Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) on Thursday, June 9th 2005, successfully attached language to the State Department Authorization for FY 2006 and 2007 urging the U.S. to do more to address global poverty.

Due to Smith’s efforts, the House International Relations Committee, of which Smith is a member, agreed to include language declaring that the elimination of extreme global poverty should be a top priority of U.S. foreign policy. It also says the U.S. should work with all the players involved, including developing countries, donor countries and multilateral institutions to coordinate policy to address global poverty. Finally, the language urges the President to develop a comprehensive strategy to eliminate global poverty, which should include foreign assistance, foreign and local investment, technical assistance, private-public partnerships and debt relief.

Smith has been deeply focused on the issue of global poverty and in March, 2005 he participated in the Trade and Poverty Forum in Nagoya Japan.  The forum brought together leaders from the business, political and NGO communities to develop strategies for combating poverty.  Smith understands that our nation must make a greater commitment to poverty alleviation and view these efforts as an investment that can foster global stability and security, build alliances throughout the world and reduce the sense of hopelessness that drives so many extremist organizations like the al Qaeda network.  He is committed to helping marshal the political and social will to address global poverty. 

“Global poverty is a destabilizing force around the world. I am pleased that my colleagues on the International Relations Committee also recognize that this is a very serious issue and that the United States has a moral obligation and a strategic need to help eradicate global poverty.”

 The State Department language is one more step in Smith’s broader efforts on this issue.  Smith plans to introduce a broader House Resolution this week that will call for a comprehensive study that will detail the American strategy for addressing poverty.