CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Wednesday, September 7, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4481, the Education for All Act of 2016, as amended, under suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on February 4, 2016, by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, which ordered the bill reported, in the Nature of a Substitute, on July 14, 2016 by voice vote.
H.R. 4481 amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to provide additional guidance regarding U.S. assistance for developing countries for the promotion of quality basic education.
Specifically, the legislation expresses the sense of Congress that it is in U.S. national interest to promote access to quality, basic education in developing countries, and that an educated citizenry contributes to economic growth, strengthened democracy, and decreased extremism.
In addition, H.R. 4481 amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to state that it is U.S. policy to work with foreign countries and international and civil society organizations to promote sustainable, quality basic education. The President, acting through the United States Agency for International Development, is required to develop a strategy to promote basic education in developing countries. The President must also ensure that any assistance provided under this act is aligned with U.S. diplomatic, development and national security interests, and that priority is given to developing countries in which there is the greatest need and opportunity to expand access to basic education and improve learning outcomes. .
Finally, the bill designates a Senior Coordinator of U.S. International Basic Education Assistance. The Senior Coordinator would have primary responsibility for the oversight and coordination of all U.S. government resources and international activities to promote quality basic education.
U.S. foreign assistance “is aid given by the United States to other countries to support global peace, security, and development efforts, and provide humanitarian relief during times of crisis.” The U.S. manages foreign assistance programs “in more than 100 countries around the world through the efforts of over 20 different U.S. Government agencies. These investments further America’s foreign policy interests on issues ranging from expanding free markets, combating extremism, ensuring stable democracies, and addressing the root causes of poverty, while simultaneously fostering global good will.”
Currently, USAID operates an education strategy founded on the basis that education is both foundational to human development and critically linked to broad-based economic growth and democratic governance. Through 2015, USAID had three goals including: improving reading skills for 100 million children in primary grades; improving the ability of tertiary and workforce development programs to generate workforce skills relevant to a country’s development goals; and increase equitable access to education in crisis and conflict environments for 15 million learners.
According to the bill’s sponsor, “An education is the fundamental tool with which boys and girls are empowered to increase their economic potential, improve their health outcomes, address cultural biases, participate in their communities, and provide for their families. That’s why prioritizing children’s access to education around the world strengthens our national security and global leadership. Simply put, we cannot build the world we want for ourselves, and for future generations, without education at the center of our efforts.”
 See http://beta.foreignassistance.gov/
 See http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PDACQ946.pdf at 1.
 See. Rep. Lowey’s Press Release, “Representatives Lowey and Reichert Introduce Education For All Act” February 5, 2016.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that enacting H.R. 4481 would cost less than $500,000 each year and total $1 million over the 2017-2021 period, subject to the availability of appropriated funds. Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or revenues, and so pay-as-you-go procedures to not apply. Further, CBO estimates implementing H.R. 4481 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
For questions or further information please contact Jake Vreeburg with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 5-0190.