This $900 billion in the House appropriations bill will help significantly reduce devastating global spikes in poverty, hunger, and disease as a result of the pandemic
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) helped secure the inclusion of a policy to provide $900 billion in direct economic support for developing countries, at no cost to U.S. taxpayers, in the annual State Department appropriations bill. The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, passed by the House of Representatives yesterday, supports the issuance of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), a reserve asset issued by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to all member countries, which would help significantly reduce devastating global spikes in poverty, hunger, and disease as a result of the pandemic.
“I applaud House Democrats—in particular, the leadership of Chairwomen Barbara Lee and Rosa DeLauro—for passing a robust appropriations bill that includes nearly $1 trillion in direct economic support for low-income and developing countries confronting a deadly pandemic that is only getting worse,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “I am proud to have partnered with a grassroots coalition of organized labor, faith groups, humanitarian organizations, and many others, to secure this vital provision. By voting to advance a new issuance of Special Drawing Rights, we are demonstrating our commitment to tackling the global pandemic and ensuring that the developing world receives the resources it urgently needs to save millions of lives.”
As Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Rep. Jayapal previously collaborated with the leaders of the Congressional Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses in support of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), which low-income countries can readily convert into hard currency such as U.S. dollars to acquire vitally needed imports, such as vaccines, food, fuel, personal protective equipment, and medicines. The issuance of SDRs also helps protect low-income countries from debt crises, balance-of-payments crises, and major shortfalls in public health spending—a particularly urgent concern as the spread of the COVID Delta variant is accelerating worldwide.
In June, Jayapal co-led a 40-Member letter to the Biden Administration with Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08) and Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), called for a large, additional issuance of Special Drawing Rights following the IMF’s decision earlier this year to issue $650 billion worth of SDRs, citing the alarming emergence of global vaccine apartheid and the rise in new infections across the world. The lawmakers are also partnering on a separate push to secure an additional $34 billion in the forthcoming budget reconciliation package to fund the U.S. production and distribution of 8 billion doses of mRNA vaccines for the developing world—enough to vaccinate 60 percent of the populations of 92 low- and middle-income COVAX countries to decisively end the global pandemic.
The amendment championed by Jayapal drew on the Robust International Response to Pandemic Act, sponsored by Rep. Chuy Garcia (IL-04), which was passed twice by the House of Representatives in the previous congressional session. The provision also includes key anti-austerity measures that direct the U.S. Treasury to support the suspension of developing countries’ debt service to the IMF as well as opposing IMF loans that could harm developing countries’ healthcare spending or COVID mitigation and treatment efforts.
The amendment can be found here.