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What are the requirements for serving in the House?
The House of Representatives is one of two chambers of Congress, which is the legislative branch of the federal government that is tasked with creating and passing national laws. Like the Senate, the House of Representatives was established by the U.S. Constitution. The House first convened in 1789. Today, the nation is witnessing the 115th United States Congress.

This current meeting of Congress will end in 2019, just after the new year. In anticipation of this upcoming changeover, congressional elections are taking place throughout the country later this year. In light of these elections, many people may be asking: what are the requirements for serving in the House?

Outlined by the Constitution, there are three simple requirements to serve in the House of Representatives. In order to become a representative, candidates must be:

  1. At least 25 years of age
  2. A citizen of the United States for at least seven years
  3. A resident of the state they wish to represent at the time of election

With the exception of the age minimum – which was initially set at 21, the voting age at the time – these requirements have remained largely unchanged. Of course, these criteria only partially answer the question, “what are the requirements for serving in the House?” Any additional requirements are established by the individual states. For instance, some states also require that House candidates live in the district that they intend to represent, while others do not.

Congress is the only branch of the federal government that is directly elected by the people. The House of Representatives is the largest Congressional body, and the Constitution dictates that seats in the House be allocated based on the population of each individual state. To ensure that representatives adhere to their namesake by representing the will of their electorate, the Constitution requires representatives to stand for election every two years, hence the 2018 midterm elections currently taking place.

Though the requirements for serving in the House are straightforward, the requirements for appearing on a ballot come with additional considerations. Specific ballot filing requirements are determined by the individual states. Generally, anyone who meets the Constitutional requirements and wishes to run for a seat in the House of Representatives must accumulate a certain number of signatures on a petition and/or pay registration fees to the state.

The road to election may be rigorous, but the barriers to entry into the race for a seat in the House are few. Anyone who meets the three Constitutional requirements and the criteria of their state of residence is free to campaign to serve within the House of Representatives.

– Chantel Baul

Photo: Flickr

Senator Cory BookerWith people looking ahead to the 2020 presidential election, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is in the spotlight for many Americans. Advocacy for foreign aid and establishing good relations with other countries have been prioritized in his campaign and throughout his congressional leadership. This advocacy is reflected in his speech, campaigning and most importantly, his sponsorship and co-sponsorship of several bills.

AGOA & MCA Modernization Act

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Millennium Challenge Act (MCA) have already gone into effect and have been successful in sub-Saharan African countries. Senator Booker supports updating these acts, which will enhance the successes the U.S. is seeing from the original laws. Modernizing these programs will benefit the U.S. by increasing transportation, communication and energy networks, and will open the U.S. market to these sub-Saharan African countries.

READ Act

As a Rhodes Scholar recipient, it is not surprising that Senator Booker cares deeply about education. Booker co-sponsored the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act (READ Act) to support the right to basic education in developing nations. The READ Act partners with impoverished nations to develop a quality curriculum, stabilize the education system and help children become successful in literacy and numeracy. Achieving these goals will increase the number of skilled workers in the future, which will benefit the nation’s development.

Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2018

Another example of Senator Booker’s interest in humanitarian and foreign aid is his co-signing of the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2018. This bill calls for U.S. action and aid regarding the thousands of displaced Rohingya people of Burma. Booker agrees that the U.S. should invest $104 million of foreign aid in Burma to help the victims of the Burmese civil war, restore the nation’s economy and establish democracy in the nation. It will also call for those responsible for crimes against humanity to be held accountable.

Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act of 2017

Senator Booker and several other senators, both Republican and Democrat, co-signed the Syrian War Crimes Accountability Act of 2017. This bill would hold Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad accountable for his war crimes and brutalities against Syrian people over the last seven years. As stated on his official website, Booker sees the issue of violent extremism, whether foreign or domestic, as a priority issue for Congress.

Combating Global Corruption Act of 2017

The Combating Global Corruption Act of 2017 aims to decrease corruption in designated countries. Many countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, struggle with government corruption and very little is being done about it. Senator Booker has already expressed his concern for the ongoing political crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, so it comes as no surprise that he co-signed this bill to alleviate global corruption.

