Parliamentary System Versus the Presidential System

A nation’s type of government indicates how its executive, legislative and judicial levels are organized. There are various constitutional structures of national government throughout the world. The most popular models are the presidential system and the parliamentary system. Both systems are democracies, meaning that citizens have the power to make governmental decisions through their vote. It is critical for citizens to understand the differences between these two systems of government so that they understand the full potential of their votes, as well as their representation. To better understand the parliamentary system versus the presidential system, it’s important to examine how these systems operate within each branch of government.

The Executive Branch

Presidential systems have an executive branch that consists solely of the president. The president is an individual elected by citizens to be head of government and state for a maximum of two terms in office. The President is independent of the legislative branch. Some common responsibilities of the president are to:

  • execute and enforce laws of Congress,
  • sign the legislation into law,
  • veto bills enacted by Congress and
  • conduct diplomacy with foreign nations.

In contrast, parliamentary systems have a clear distinction between the head of government and head of state. In this system, the head of government and parliament is the Prime Minister. Rather than participating in a general election, Parliament elects the Prime Minister. Citizens elect the members of Parliament. Additionally, Parliament makes up the legislative branch of government.

The Prime Minister typically has no limit to the time they can stay in office. However, this means that they are dependent on the satisfaction of Parliament, which has the power to remove the Prime Minister from power. This can be accomplished through a no-confidence vote.

Meanwhile, within a parliamentary system, the head of state may be an elected president. But, the head of state is also commonly a hereditary monarch and acts as a figurehead for the nation.

The Legislative Branch

The legislative branch of the parliamentary system versus the presidential system may either be unicameral or bicameral. Unicameral contains one house, whereas two houses make up a bicameral system. A bicameral legislative system consists of a lower house and upper house. The lower house is where most law-making occurs. Many governments opt for a two-house legislative branch to avoid the concentration of power in one body and ensure the federal government is held accountable.

In presidential systems, the legislative branch will write law for a president to ultimately approve. Though the president may suggest laws, it is ultimately the legislative branch that will write them. In contrast, a Prime Minister will write laws along with the legislature and pass them.

The Judicial Branch

Judicial systems across parliamentary system versus the presidential system have a similar structure. Their structures are similar in that they both strive to create a separation of powers between the judiciary branch and other branches of government. However, the exact structure of these systems varies widely across various countries.

Is One Better Than The Other?

Both forms of government are organized in such a way that they both have various strengths. Due to the vote of no-confidence, it is easy to end the term of a Prime Minister within a parliamentary system. Meanwhile, it is much harder to impeach a president. However, Prime Ministers are dependent on the legislature. In contrast, presidents are completely independent of their legislative branches. They are able to make decisions that they believe are best in the nation’s interest without the influence of outside parties.

Despite all the differences between the parliamentary system versus the presidential system, it is ultimately the members of a nation who hold power. By voting, citizens can express their voice and effect change in their respective countries, no matter their system of government.

– Shreya Gaddipati
Photo: Flickr

The United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Many in the U.S. feel that is their job to help those in poverty stricken countries. Currently, there are  five bills in legislation that affect global poverty.

International Affairs Budget:
One piece of legislation that affects global poverty is the International Affairs Budget. In March 2017, the Trump administration proposed a 31 percent cut to the State Department and USAID funding. This enormous cut has not been seen since World War II. Programs funded by the IAB create jobs here at home by opening new markets to U.S. businesses and protect our national security by fighting terrorism and preventing conflicts before they start. This piece of legislation that affects global poverty can help those in need.

AGOA and MCA Modernization Act
Another piece of legislation that affects global poverty is the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Millennial Challenge Corporation (MCC) Modernization Act. This legislation that affects global poverty has a rich history. This act has spurred economic development around the world. Strengthening these programs furthers the U.S. position of international leadership and strengthens our domestic economy while protecting our national security interests.

