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Sunday, 08 June 2008 19:32

Obama’s Bill Would Commit the United States to UN Poverty Goals

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Obama PosterThanks to the alternative news media, many conservatives are familiar by now with some aspects of Senator Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) Global Poverty Act of 2007 (S. 2433). Although this bill should definitely be opposed, some misunderstandings have arisen regarding exactly what the bill calls for.

In September 2000 the UN General Assembly adopted the “United Nations Millennium Declaration,” which set a goal “to halve, by the year 2015, the proportion of the world’s people whose income is less than one dollar a day.”

On March 1, 2007, Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced the Global Poverty Act of 2007, H.R. 1302, with the purpose: “To require the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.”

The House passed H.R. 1302 by a voice vote on September 25. Then, on December 7, Senator Obama introduced S. 2433, his nearly identical version of the House bill. The purpose of H.R. 1302 and S. 2433 is exactly the same, except Obama’s version changed “United Nations Millennium Development Goal” to “Millennium Development Goal.” When the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported S. 2433 out of committee on April 24, they went further in this cosmetic deception by striking out the words “United Nations” from all references to the “United Nations Millennium Development Goal” in the body of the bill.

Obama’s Global Poverty Act does not authorize or appropriate any money to fight global poverty, but does require the president to develop a strategy for achieving UN Millennium Development goals for reducing poverty. Based on the 2002 UN goal of foreign-aid spending of 0.7 percent of GNP by developed nations, it has been estimated by some conservative commentators that achieving the Millennium Declaration’s development goal of poverty reduction could ultimately cost the United States over $800 billion by 2015.

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