Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Global Poverty Act: Is your senator a co-sponsor?

The Global Poverty Act has passed through the Senate Foreign Relations committee and will move to the Senate floor soon.

This is the legislation that would make the eradication of extreme poverty an objective of US foreign policy. It would be the first time the Millennium Development Goals appeared in US law. It would require a coordinated effort of government agencies (including Treasury, Commerce, Ag Dept, etc) to make sure the efforts to alleviate poverty are not undercutting each others programs. In the push for "more and better" poverty-focused development aid, this act is the "better" part of that equation.

Here is a list of the 10 senators who are co-sponsoring the GPA. Obama is listed as "sponsor" and introduced it into the Senate with a couple of others...

Sen. Barack Obama [D-IL]
Sen. Joseph Biden [D-DE]
Sen. Maria Cantwell [D-WA]
Sen. Christopher Dodd [D-CT]
Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL]
Sen. Russell Feingold [D-WI]
Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D-CA]
Sen. Charles Hagel [R-NE]
Sen. Richard Lugar [R-IN]
Sen. Robert Menéndez [D-NJ]

If your senators are among them, a thank you note would be appropriate if you are so inclined. If they are would be a good time to write them a hand-written personal letter making sure they are aware of this legislation soon to be voted upon and that you care about it.


JosephPadgett said...

Foreign Policy? Ninja, Please!?!?!?!

What about domestic policy? What about that gun to my head taking my money and giving it to some poor guy somewhere? I mean, seriously, shouldn't that be my choice? Not the government. Give me a break! This is CRAP! Our government can't eradicate poverty here, much less else where. Besides, that's not even the purpose of government.

CCYL said...

Thank you for your comments and recognition of my fine, but little mentioned, martial arts skills!

I do believe our government can eradicate poverty here, not that you would know it from our latest actions. But that's a distraction from the matter at hand. The Global Poverty Act does not impose any sort of tax or allocate any funds. It's passage would mean that the next president would make a plan to address global poverty which absolutely should be the role of our government. If not for any moral reasons, then for the fact that isolationist policies of shipping out armed conflict instead of food and medicine is going to make us targets. Some assume that assistance has to come out of poor US citizens wallets, but there are many places it could come from. For example, waste within the development system itself is one place (the GPA would also mean streamlining development programs that currently sometimes work at cross purposes) and a horribly out-of-date and imbalanced US farm subsidy system is another. Fixing that last example could not only help "that poor guy somewhere", but put more money back into the pockets of "poor guys" right here living off of food stamps and pantries.

I am highly concerned about domestic policy and invite you to read my many posts about how the re-authorization of the US Farm Bill could help global and domestic poverty...especially, the letters and interviews by David Beckmann who is especially eloquent on the topic.

CCYL said...

I was thinking about this last night and thought I should amend my comment regarding our government. The government can only go so far to eradicate poverty, but it can't do so alone. It will require a movement of individuals, charities, religious orgs and corporations. And those groups can't get at the job without federal cooperation and the US working with other countries. It's a thorny problem and I should have been clearer that gov't alone, is not the answer!