Protecting Girls’ Access to Education in Vulnerable Settings Act
The lack of education for girls in developing countries can hinder their ability to find jobs, engage in civil society and access other economic opportunities. This piece of legislation that affects global poverty can help. This act will prioritize efforts to support access to primary and secondary education for displaced children with a specific focus on the inclusion of women and girls in foreign assistance programs.

Economic Growth and Development Act
The Economic Growth and Development Act seeks to boost market-based economic growth in developing countries. This legislation that affects global poverty also creates opportunities for the U.S. private sector to become more involved in foreign assistance programs by improving planning and coordination among U.S. departments and agencies.

Global Health Innovation Act
The last legislation that affects global poverty can help significantly. Each year, millions of people in the developing world die of infectious diseases, malnutrition and complications due to pregnancy and childbirth. This act seeks to require the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to submit an annual report to Congress on the development and use of global health innovations in the programs, projects and activities of the Agency.

If you feel strongly about any of these issues, visit the and email your local congressmen.

Paige Wilson

Photo: Flickr

a Highly Successful Advocate
A successful advocate stirs up support for policies, legislation and public causes through civil education, awareness campaigns and lobbying with key decision-makers.

Here are five things that can make any advocacy campaign more effective:

1. Understanding Your Cause
A highly successful advocate understands the ins and outs of their cause. In order to speak passionately and authoritatively on an issue for which you are advocating, you must ensure that you read up on it, interact with people who understand and have experienced it and keep abreast of current affairs related to it.

Advocacy is a full-time job and whenever you are interacting with other people or legislators, you have an opportunity to tell them about your campaign, so it really helps if you can converse comfortably about it.

2. Creating Public Awareness
A cause that people know nothing about is doomed to fail.

A highly successful advocate must, therefore, mount vigorous awareness campaigns around their cause. In this day and age of information proliferation through the Internet, social media has become one of the best ways to reach out to more people instantaneously. Creating online petitions and being very active on social media sites is a great way for an advocate to engage followers.

Writing letters to editors of different newspapers is another means of putting your cause in the limelight. It is also important to blog and consistently publish articles around issues or legislation you are supporting. A successful advocate will also ensure that they network with people who are supporters of the cause.

3. Consistently Calling and Emailing Congressional Leaders
Did you know that every time you call or email your congressional leaders in support of a piece of legislation, it is recorded and viewed by your elected official every week?

Most legislators want to know as many of their constituents’ issues as possible; therefore, to be a successful advocate, you must set aside time each week to consistently call and email legislators to tell them about the cause you support.

4. Meeting Elected Officials
According to the American Planning Association, meeting in person with elected leaders or their legislative staff is one of the most effective means of political advocacy.

When going for lobbying meetings, it is important that you are well prepared in advance by knowing the specific problem you want to tackle and requesting a specific action or solution from the representative that you are meeting. You should also demonstrate that the issue you are presenting has an organized group of supporters.

After the visit, ensure that you follow up by sending a thank-you note and tracking how the legislator responds to the issue.

5. Fundraising
A highly successful advocate ensures that they are not strapped for cash when running their campaigns. It is important, therefore, to raise the capital that will allow you to regularly meet elected officials and key decision-makers, make phone calls and generally support overhead costs required to run your advocacy campaign.

– June Samo

Sources: American Planning Association, Government and Community Relations, Salsa, TASCO, The Advocacy Project, WFP
Photo: Flickr

Legislation is one major factor that keeps the United States strong. Without rules and regulations, we simply wouldn’t be the United States. That being said, the year 2015 has been chock full of legislation plans.

In order to be a well-informed citizen, it is important to keep an eye on the current legislation that is in review by the government. The following list will showcase just a few of the many important happenings within Congress.

1. Affordable Care Act

For the nation’s endlessly controversial health care law, 2015 initially looks a little bit like 2012, with lots of uncertainty hinging on a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. States that want to get a head start against the possibility of disruption will have to act quickly.