As a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Senator Booker supports several foreign policy and aid bills that The Borgen Project advocates for. His hard work, advocacy and relentless fight for humanitarian aid and foreign relations for the U.S. make Senator Cory Booker one of the most popular junior senators America has seen.

– Courtney Hambrecht

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nita Lowey

Representative Nita Lowey has been a key Congressional proponent for prioritizing educational opportunity in foreign aid and development programs. She is an outspoken advocate for women, children and families, championing issues related to education in the United States and abroad.

Currently serving her 15th term in Congress representing New York’s 17th district, Rep. Lowey was the first woman to serve as a Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Nita Lowey, along with Congressmen Dave Reichert, introduced the Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act, to enhance transparency and accelerate the impact of U.S. basic education programs around the world. The READ Act passed into law on September 8, 2017.

The READ Act calls for:

  • Engagement with key partner countries and nongovernmental institutions to promote sustainable, quality basic education.
  • A comprehensive, integrated U.S. strategy that improves educational opportunities and addresses key barriers to school attendance, retention and completion for the poorest children worldwide.
  • A senior coordinator within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to oversee the education aspects of foreign aid.
  • An annual report to Congress on the implementation of the basic education strategy and progress achieved by USAID programs.

Worldwide, more than 263 million children and youth are out of school. In addition, 250 million primary school age children are lacking basic literacy and numeracy skills. Studies have shown that for every year a girl stays in school, her future income increases by 15 to 25 percent.

Rep. Nita Lowey strongly believes that prioritizing education around the world will “ultimately protect vulnerable children from poverty, disease, hunger and even extremism.”

On why the READ Act is such an important piece of legislation, Rep. Lowey’s Press Secretary Mike Burns told The Borgen Project:

“Without a doubt, education is the greatest force multiplier in foreign aid. The READ Act will enhance our global education efforts, removing barriers to education for those out of school and improving the quality of education for those already enrolled. Prioritizing education around the world will not only help students learn to read and write—it will ultimately help protect vulnerable communities from hunger and disease and increase economic advancement, particularly for girls and women.

“Simply put, by putting education at the center of our efforts, this bill moves us further down the path to building the world we want for ourselves and for future generations. This is a tremendous bipartisan achievement.”

Rep. Nita Lowey continues to be a leading Congressional proponent of educational opportunity, a leading international role for the United States, health care quality and biomedical research, stricter public safety laws, environmental protection, women’s issues, national security and improved homeland security preparedness.

– Sydney Lacey

Photo: Google

BUILD Act Introduced to House Committee on Foreign AffairsOn February 27, Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) led a bipartisan effort that brought H.R. 5105, otherwise known as the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act, to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Modernizing U.S. Foreign Aid

The goal of this bill is to make foreign aid programs more efficient through consolidation. The BUILD Act specifically targets development finance programs or foreign aid programs that assist other countries financially. The bill will consolidate all these foreign aid programs into one corporation that will be called the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC).

“By streamlining our current system, we will not only spark economic growth in developing countries; we will improve America’s global competitiveness,” Rep. Yoho said in a press release.

Economic Assistance

These development finance programs are a vital part of foreign aid because they help to make a country economically stronger. Once a country’s economy is healthy, the country will no longer depend upon the U.S. for foreign aid.

The text of the BUILD Act states that the goal of the IDFC will be to primarily assist countries with low and lower-middle income level economies, as outlined by the World Bank, as opposed to providing assistance to upper-middle income economy countries.

Furthermore, the bill states that the IDFC will work primarily with the private sector in order to boost the economy of the country in need. The private sector is the part of the economy that is not controlled directly by the government, or in other words, the part of the economy that is managed by the citizens.

The IDFC will work to encourage the use of a country’s private capital to facilitate sustainable economic growth and promote poverty reduction. To achieve this goal, assistance will be provided to individuals and collectives that are part of the private sector, so that they can avoid market gaps and inefficiencies.

In addition, the IDFC will not just provide financial assistance to developing countries; it will also ensure that the civic institutions in these countries are fortified and that there is a healthy level of competition in the economy. The IDFC will also foster public transparency.

