Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Global Poverty Act and want to take a moment to explain the profound need for this important piece of legislation.

Nearly 2.7 billion people in the world live on less than $2 a day. Close to a billion people live on less than $1 a day. Vast numbers of people wake up every morning wondering whether they or their children will live to see the end of the day. Poverty leads to widespread disease and instability, and in a world with such vast resources, its existence is absolutely immoral. And yet, the United States has not stated that reducing global poverty and eliminating extreme global poverty are among the foremost goals of our foreign policy, nor have we implemented a comprehensive plan to reach these goals.

H.R. 1302 declares it official U.S. policy to promote the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the U.N. Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme global poverty in half by 2015. This bill requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to carry out this policy. It includes guidelines for what the strategy should include from aid, trade, and debt relief to working with the international community, businesses, and NGOs to insuring environmental sustainability. The bill also requires the President's strategy include specific and measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and timetables. Lastly it requires that the President report back to Congress biannually on the progress made in the implementation of the strategy.

To be clear, Americans are working to address global poverty. The President implemented the Millennium Challenge Account to make sure countries don't just get foreign aid but use it wisely. Other significant steps forward include funding the PEPFAR effort and AIDS treatment and prevention in Africa. The United Nations set out the Millennium Development Goals and the G-8 set global poverty as its priority a couple years ago. Groups like the Gates Foundation, RESULTS and Bread for the World and a large number of other organizations combat global poverty from every conceivable angle. The world is coming together as it never has before to combat this menace, but in the U.S. no overarching strategy guides the allocation of resources.

The United States of America should be not just a leader, but the leader in this effort. We are in a position, I believe, to consolidate those resources, to get the maximum return on our effort to relieve global poverty. This bill would bring much-needed strategic vision and accountability to our efforts to address what is arguably the greatest challenge facing the world community today.

I want to thank a large number of people for bringing the Global Poverty Act to the floor. House Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) has been a tremendous leader on these issues and has been very helpful in this particular piece of legislation, as has Ranking Member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and the Republicans on the committee. This is a bipartisan effort. I especially want to thank Congressman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) who joined me as an original co-sponsor.

It is very important that we adopt this legislation and help the U.S. take this leadership role. I believe if we do so we'll be better able to combat global poverty and be better able to build alliances throughout the world. This new policy will let the world know that the United States wants to use its power for the betterment of the entire world and that we want to work with the international community to solve the greatest crisis facing our world today.