U.S. Rep. Adam Smith today announced that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved his Global Poverty Act, paving the way for its consideration by the full Senate.  Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden and Ranking Member Richard Lugar signed on as cosponsors, joining original Senate sponsors Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, and Maria Cantwell.

“Global poverty is one of the greatest moral and security challenges facing the world today. Nearly 2.7 billion people live on less than $2 a day and close to a billion live on less than $1 a day.  This bill represents a major advance in our effort to address global poverty.  After introducing this measure in the House for the past several years, I am pleased to see the Senate Foreign Relations Committee take significant steps toward its final passage,” Smith said.

The Global Poverty Act:

  • 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.
  • Requires the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to carry out that policy.
    Includes guidelines for what the strategy should include - from aid, trade, and debt relief, to working with the international community, businesses and NGOs, to ensuring environmental sustainability.
  • Requires that the President’s strategy include specific and measurable goals, efforts to be undertaken, benchmarks, and timetables.
  • Requires the President to report back to Congress on progress made in the implementation of the global poverty strategy.

Smith, along with U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), introduced the Global Poverty Act of 2007 in the House of Representatives on March 1, 2007.  The bill passed easily in the House by an overwhelming bipartisan vote on September 25, 2007.  The bill was introduced in the Senate on December 10, 2007.  Today the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the bill, clearing the way for its consideration by the full Senate. 

Video of Smith’s September 25, 2007 speech in favor of the Global Poverty Act can be found at http://www.house.gov/list/press/wa09_smith/morenews/globalpovertypass.html

Smith first introduced the Global Poverty Act in 2005.