Long-Term Goals of the BUILD Act

The consolidation of the various development finance programs into one corporation will help the U.S. to more efficiently achieve its foreign aid goals.

The ultimate goal of the BUILD Act is for developing countries to eventually graduate from their need for assistance. The act will help to achieve this by making it easier for U.S. foreign aid to bolster the economies of developing countries so that over time they will depend less on traditional forms of foreign assistance.

“Taking countries from aid to trade is the end goal. We want to help countries become robust trading partners with the United States,” Congressman Yoho said in the press release.

The BUILD Act will benefit not only developing countries in need of assistance, but will also have positive effects for the U.S. in terms of business and national security.

– Jennifer Jones

Photo: Flickr

qualifications to become a senatorThe legislative branch of the U.S. government, known as Congress, is made up of two different chambers. The lower chamber, the House of Representatives, is made up of 435 representatives who are also called Congressmen and Congresswomen. The number of Congressmen and Congresswomen in the House of Representatives is determined by the population in each congressional district.

The upper chamber, the Senate, is made up of 100 senators. Each state elects only two senators to ensure each state has equal representation. The Senate is meant to be the check to the House of Representatives.

Many people who wish to make a difference in their communities and country would wish to run for a political office, such as senate. However many ask, what are the qualifications to become a senator?

 

Age Requirement

Despite being the least known of the qualifications to become a senator, any person wanting to run for Senate must be at least 30 years old. This rule has been in place since the conception of the Senate with the creation of the constitution in 1787. However, in our history, the United States has had a couple of noticeable exceptions — the youngest senator to ever serve was Senator John Henry Eaton of Tennessee who was sworn in on November 17, 1818.

Senator Eaton was only 28 years old at the time, but due to inefficient birth records, this fact was not realized until after he took the oath. Senator Joe Biden of Delaware was the youngest to be sworn in while still aligning with all the qualifications to become a senator; when he was sworn in on January 1973, Senator Biden was 30 years old and 45 days.

 

United States Citizenship

To become a senator, a candidate must be a United States citizen for at least nine years. In this sense, they must be a legalized citizen but they can be from any other country in the world.

Some United States senators who were not born in the United States include Colorado’s Senator Michael Bennet who was born in India, Texan Senator Ted Cruz who was born in Canada and Senator Tammy Duckworth from Illinois who was born in Thailand.

 

Which State to Represent

When a person runs for Senate, they run for a certain state, such as Senator of Indiana or Senator of Florida. He or she must live in the state that they run for, not necessarily the state they were born in. For example, Former president and Senator Barack Obama was born in Hawaii but campaigned for Senate in the state of Illinois, where he was currently living.

There is no set amount of time that a person must live in the state he or she wishes to represent before running for Senate, just that the candidate must be a legal resident of that state.

 

Making a Difference

These constitutional requirements answer the question: “What are the qualifications to become a senator?” Many citizens who have run for Congress in the past have studied law, political science and public service, though a degree is not required. Also, many Congressmen and Congresswomen have military experience, though this is not required either.

These are some of the answers to the question of “what are the qualifications to become a senator?” Anyone who fits these qualifications can legally run for Senate in the United States and have the possibility to make a difference in their communities and the country as a whole.

– Courtney Wallace

Photo: Flickr

 

Read: How many Senators are there

 

Senator Johnny IsaksonNow in his third term, Sen. Johnny Isakson is among a group of bipartisan senators trying to find the right formula for an immigration deal. Although his run as Senator began in 2005, his political and public service career started long before.

 

Road to the Senate

 

Finishing his education at the University of Georgia, Isakson served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966 to 1972. He was elected to the Georgia State Senate in 1993 and furthered his career as residing chair to the Georgia board of education.

Isakson continued his path in politics by becoming a U.S. Representative in the One Hundred Sixth U.S. Congress, filling Newt Gingrich’s open seat. He was re-elected twice more to the House of Representatives. In 2004, Isakson was elected to the U.S. Senate.

 

Legislation for Foreign Aid

 

Sen. Johnny Isakson has done substantial work in the Senate and is willing to push forward in Congress when times seem troubling.