2. Global Food Security Act

In the last 24 years, we have seen the number of undernourished people in the world go down by 209 million people. Out of that 209 million, 203 million came from “developing regions.” This act would enable our government to craft a comprehensive strategy to enable food security, utilizing the funds, personnel and brainpower of at least 11 different departments and agencies. These organizations would then collaborate with others around the world to advance innovative, cost-effective plans with strong accountability mechanisms.

3. Food for Peace Reform Act

The bill eliminates monetization of the international food market, which GAO has previously criticized as “inefficient” and unsustainable for the recipient’s market. Removing monetization would allow U.S. aid to reach an additional 800,000 people while freeing up to $30 million per year. Under the current process, 25 cents is lost on every taxpayer dollar spent.

4. International Affairs Budget

The International Affairs Budget makes up only a mere one percent of the U.S. federal budget, but impacts all aspects of life in America. These funds are imperative for helping the world’s poor, and as global citizens, we must back initiatives that can save millions of lives both domestically and abroad.

5. School Testing

When governors and state school officials released the Common Core curriculum standards four and a half years ago, the new program was touted as a fair and accurate way to measure student achievement across state lines and cultivate the analytical skills that many argue American children will need in order to compete on a global scale.

This legislation is in no order of importance, as they are all equal in importance to help the United States facilitate positive growth both domestically and internationally.

Alysha Biemolt

Sources: Governing, Borgen Project
Photo: The Whitehouse

Legislation in Ugandan parliament threatens to undermine the work and transparency of the country’s aid organizations. The bill, described by opponents as “draconian,” will put the power of aid organizations in the hands of the government. It will add restrictions and control measures that will essentially put NGOs under work for the government rather than an apolitical frame. Particularly in areas such as government accountability and humanitarian rights, NGOs are under threat of total government control.

The bill, as outlined, would limit the growth of NGOs in Uganda, which have “led to subversive methods of work and activities, which in turn undermine accountability and transparency.” According to junior minister James Baba, the bill has been made to ensure NGOs do not introduce immoral Western practices into the country. “Some of these organizations are involved in our politics and championing morals that are against our culture, which is totally unacceptable. They have to operate in the respective areas we licensed them for easy supervision and monitoring.”

Others, such as Rama Omonya, a policy coordinator at Oxfam in Uganda, say the resolution will strictly limit the work NGOs will be able to do. It will give power to the internal affairs minister and national NGO board to supervise, inspect, restrict and dissolve all NGOs functioning in the country. Furthermore, NGOs could only work in areas where they have been approved by district NGO governing boards and with whom they have signed a memorandum of understanding. In the event of an emergency such as a landslide, NGOs would have to seek the approval of the district undergoing turmoil before working there, wasting valuable time and supplies and leaving many people suffering while waiting for the help and resources of aid organizations. If an NGO does not renew its permit, it can be fined or punished for up to eight years. Officials would have the right to search NGO office at any time and dissolve or suspend its work for actions they deem inappropriate or anti-government.

The subjective nature of this new bill would put NGOs at risk and under the strict control of the government. Humanitarian organizations and watchdog civil service organizations in particular need freedom and independence from government supervision in order to report crises and send aid to the communities that need it. According to Omonya, these organizations are vital to the welfare of many living in Uganda and should be given expanded, not restricted powers.

Beyond delivering aid and human service, NGOs in Uganda also provide education, healthcare and human rights reporting. Under the guise of the government, its power and aid potential would be severely curtailed. The accountability and transparency the government claims it would be enforcing would indeed be lessened, restricting the well-being and humanitarian conditions of people in need of aid in Uganda.

Jenny Wheeler

Sources: NGO Forum, Irin News
Photo: Flickr

Earlier this month, U.S. Representative Matt Salmon of Arizona introduced a bill to prohibit any government agency from contributing to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on the grounds that the organization isn’t in line with America’s policy agenda.

