Pandemics have no borders.

The Borgen Project’s top priority is to ensure a global response to the COVID-19 crisis. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 is crucial to combating extreme global poverty as it directly affects food security, WASH services and infectious diseases such as Tuberculosis. Now, more than ever, it is time to put pressure on Congress to recommit to U.S. leadership in global health security in order to defeat COVID-19 and prevent future pandemics.

Borgen Project

How to use this page: Here, you’ll find our legislative priorities for the 117th Congress (2021-2022). The first link under each issue contains a downloadable document that gives an overview of each bill. The other links will provide additional data, analysis and instructions on how to email Congress. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email [email protected]


Top Legislative Priorities

Coronavirus Response

The Problem: The latest relief package including $11 billion for foreign assistance funding approved by Congress is a critical step in the global response to COVID-19. However, at the current rate of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, low-income countries may not receive the vaccine for years to come, increasing the possibility of COVID-19 variants and extending the detrimental effects of the pandemic. For example, due to the pandemic’s impact on the global food system, 2020 and 2021 hunger levels could reach the highest they’ve been in over a decade. Additional resources are required now in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and the evolving secondary consequences of the pandemic.

The Solution: An investment in global health security is an investment in U.S. national security. That is why Congress must allocate funding to international assistance to fight COVID-19. This funding is essential to U.S. leadership in combating the pandemic globally and to protecting the health, security and economic interests of all Americans.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the COVAX initiative and further foreign assistance funding in any subsequent COVID-19 relief packages in order to combat the pandemic globally.”

International Affairs Budget

The Problem: The approval of $62.7 billion in funding for FY21 marks the fourth year that Congress rejected the proposed cuts to America’s development and diplomacy programs, demonstrating the importance of strengthening U.S. global leadership. While we celebrate these victories, more work remains to address the gaps in funding, especially as 265 million people globally are at risk of starvation due to the secondary socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to protect the International Affairs Budget.”


Global Health Legislation

MINDS Act

The Problem: According to the 2016 Global Burden Disease Study, 1 billion people suffered from mental health conditions or substance use disorders worldwide, and 75% of people living in low-and middle-income countries with mental health conditions did not receive any mental health treatment whatsoever. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the risk factors for mental health conditions globally, especially affecting children, as pandemic-related school closures have increased exposure to higher risks of trauma such as abuse, neglect and food insecurity.

The Solution:  Investments in mental health programs, including those specifically focused on the wellbeing of children, can help break the cycle of poverty abroad. The Mental Health in International Development and Humanitarian Settings (MINDS) Act is the first bill to address mental health and psychosocial support in U.S. global development assistance.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the MINDS Act.”

Global Health Security Act

The Problem: As more than 500,000 Americans and two and a half million people across the world have died from COVID-19, the U.S. needs to take the lead and invest in global responses to prevent future pandemics. Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11) stated, “diseases do not respect borders, and global health crises have immense security, economic and humanitarian consequences”. Rep. Connolly also explained that many nations are “underprepared to manage or control outbreaks”.

The Solution: The bipartisan Global Health Security Act is crucial to combating COVID-19. Overall, the bill will increase the U.S. government’s efforts to support epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevent threats of infectious disease outbreaks.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the Global Health Security Act.”

Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act

The Issue: Globally, 690 million people are undernourished including women and children. More specifically, women and expectant mothers’ nutrition is unacceptably low in the most vulnerable countries due to various factors, such as limitations to food access and gender inequality. All the while, 1 in 5 children suffers from malnutrition.

The Solution: In order to create lasting global change, it is essential to invest not only in education, health and economic empowerment, but to curb world hunger and malnutrition, especially for women and children. Improving women’s nutrition is imperative to ending malnutrition in all its forms. Providing these services and programs allows children the opportunity to contribute to their communities and become productive members of society in the future. Furthermore, for every $1 invested in global nutrition, there is an estimated $35 in economic return.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act.”


Women’s Empowerment Legislation

Girls LEAD Act

The Problem: Globally, the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have pushed nearly 743 million girls out of school, on top of the approximately 132,000,000 adolescent girls between the age of 6 and 17 who are already not enrolled in school. In addition, the secondary consequences of COVID-19 are projected to put an additional 2.5 million girls at risk of child marriage between 2020 and 2025, in addition to the 12,000,000 adolescent girls under 18 who will marry annually.

The Solution: The bipartisan Girls LEAD Act will implement measures to increase adolescent girls’ participation in democracy, human rights and governance.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the Girls LEAD Act.”

Keeping Girls in School Act

The Problem: Across the world, 132 million girls are not enrolled in school, and 743 million girls have seen disruption in their education due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Girls ages 10-19 are three times more likely than boys to be kept out of school, particularly in countries affected by conflict. Moreover, when girls reach adolescence, they are at a high risk of dropping out due to forced marriage, pregnancy or family pressure.

The Solution: The Keeping Girls in School Act empowers girls around the globe by increasing educational opportunities and economic security.

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the Keeping Girls in School Act.”

Reach Every Mother & Child Act

The Problem: Although the global number of deaths of mothers and children under 5 have been nearly cut in half in the last 25 years, approximately 800 women still die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. This number is amplified due to the effects of COVID-19, as an estimated 56,700 additional maternal deaths could occur over a six-month period without intervention.

The Solution:The bipartisan Reach Every Mother and Child Act will strengthen the U.S. government’s efforts to end the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and young children in developing countries,

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the Reach Every Mother and Child Act.”


Passed Legislation in the 116th Congress (2019-2020)

Global Fragility Act

Passed! Great work!

The Problem: Violence, instability and fragility in countries around the world threaten U.S. national security by creating environments in which terrorism, criminal activity and corruption thrive. Violent conflict is also driving global displacement and humanitarian crises, with 68 million people forcibly displaced around the world and 134 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

In the past decade, the U.S. Government has granted more than one-third of its foreign assistance to countries with ongoing violent conflicts. However, the U.S. lacks a coordinated long-term strategy for stabilizing violence-affected states and addressing the root causes of violence and fragility.

The Solution: The Global Fragility Act of 2019 would focus U.S. diplomatic, development and security efforts on preventing the root causes of violence and instability in countries around the world. 

End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act

Passed! Great work!

The Problem: Neglected Tropical Diseases cause the loss of up to 534,000 lives each year. They create an economic burden through productivity loss and health care costs and impede the ability to attend work, school or function at full capacity.

The Solution: The End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act will promote interagency cooperation and public-private partnerships, a successful example of which is the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) NTD Program.

Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act

Passed! Great work!

The Problem: Compared to the global rate of 40 percent, the rate of higher education enrollment for girls and women in Pakistan is just 9 percent. In addition, in Pakistan, less than 6 percent of women 25 and older attain a bachelor’s degree. This is despite the fact that economic returns for college graduates are the highest in the entire educational system–an average 17 percent increase in earnings per year of schooling.

The Solution: The U.S. already provides critical foreign assistance to Pakistani women. Since 2010, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded more than 6,000 scholarships for young women to receive higher education in Pakistan. The Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act ensures that the USAID Administrator awards at least 50 percent of the Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program to women for each of the calendar years 2020 through 2022.

View Recent Bills that Passed