Things Democrats and Republicans Agree on About Global Poverty
Both houses of Congress are experiencing a debilitating degree of polarization in 2017. The Washington Post called the 2016 political climate on Capitol Hill a ‘golden age of partisanship,’ one that is likely to become only more acrimonious as the already fractious 115th Congress progresses. However, when it comes to poverty, both sides of the aisle often find common ground. Here are five things Democrats and Republicans agree on about global poverty.

  1. The Importance of the Foreign Aid Budget
    In the wake of President Trump’s proposed major cut to foreign aid, both Democratic and Republican members of the Senate spoke out in support of the current level. Joining the chorus of Democratic opposition to the proposal, Senator Lindsay Graham (Republican, South Carolina) described any bill outlining cuts to foreign aid as ‘dead on arrival,’ citing the importance of American leadership in disaster relief.
  2. Poverty as a Threat to National Security
    One of the things Democrats and Republicans agree on about global poverty is the threat it poses to national security. In an op-ed in Politico co-written by John McCain (Republican, Arizona) and Tim Kaine (Democrat, Virginia), the senators emphasize how poverty breeds the conditions that lead to extremism and ultimately violence against Americans. To avoid future wars and protect American soldiers, the senators warn, foreign aid programs must be retained.
  3. Poverty Alleviation as Beneficial to Economy
    In a speech on the Senate floor last February, Marco Rubio (Republican, Florida) stressed how bringing developing nations out of poverty cycles allow them to participate in trade with American exporters and creates a bigger market for U.S. products. During his tenure as Secretary of State, John Kerry described foreign aid as “not charity, but an investment in a strong America.” He then cited how foreign aid allows new economic partnerships to flourish with developing nations.
  4. The Need to Protect the State Department’s Budget
    Nurturing the ‘soft power’ capabilities of the State Department is another thing both parties agree on. President Trump’s Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, urged the State Department’s budget be maintained, saying that, if it wasn’t, ‘I’m going to need to buy more ammunition.’ Many congressional Democrats are in concert with Mattis, among them Patrick Leahy (Vermont) who condemned any state department cuts as a retreat from American leadership in global affairs.
  5. Food Security is Paramount
    In 2016, the Global Food Security Act received widespread bipartisan support, a bill that gives the executive branch authority to create a global food security strategy. The 7 billion dollar allocation achieved 100 cosponsors in the House from both parties, a definitive example of both parties cooperating to tackle global poverty.

The things Democrats and Republicans agree on about global poverty show the potential that exists for a bipartisan approach to poverty alleviation. Despite the fractious atmosphere in Washington in 2017, a clear common interest to tackle poverty head-on is visible between Democrats and Republicans.

Jonathan Riddick
Photo: Flickr

When voting for your congressional leaders, it is important to know where they stand on certain issues. By knowing their stance, voters are able to make informed decisions when they flock to the polls. Being aware of both Democratic and Republican views also provides a certain amount of accountability to the politicians.

Often times when politicians campaign, they include a lot on their platforms that will get them elected. However, if constituents continually call, email and write their politicians about issues that concern them, they ensure a certain amount of accountability to those who got them elected.

Here are five quotes from Republican political leaders that highlight their views on world poverty and global health.


“We face very real and immediate challenges with malaria, air pollution, and HIV/AIDS today. For me, the health effects of climate change are inextricably intertwined with poverty. What we do today to provide clean water, clean energy, and public health infrastructure in the developing world will reduce poverty, combat the health problems that many face today, and will lessen any potential future health effects that may come about because of climate change.”

-Michael B Enzi, Senator of Wyoming


“An important part of protecting Americans here at home involves strengthening our relationships around the globe. America has an interest in helping raise people out of poverty around the globe, so that developing nations can become trade partners with us and mutually realize the benefits of economic freedom and commerce.”