The bill, H.R. 2678, is the fourth bill introduced by Salmon as a part of his “Shrink Our Spending Initiative,” a budget plan to cut what Salmon has deemed “wasteful taxpayer-funded programs.” It is also the second bill of its kind to go before Congress in the last 5 years.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund activities that aren’t in line with our national priorities,” said Salmon, calling the UNFPA a “pro-abortion organization,” according to a report.

But according to the United Nations Population Fund FAQ page, the UNFPA does not promote abortion as a method of family planning. Rather, it works to promote family planning measures such as the use of condoms and female birth control. However, the organization does work to address the impact of abortions on women’s health, and to assure that in nations where abortions are legal, it is safe and accessible.


Learn why the military is requesting that Congress better fund efforts to combat extreme poverty.


The UNFPA operates as a subsidiary of the United Nations General Assembly to address population and development issues. Started in 1969, the United Nations Population Fund now operates in 150 countries, and has been instrumental in reducing the complications of pregnancy and childbirth in developing nations.

Sexual and reproductive health problems are the leading cause of death and disability for women in developing nations, and according to the UNFPA, some 225 million women lack access to family planning measures.

The goal of the United Nations Population Fund is to assure that all women have access to safe and effective family planning measures and safe deliveries, and to make sure that every pregnancy is wanted.

In 2013, the United States was among the top 10 core donors to the United Nations Population fund, contributing nearly three percent of the UNFPA’s total contributions for the year. If H.R. 2678 passes, it will eliminate all government contributions to that total.

The bill regarding United Nations funding was first introduced on June 4, 2015 and has been referred to the House Committee on Foreign affairs. According to a Huffington Post report, the Committee has already approved a $150 million cut to family planning and reproductive health programs. Such program cuts may jeopardize the health of an estimated 225 million women in developing countries who lack access to safe family planning, according to Huffington Post.

Gina Lecher

Sources: UNFPA,, Sonoran News, Huffington Post
Photo: Hill Heat

ticking clockAs the expiration date for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) of 2000 approaches in September, members of Congress are calling for a rapid-fire renewal process to protect the work that AGOA has accomplished so far.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sander Levin (D-Mich.) have introduced The AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015 that will renew the act for ten years.

Originally signed into law in May of 2000, the AGOA was a bipartisan initiative intended to strengthen economic relations between the United States and Africa. By creating trade preferences for African products that allowed for duty-free entry into the United States, the AGOA sought to provide an exclusive economic partnership with budding African industries and American consumers. The Brookings Institution, a Washington, DC-based think tank, estimates that the AGOA has created several hundred thousand direct s in Africa—particularly in textiles.

Under the agreement, eligible African nations would receive “unlimited duty free and quota free access to the U.S. market for apparel made in Africa from U.S. fabric and U.S. thread.” Several African nations saw unprecedented growth in exports to the United States. For example,  Kenya saw a 1,375% increase in exports to the U.S. between 2000 and 2001.

“The legislation [AGOA] has helped transform the economic landscape for Sub-Saharan Africa by stimulating new trade opportunities for African and Americans businesses, creating new jobs, and investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” wrote a U.S. Administration 2002 report.

The AGOA was initially set to expire in 2008 until a new round of legislation pushed the expiration date back to September 2015.

In addition to the African jobs created by the AGOA, there are many American jobs dependent on the trade network that this legislation has formed. The United States Trade Representative has estimated that exports to Africa are responsible for more than 120,000 American jobs. The AGOA has provided a level of security that have lead to a four-fold increase in exports to Africa—something that helped to pay thousands of salaries stateside.

“This legislation will promote American trade and strengthen our economic ties with important countries,” said Sen. Paul Ryan in April. “It will encourage our friends in Africa and Haiti to pursue free enterprise and solidify the rule of law. This legislation demonstrates that more trade can create opportunity at home and promote our economic values abroad.”

Brookings has argued that uncertainty over the act’s renewal could halt the progress made so far by the AGOA. Without the stability of the legislation, textile factories are less likely to receive orders in enough time to produce clothing for a new season of shopping. In the void left by the AGOA, competing manufacturers like China will be eager to step in and soak up the businesses that were once protected by the AGOA.

