Why Congressional Support for Foreign Aid Matters
Earlier this month, U.S. Republican Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) commended The Borgen Project, a non-profit organization geared towards fighting global poverty, for its work towards shining light on the prevalence of helping the world’s poor. The Republican Senator tweeted “Thanks to @BorgenProject for highlighting the importance of foreign aid”.
Why does this matter? Many Americans drastically overestimate the amount of funding the U.S. government provides for helping the world’s poor which leads to indifference and neglect to this subject. According to The Borgen Project, less than 1% of the federal budget goes to foreign aid which is responsible for tackling problems facing global health, education, economic growth and sustainability.
Assisting the people who suffer from extreme poverty in the global arena decreases international crime and helps businesses here at home by developing new global markets. With this in mind, there is a plethora of legislation that has been proposed to Congress to assist developing nations. Senator Isakson supported the Reach Every Mother and Child Act along with Florida’s own Republican Senator Marco Rubio to strengthen the U.S. government’s efforts to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and young children in developing countries. The Economic Growth and Development Act, introduced by Senator Isakson, aims to help aid recipients transition to trade partners with the U.S.
As The Borgen Project does not directly reach out to members of the private sector, the legislation the organization advocates for ensures private sector involvement. The Electrify Africa Act, for example, provides a framework for companies to invest in promoting energy access for millions in sub-Saharan Africa, without costing U.S. taxpayer dollars. The Borgen Project was one of the select organizations building support for the passage of this legislation in 2016, with almost 400 meetings with Congressional offices since the bill was first introduced and over 6,300 constituent emails to Congressional leaders.
When U.S. leaders take action, the rest of the world follows. As there is a plenty of work to do in the endeavor of helping the world’s poor, obtaining U.S. Congressional support is surely a great start.
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