House Foreign Affairs Committee Approves Global Poverty Measure
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday approved by voice vote a bill (HR 1302) that would make it a stated U.S. policy to reduce poverty worldwide, CQ Today reports. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), would require the U.S. to develop a strategy to fight global poverty with the aim of reducing by half the number of people between 1990 and 2015 who live on less than $1 daily. Components of the strategy would include sustained investment in U.S. initiatives on HIV/AIDS and malaria, as well as the Millennium Challenge Account and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, according to CQ Today (Gensheimer, CQ Today, 7/31).
The bill also would require the president to establish a foreign aid policy that incorporates all agencies administering such aid. The measure would use the U.N. Millennium Development Goals -- which include reducing the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and eradicating poverty and hunger -- as a guideline to meet its targets. In addition, the measure would require the State Department to provide Congress with annual progress reports (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/31). The bill also would include strategies for improving development aid; expanding debt relief; leveraging trade policy and the role of businesses; and coordinating global poverty reduction with other development goals, including fighting the spread of diseases (CQ Today, 7/31).