Emma Betuel

Sources: WPI, IB Times, Brookings
Photo: Global Vison

Last year, the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) released its Transparency Index where the Millennium Challenge Corporation or MCC ranked first among 57 international aid organizations. While this merits a celebration for the U.S. in leading the pack, other U.S. agencies did not fare so well. The U.S. Treasury and USAID ranked 19th and 22nd respectively in the fair category, the Defense and State Departments ranked 27th and 40th respectively in the poor category and finally PEPFAR, a program from the State Department, ranked 50th in the very poor category. More importantly, in addition to the above mentioned there are 20 other U.S. agencies involved in providing foreign assistance that are not reporting to ATI or the Foreign Assistance Dashboard.

In their effort to make foreign aid spending more transparent, in 2013, both the House and the Senate introduced The Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act of 2013 (H.R.2638 & S.1271). Receiving strong bipartisan support, this bill promises to improve accountability, transparency and efficiency in foreign assistance programs. If signed into law, it would require the President to implement disclosure and reporting guidelines for all agencies providing aid. All data would be made public through the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, which the administration had already launched in 2010.

More recently, following the path towards more transparency in foreign assistance, the White House has revamped the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, to which until last year only as few as six agencies had posted their information. This shows a strong commitment by the Obama administration towards improving transparency, accountability and efficiency in foreign assistance.

However, while the promise of accountability, transparency and effectiveness is commendable, according the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network or MFAN, its success will greatly depend on strict enforcement measures. The absence of a clear timetable and the level of detail required from agencies to report their data makes for very inconsistent reporting. Moreover, MFAN has stated that linking the legislation more closely to the mission and work of IATI would provide for better and more useful information.

Notwithstanding some of the changes and efforts needed to bring about consistency, accountability and transparency in foreign aid, experts say we are on the right track. According to George Ingram, making foreign assistance data available is important on several levels. First, it helps donors and recipient countries make informed decisions. What is more, “it allows citizens to be better informed on government decisions and therefore better able to hold government accountable.”

At the citizen level, the benefits of an online hub for aid spending data are twofold. On one hand, it allows citizens to see for themselves how much of the national GDP is actually spent on foreign aid, instead of how much they think it is. On the other, it carries the promise of driving people to be more supportive of foreign aid assistance as they get a clear picture of how it is allocated and the global issues it is addressing.

Until now, one thing that remains clear is that everyone, from the White House to donors to the average citizen, can stand behind the idea of transparency. However, it is necessary to implement better guidelines and enforcement tools in order to achieve real transparency in foreign assistance.

– Sahar Abi Hassan

Sources: Brookings, Brookings, MFAN
Photo: Bayanihan

Although recent gains have been made in advancing equality for same-sex couples, the majority of the world’s countries do not have any legislation permitting same-sex marriage. As of 2014, only 16 countries have laws allowing same-sex marriage.  The majority of those countries are in Europe and South America, while the rest of the world struggles to gain ground for this meaningful right.

It is important to note, however, that legal recognition of gay couples varies from country to country and even within countries. Some countries provide full recognition of gay marriage, while other provide for limited civil union status, to even countries that criminalize same-sex marriage such as Uganda.

France legalized gay marriage after much effort and debate in May 2013, becoming the 14th country to do so. Despite more than 60% of France approving of same-sex marriage, the approval of same-sex marriage provoked acts of violence and protests that drew in hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country.

A prior law, the Pacte civile de Soldarité, allowed for civil unions between couples but did not provide the full benefits that marriage brings. Namely, the law did not confer similar treatment under the law for same-sex couples over inheritance issues and parenting rights.

The Netherlands was the first country to grant full legal recognition of same-sex marriage under the law when it passed a bill in 2001. One major difference between the treatment of same-sex couples and heterosexual couples lies in the birth of children. In the Netherlands, the biological father of the child is considered the father while their partner needs to adopt the child in order to obtain a co-parenting status.