He has introduced the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Millenium Challenge Act (MCA) Modernization Act, which encourages U.S. commercial relationships with African countries that are committed to principles of good governance and looking to improve the trade environment between all parties.

The Economic Growth and Development Act is another bill Sen. Isakson sponsored through his career. This bipartisan legislation helps the private sector work with the U.S. to strengthen economic development, fight disease and alleviate poverty in developing countries.

Sen. Isakson has continued to promote and further U.S. capabilities in regards to foreign aid. He introduced the Reach Every Mother and Child Act, which aims to alleviate preventable mother and child deaths by 2035. This bill alone will help save lives and allow for mothers and children to receive medical help.

Sen. Johnny Isakson has done remarkable work through introducing bills and promoting foreign aid to strengthen U.S. international diplomacy. His work never ends as a U.S. Senator; Isakson’s office told The Borgen Project that his next priority in legislation is to ensure “the life-saving food security programs managed under the Feed the Future Initiative will continue for another five years.” The program not only helps neighboring countries abroad but also is an investment in U.S. national security.

Striving to assist other developing countries and further the growth of U.S. foreign aid is greatly shown in Sen. Isakson’s efforts in Congress. He is looking to promote through legislation an international environment for business to grow. Sen. Isakson’s office told The Borgen Project that “when you empower individuals, communities and businesses, you can help drive economic growth.” Action in communities and government go a long way to help the impoverished and this action is seen in Sen. Johnny Isakson’s career in Congress.

– Bronti DeRoche

Photo: U.S. Air Force

AGOA and MCA Modernization ActOn Jan. 17, 2018, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3445, the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act. The legislation adds on to the original African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, which was passed into law on May 18, 2000, by the 106th Congress.

As an extension of AGOA, the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act encourages plans to promote trade and cooperation while also providing aid to countries that are AGOA eligible. The region of focus of the legislation is sub-Saharan Africa, with the goal being to build private sector growth. Under the bill, the President will be directed to create a website with information about AGOA along with encouraging embassies in chosen countries to promote export opportunities to the United States.

In addition, the​ ​bill​ ​would​ ​give​ ​the​ ​Millennial Challenge Corporation (MCC)​ ​the​ ​authority​ ​to​ ​develop​ ​a​ ​second​ ​concurrent​ ​compact​ ​with countries,​ ​provided​ ​the​ ​compact​ ​focuses​ ​on​ ​regional​ ​economic​ ​development.​ The​ ​ability​ ​to​ ​enter​ ​into​ ​a​ ​second​ ​compact​ ​will​ ​be​ ​limited​ ​to​ ​countries​ ​that​ ​demonstrate​ ​progress toward​ ​meeting​ ​the​ ​objectives​ ​of​ ​the​ ​first​ ​compact​ ​and​ ​capacity​ ​to​ ​handle​ ​an​ ​additional​ ​compact.

The MCC was created in 2004 by the Bush administration, with the aim to reduce poverty through economic growth. The MCC has committed more than $10 billion in 58 projects in 25 countries. Around 70 percent of this investment has gone into infrastructure projects like highways and ports and an increasing percentage is being invested in energy.

On the House floor prior to the vote, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA-39) said that the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act “seeks to facilitate trade and private sector-led growth in poor but relatively well-governed countries, particularly in Africa, so they can grow their own way out of poverty.”

“Through AGOA, goods produced in eligible African countries enter the U.S. on a duty-free basis. To be eligible, countries must be committed to the rule of law, eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment, combating corruption and supporting counterterrorism activities. So AGOA advances U.S. interests on many levels.”

Trade being a driver of economic development and increased civilian participation in politics is one of the main arguments for passing the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act. Economists and experts agree that the legislation does not just benefit sub-Saharan Africa, but also the United States, as it helps create jobs and benefits consumers and companies through free-market principles.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37) was enthusiastic about the passage of the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act by a unanimous vote. Bass is a ranking member of the House Africa Subcommittee. She is an avid supporter of the legislation and said the policy would foster economic development, as well as strengthen the United States as an international leader and boost the domestic job market and economy.