-Terri Lynn Land of Michigan


“Issues like global health and reducing poverty in developing nations have an impact on Americans right here at home. The most recent example is the spread of the Ebola virus. We should be providing humanitarian aid to assist with disease treatment and prevention strategies in nations suffering from the Ebola outbreak. By doing so, we can improve our ability to control and treat diseases in a way that helps stabilize populations there while also protecting our citizens here in the United States. Also, by helping to enable developing nations and communities in Africa to engage in global and regional trade, the United States gains potential new partners to explore mutual economic growth interests with, meaning more jobs for West Virginia families.”

Shelly Moore Capito, Senator of West Virginia


“America’s leadership around the world is rooted by the generosity of our people, the strength of our economy, and the power of our ideas. We have the greatest workforce in the world. We have the most stable institutions. We have the best innovators and free-market economy. We have a Constitution that ensures liberty and justice for all. These are the many reasons millions around the world look to the United States of America for a greater level of hope, freedom, and economic prosperity in their own countries. As the next Senator from Georgia, I will promote economic growth and free trade because the best way for a nation to lift itself out of poverty is to partner with the United States in the free enterprise system.”

-David Perdue, Senator of Georgia


“Extreme poverty and preventable disease are issues that transcend our nation’s borders and must be addressed. I believe the United States must work to reduce global poverty while providing the resources to create growth and opportunity. As Iowa’s next U.S. Senator, I will work to ensure that our great nation has the capacity to provide aid and assistance in international health issues and crises.”

-Joni Ernst, Senator of Iowa


— Erin Logan

Sources: One, U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
Photo: Flickr

Top Five Republican Foreign Aid Quotes Condoleezza Rice Marco Rubio Mitt Romney Global Development
Not all Republicans are opposed to foreign aid, and even those who are, have much to say regarding its usage in the American budget. The following are five quotes from various Republican politicians regarding their views on foreign aid.

1. “It has been hard to muster the resources to support fledgling democracies–or to help the world’s most desperate… yet this assistance–together with the compassionate works of private charities–people of conscience and people of faith–has shown the soul of our country.” – Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice (2012 Republican Convention)

2. “But too often our passion for charity is tempered by our sense that our aid is not always effective. We see stories of cases where American aid has been diverted to corrupt governments. We wonder why years of aid and relief seem never to extinguish the hardship, why the suffering persists decade after decade. Perhaps some of our disappointments are due to our failure to recognize just how much the developing world has changed. Many of our foreign aid efforts were designed at a time when government development assistance accounted for roughly 70 percent of all resources flowing to developing nations. Today, 82 percent of the resources flowing into the developing world come from the private sector. If foreign aid can leverage this massive investment by private enterprise, it may exponentially expand the ability to not only care for those who suffer, but also to change lives.” – 2012 Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney (in an address to the Clinton Global Initiative, 2012)

3. “For development to play its full role in our national security structure, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) must be a strong agency with the resources to accomplish the missions we give it. But during the last two decades, decision-makers have not made it easy for USAID to perform its vital function. Even as we have rediscovered the importance of foreign assistance, we find ourselves with a frail foundation to support a robust development strategy. I believe the starting point for any future design of our assistance programs and organization should not be the status quo, but rather the period in which we had a well functioning and well-resourced aid agency.” – Senator Dick Lugar (Statement on Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act, 2009)

4. “Foreign aid is also an important part of America’s foreign policy leadership. While we certainly must be careful about spending money on foreign aid, the reality is that it is not the reason we have a growing debt problem.” – Senator Marco Rubio (Foreign Policy address at the Jesse Helms Center, 2011)

5. “But I would just tell my fellow citizens and people from South Carolina, I want to shape the world the best we can rather than just follow the world and if you don’t believe military force is the answer to every problem, which I don’t, then we need an engagement strategy, and sometimes investing in a country at the right time can pay dividends.” – Senator Lindsey Graham (in a hearing, 2008)

– Samantha Davis


Read global poverty quotes

Sources: Wall Street JournalVote SmartUSGLC
Photo: Flickr