U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) announced that H.R. 1302, the Global Poverty Act, had been favorably reported by the House Foreign Affairs Committee to the full House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 31, 2007.  The bill received broad bipartisan support within the committee and passed by a unanimous consent agreement.  H.R. 1302 codifies the reduction of global poverty as national policy and requires the Administration to create a strategy to support such a policy.  Smith sponsored the bill with U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.).

“More than a billion people live in extreme poverty.  That situation is immoral and a recipe for instability.  We have committed to the goal of reducing poverty as a country in various forms, though various programs and organizations, but we are not making adequate progress due to a lack of a unified strategy.  This bill will lead to more accountability and to more effective efforts in the fight against global poverty,” Smith said.

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.
  • 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 bi-annually on progress made in the implementation of the global poverty strategy.

Forty-one organizations have endorsed the legislation so far, including the ONE Campaign, the Borgen Project, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Oxfam America, RESULTS, and Bread for the World.

The bill must now be considered by the full House of Representatives.