The bill was introduced to the House by Rep. Royce. At the time the bill was initially introduced, Rep. Royce along with fellow representatives Bass, Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ), stated that steering developing countries toward trade and away from aid helps African countries and women. Africa’s consumer spending nearing $1 trillion was what prompted the four to push for the passing of the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act.

The AGOA and MCA Modernization Act still needs to be approved by the Senate. The bill has been introduced by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Chris Coons (D-DE) as S.832. Sen. Coons stated that it is vital that Congress does all it can do to promote economic growth in developing countries and expand American business access to foreign markets. He is excited that the act will encourage trade with sub-Saharan Africa.

The recent passing of the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act in the House may give the legislation the momentum it needs to soon be accepted in the Senate. Visit The Borgen Project Action Center to contact your representative about this critical legislation.

– Blake Chambers

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

What is a Senator?
Since 1787, the U.S. Senate has existed to bring representation to individual states and a minority opinion to the United States of America. Senators are an integral part of the news cycle. They are a voice for the electorate. They are composers of history. But what is a senator?

America is a country of democracy and relative stability in spite of bipartisanship. Surrounded by a world in which many are starving and living in poverty, however, it is important to look at the basics. Doing so gives Americans the ability to make a difference to those less fortunate. This is made possible by having a population of 323 million speak through elected representatives.

Qualifications of a U.S. Senator

The qualifications of a U.S. senator are simple. A senator must be at least 30 years old, must have been a U.S. citizen for nine years and must be a resident of the state which he or she is elected to represent. Their terms last for six years and there is no limit to the number of terms, as long as it is the will of the population in the senator’s state. Each state has two elected senators, who exist to bring individual voice and to be a part of the vital checks-and-balances system. This goes some of the way to answering the question ‘what is a senator?’.

Responsibilities of a Senator

The most important job of a U.S. senator is to be the voice of his or her constituents. As the accountable party to the state, a U.S. senator is responsible for voting on legislation that is to the benefit of the state as a whole. It also means that senators are responsible for taking phone calls, reading letters and meeting with his or her constituents.

In addition to their responsibility to the state, senators also serve on committees. Committees exist to examine major sectors of American life, including energy, health and the U.S. budget. It is a Senator’s responsibility to meet with lobbyists and determine amendments to existing legislation through the committee on which they serve.

U.S. senators also introduce and vote on legislation. Once a bill is introduced, it must be examined by the Senate. If it passes muster, the bill will then go to the House of Representatives (or vice versa). If the bill passes both houses of Congress, it will then go to the President of the United States to become a law.

What is a Senator?

So, what is a senator? A senator is someone that individuals elect to ensure that the country is going in a direction in which they want it to go. A senator is a voice for the state; an elected official responsible for ensuring the protection of human rights.

Unfortunately, much of the world does not have that same representation. The U.S has the power to create change and it starts with individual voices.

It is essential to exercise the right to vote and voice opinions through elected officials. Once senators are in office, citizens can write letters, email or call them to hold them accountable. They can make sure they are carrying out the state’s interest as well as using their position for good in the world.

– Eric Paulsen

Photo: Flickr

qualifications for the house of representatives

The House of Representatives is the first line of defense for legislation in the United States. Some may not consider the House to be as elite as the Senate, but there is no denying that it is vital to the legislative process. Nineteen former presidents once served in the House of Representatives, more than the 16 who served in the Senate. But what qualifies someone to be elected to this legislative body?

The House of Representatives includes 435 members, with population size determining the number of representatives a state receives. The qualifications for the House of Representatives are less stringent than those for the Senate and the presidency. This was purposely done to limit the obstacles for ordinary people to become members. There are three formal qualifications, which are outlined in Article I, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

The first qualification outlined in the Constitution states that members of the House must be at least 25 years old. Despite this, the youngest member of the House of Representatives, William Charles Cole Claiborne, was only 22 when elected and only 24 when he was elected for a second time. Currently, the youngest member of the House, Elise Stefanik, is 33 years old, exceeding the requirement by eight years.

The second qualification, like that of the Senate, deals with citizenship. The constitution states that members of the House of Representatives must have U.S. citizenship for seven years upon election. This allows citizens who were not born in the United States, which is required for the presidency, to be elected into the House, which is crucial to immigrant representation. However, the number of immigrants serving has decreased significantly since the 1960s.