In May 2013, a legal body in Brazil, the National Council of Justice, handed down a ruling effectively legalizing gay marriage. The ruling explicitly prohibited government officials from discriminating against same-sex couples by denying them the right to marry. Before this ruling, Brazil allowed for same-sex civil unions through its constitution, which permits “stable unions.” Stable unions gave many same-sex couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples, from the right to joint declaration of income tax, pension, property sharing, and inheritance.

In 2006, South Africa became the only country on the African continent to legalize same-sex marriage when it passed the Civil Union Act. This approval had its roots in the 1997 constitution that was the first to recognize sexual orientation as a basic human right. Despite this progressive legislation, some say homophobia in South Africa continues to be rampant, with famous South African soccer star Eudy Simelane killed in a hate-crime due to her sexual orientation.

– Jeff Meyer

Sources: Council on Foreign Relations, The New York Times
Photo: Illinois Observer


Foreign aid bills are easily overlooked amidst domestic policy issues that the general public perceives to have more immediate impact on everyday life in the United States. However, foreign aid, as well as fostering international community, often has vast domestic economic benefits. Following are four senate and house bills that seek to provide valuable foreign aid but also have vast potential to benefit the citizens of the United States.

1. S. 718: Increasing American Jobs Through Greater Exports to Africa Act of 2013 – This bill, sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, was introduced in April of this year. The bill aims to increase U.S. exports to Africa by 200 percent within the next ten years. The bill is a testament to the economic benefits foreign aid has both domestically and abroad. If passed, S.718 will create jobs in the United States by promoting development in impoverished African communities.

2. S. 1545: PEPFAR Stewardship and Oversight Act of 2013 – This bill, introduced in September, is sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. It is an amendment to the U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Act of 2003. If passed, the bill will implement several measures to more effectively combat global HIV/AIDS, especially among orphans and other children.

3. S. 960: Syria Transition Support Act of 2013 – This bill, introduced in May, is also sponsored by Senator Menendez. If passed, the bill will take several measures to foster stability in war-torn Syria. Among these are ensuring proper medical care for civilians and encouraging international humanitarian assistance. The bill is primarily concerned with providing much needed aid to innocent women and children victims of the civil war.

4. H.R. 3212: Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013 –This bill, introduced in September, is sponsored by Representative Christopher Smith of New Jersey. If passed, the bill will require the Secretary of State to produce an annual report on international child abduction. It would coordinate with foreign governments to provide assistance for parents seeking to resolve abduction cases.

The progress of these bills may be easily tracked at, as well as Congress’s official website.

– Matt Berg
Sources: GovTrack, Congress
Photo: Wikipedia



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.


email congress

Why Does Emailing Congress Matter?

Congressional staffers keep a tally of every issue that people in their district contact the leader about. This information goes into a weekly report that is viewed by the congressional leader and key staff. Just one email will get the issue or bill on your leader’s radar.

Top Legislative Priorities

Click on the issue you’d like to email your leaders in support of

Along with emailing, meet with your leaders to discuss this legislation as well.


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 116th Congress (2019-2020). The first link under each issue contains downloadable documents that you can leave behind during your lobbying meetings. The other links will provide more data, analysis and instructions on how to email Congress. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email [email protected]

Top Legislative Priorities


International Affairs Budget

The Problem: The White House has made it clear that they want to drastically cut funding to the International Affairs Budget and programs that improve living conditions for the world’s poor.

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

Coronavirus Response

The Problem: While recent bipartisan leadership saw the passage of a third emergency supplemental package, less than half of 1 percent of the total package was earmarked for international funding to fight COVID-19.

The Solution: An investment in global health security is an investment in U.S. national security. That is why Congress must provide at least $12 billion in the next emergency supplemental for the International Affairs Budget to fight COVID-19. This funding is essential to U.S. leadership in combating the COVID-19 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 at least $12 billion in the next emergency supplemental for the International Affairs Budget to fight COVID-19.”

