Now that the polls have closed and the election results are in, one question is on all of our minds here at Global Poverty Project: What do the election results mean for United States’ foreign policy?
The switch in the House from a Democratic majority to a Republican majority does not look promising for the United States global engagement. In a New York Times Article, Gordan Adams, a professor in the US Foreign Policy Program at the School of International Service at American University, hypothesizes that both the Berman agenda* and President Obama’s plan to double the amount of money spent on foreign aid while in office will be thrown out of the window.
Additionally, Marc Ginsberg, former United States ambassador and senior vice president of APCO worldwide, wrote in an article published in the Huffington Post that Congress’ focus will be on eliminating the U.S. deficit. This will drastically lessen the amount of money spent by the U.S. on foreign aid and assistance.
While this news can be discouraging, it is vitally important that we remain hopeful. The newly elected Congress is not sworn into office until January, but we are already taking action. You can, too, in the form of writing to your newly elected representatives and senators and voicing your opinions about U.S. foreign policy and foreign aid. If enough people write to Congress about the importance of foreign aid, we can see results—results that could increase U.S. foreign aid and help to take a step towards the elimination of extreme poverty and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Foreign aid and policy are bipartisan issues, and always will be. During George W. Bush's administration, PEPFAR (the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for Aid Relief) was put into effect, guaranteeing $15 billion over a 5 years to combat HIV/AIDS worldwide. It was the largest sum of money given to this epidemic by any government or governmental institution, sponsoring several programs and educational initiatives that are benefiting the achievement of the fourth (reduce child mortality), fifth (improve maternal health), and sixth (combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases) Millennium Development Goal. As we can see, both parties have taken initiative in trying to eliminate extreme poverty. Let us make sure that they continue to do so.
To learn more about who your newly elected representatives and senators are and their politics, go to http://aol.it/clk6bn
On this website, you can also search, by state, who your new representatives and senators are and methods of contact.
*A comprehensive foreign aid reform bill that would replace the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, proposed by Representative Howard Berman (D-CA).