As of 2015, only 407 past and present members of Congress had been born outside of the United States out of the more than 12,000 who had served. 347 of these members served in the House of Representatives. From 1967 to 1974, no immigrants served in either the House or the Senate.

The last of the qualifications for the House of Representatives concerns residency and is the same for those serving in the Senate. Those elected to the House must be residents of the state which they represent at the time of election. However, this qualification does not require that representatives live in the district they represent.

The same article of the Constitution which outlines these qualifications also includes how members will be elected. Members of the House of Representatives are elected every two years without term limits. In addition to this, the House must confirm members who are elected before they may take the Oath of Office.

The House of Representatives was modeled for the people. It was designed to be accessible as well as an integral part of the legislative process. In addition, the Speaker of the House remains a prominent political figure within the government. Every moving part within our government serves a purpose and without one the system simply could not work. These qualifications for the House of Representatives ensure that these parts continue to work to the absolute best of their ability.

– Megan Burtis

Photo: Google

North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act
With rising tensions between the United States and North Korea, news coverage has been primarily focused on potential military action between the two countries. However, the United States has been making attempts at promoting human rights, democracy and freedom of information within the country. The latest attempt is the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act.

North Korea is notorious for being one of the world’s most oppressed, fascist countries in the world today. Under the rule of Kim Jong-Un, basic freedoms have been restricted to the point where they are practically non-existent. Enslavement, torture, rape, forced abortions and imprisonment are among the severe human rights problems within the country. Perceived opponents of the North Korean government and North Korean refugees who are sent back to the country have no choice but to go to prison camps where they are met with starvation, abuse and forced labor.

 

Chongsong Women’s Prison Camp

 

At a women’s prison camp in Chongsong, North Korea, women are subjected to psychological, physical and sexual abuse. Human Rights Watch conducted interviews with eight women while they were imprisoned. The women told them that among the abusers were prison guards and police interrogators from both the People’s Security Agency and State Security Department of North Korea.

“My life was in his hands, so I did everything he wanted and told him everything he asked,” said one of the women interviewed by the Human Rights Watch. “How could I do anything else?” The woman in this interview had been raped several times by a People’s Security Agency agent while he was questioning her after she was sent back from China to North Korea in 2010.

Earlier this month, the United Nations condemned North Korea for the country’s “long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross violations of human rights.” Koro Bessho, Japan’s U.N. ambassador, called out North Korea’s capital city Pyongyang for its history of abuse and expressed that the country needs to properly address its longstanding issues with human rights violations. Leaders representing nations all around the world are taking it upon themselves to help those in North Korea affected by this issue.

 

North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act

 

H.R. 2061, also known as the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act of 2017, was introduced to the House of Representatives in April of this year. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida’s 27th congressional district sponsors the bill, and it currently has 16 co-sponsors. H.R. 2061 seeks to provide $10 million each year during the years 2018-2022 to promote human rights and freedom of information in North Korea as well as provide humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees.

Through the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act, the President would have the authority to electronically share non-government controlled information inside North Korea, increasing its availability and presence. The President could also provide grants for the allocation of devices that would receive this information and create a grant program designed to develop and distribute methods; the grants could also go towards products that would allow North Koreans easier access to outside information.

H.R. 2061 would allow the Broadcasting Board of Governors to broadcast music, movies, TV and popular cultural references, and they would broadcast in Korean to North Korea about laws, rights and freedoms given through the North Korean Constitution.

In accordance with the North Korean Human Rights Reauthorization Act, the State Department would be tasked with providing updates on the status of U.S. broadcasting in North Korea, whether it has met the 12-hour-per-day goal for broadcasting, and a plan for overcoming difficulties in having communication with North Korean citizens. In addition, the State Department would provide reports on efforts made to reunite Korean American citizens with their relatives in North Korea.

H.R. 2061 has made some progress in Congress; the bill passed in the House of Representatives in September and is currently moving through the Senate. With such trajectory, there’s hope for the bill yet.

– Blake Chambers

Photo: Flickr