act (S.2433). Call your senator(s) at 1-800-826-3688 as soon as possible, but no later than July 25.

[Note- this is a special 800 number that connects to the US Capitol switchboard, where you will ask to be connected to your senator’s office]

BACKGROUND
As Congress approaches the end of the current legislative session, the Global Poverty Act (S. 2433) still awaits passage by the full Senate. This bill must be passed before the session ends, or the process will have to start all over again in the next Congress. The Global Poverty Act has already passed the full House and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; it is now time to push Senate leadership to move this bill to the floor for full Senate consideration.

The best way to make the case to leadership that the Global Poverty Act should be considered by the full Senate is to have a strong bipartisan list of senators cosponsoring the legislation. Presently, the bill has been cosponsored by 24 senators.

The Global Poverty Act seeks to bring clarity, coordination, and accountability to our foreign assistance programs. Currently, U.S. global development policies and programs are scattered across more than 25 different federal agencies. Increased coordination is sorely needed to be effective. The act would require the president to develop and implement a coordinated strategy of U.S. aid, debt relief, and trade policies to meet the goal of cutting by half the number of people who live on less than $1 a day by 2015. The legislation would require regular reports to Congress on U.S. efforts to fight extreme poverty.

The Global Poverty Act does not establish any new programs. Instead, it highlights the fact that extreme poverty won’t be solved by aid alone, but needs to be supported by good trade policy, debt cancellation, and public-private partnerships. These functions are currently scattered across the U.S. government. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the bill would cost less than $1 million to implement.

The Global Poverty Act (H.R. 1302) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Adam Smith (D-WA) and Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and collected 84 bipartisan cosponsors before it was passed on September 25, 2007. The Senate bill, S. 2433, was passed by the Foreign Relations Committee earlier this year and awaits the full approval of the Senate.

KEY POINTS:
  • Please cosponsor the Global Poverty Act.

  • With time running out on the legislative calendar, Senate leadership needs to see a robust list of cosponsors to move this important bill to the floor.

  • The Global Poverty Act seeks to bring clarity, coordination, and accountability to our foreign assistance programs has already passed through the House and has bipartisan support in the Senate.

  • Currently, U.S. global development policies and programs are scattered across more than 25 different federal agencies. The Global Poverty Act would require us to look at U.S. policies across these government departments to improve our development work and report back on progress to the Congress.

  • The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the bill would cost less than $1 million to implement. The senator should support this important bipartisan legislation.
Learn more here:
http://www.bread.org/