End Tuberculosis Now Act

The Problem: As the global number of cases and deaths from coronavirus (COVID-19) grows each day, there is increased concern about its impact on current Tuberculosis (TB) efforts and the potential impact COVID-19 can have on people who have TB.

TB is the world’s most lethal disease. Even though it is a preventable, treatable and curable airborne infection, TB still kills more people worldwide than any other infectious disease. It is also the leading cause of death among people living with HIV/AIDS. 

The Solution: Slowing the spread of COVID-19 is crucial to combating TB. The End Tuberculosis Now Act significantly refocuses U.S. actions on prevention as part of the cure, addresses virulent drug-resistant strains of TB and provides support for the latest best practices and technologies in the areas of diagnosis and treatment.

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

Global Health Security Act

The Problems: As the global number of deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rise, 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”. He 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.”


Secondary Legislation

Girls’ Education/Women’s Empowerment

Keeping Girls in School Act

The Problem: Across the world, 130 million girls are not enrolled in school. Girls ages 10-19 are three times more likely than boys to be kept out of school, particularly in countries affected by conflict. 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.”

Girls LEAD Act

The Problem: Globally, about 132,000,000 adolescent girls between the ages of 6 and 17 are not enrolled in school. Moreover, women are largely underrepresented at all levels of public sector decision-making. Promoting adolescent girls and women’s education and pathway to political leadership will decrease the likelihood of child marriages, violence against women and promote the creation and maintenance of democratic societies.  

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.”

Malala Yousafzai Scholarship Act

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.

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


Mothers and Children

Global Child Thrive Act

The Issue: Early childhood development is the basis for sustainable development. Yet, today, around 250 million children in developing countries are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential due to poverty and stunting. For those who survive, the economic costs of underdevelopment are significant. Children who do not meet developmental milestones are expected to lose about 25 percent of their average yearly income when they join the labor force. In Africa alone, child stunting results in GDP losses of up to 11 percent per year.

The Solution: The bipartisan Global Child Thrive Act will strengthen U.S. leadership in advancing early childhood development globally. The bill expands the number of agencies over which the Special Advisor on Children in Adversity (created under the Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005) has authority to coordinate with as it relates to the implementation of early childhood development policies.

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

Reach Every Mother and Child Act

The Problem:

  • While deaths of mothers and children under five have been nearly cut in half in the last 25 years, approximately 800 women, almost entirely from developing countries, die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • The risk of a woman dying in childbirth is 47 times higher in Africa than in the United States, and more than 17,000 children under five years old will die each day of treatable conditions.

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.”

Security, Development and Economic Growth

Youth, Peace and Security Act

The Problem: About 50 percent of the 1.4 billion people in conflict-affected areas are under the age of 20. Despite the large population, youth lack adequate representation at the decision-making level, which undermines the impact of their community-level peacebuilding involvement. Moreover, as Rep. Grace Meng emphasizes, “it will be the young people who bear the burden of sustaining the peace…leading their society from reconciliation to prosperity.”

The Solution: The bipartisan Youth, Peace and Security Act will implement measures to increase youth participation in post-conflict decision-making.

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

United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act

The Problem: The Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras face alarming levels of violence and instability that cause economic and security challenges and contribute to migration from the region. Cutting U.S. foreign assistance to the Northern Triangle would be detrimental to programs that have made notable progress in stabilizing the region.

The Solution: The US-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act will support the people of Central America and strengthen U.S. national security by addressing the root causes of migration from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. 

What to say when calling Congress: “Hello, I’m a Borgen Project supporter and I would like you to support the United States-Northern Triangle Enhanced Engagement Act.”

Passed Legislation (2019)

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.

View Recent Bills that Passed


Time Remaining to Pass These Bills!

Legislation that doesn’t pass by the end of 2020 must be reintroduced.