Freedom First Society

Issue:  S. 3247, Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic and Empowerment ActQuestion: On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass (2/3 vote required).

Result:  Agreed to in House, 352 to 18, 62 not voting. Passed Senate earlier in lame duck by voice vote. Became Public Law 115-428 (signed by the President, 1-9-19).  GOP and Democrats scored.

Freedom First Society: S. 3247 directs U.S. foreign aid policy to emphasize overcoming gender disparity in economic opportunity abroad and even eliminating gender-based violence. Foreign aid is unconstitutional and often subversive (see below).  Its chief administrator, the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), is also unconstitutional.  Our federal government has no authority to promote cultural evolution abroad. Only 18 House Republicans and no Democrats opposed this Internationalist misuse of taxpayer money.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)

Bill Summary:  As of January 28, 2019, the Congressional Research Service had yet to summarize the now Public Law.  However, here are a couple of excerpts from the published text:

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.  Congress finds the following: (1) Because women make up the majority of the world’s poor and gender inequalities prevail in incomes, wages, access to finance, ownership of assets, and control over the allocation  of resources, women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment is important to achieve inclusive economic growth at all levels of society.  (2) Research shows that when women exert greater influence over household finances, economic outcomes for families improve, and childhood survival rates, food security, and educational attainment increase. Women also tend to place a greater emphasis on household savings which improves family financial resiliency.  (3) A 2016 report by the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that achieving global gender parity in economic activity could add as much as $28,000,000,000,000 to annual global gross domestic product by 2025….

SEC. 3. ACTIONS TO IMPROVE THE INTERNATIONAL GENDER POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL  DEVELOPMENT. … (b) International Development Cooperation Policy. — It shall be the international development cooperation policy of the United States — (1) to reduce gender disparities with respect to economic,  social, political, educational, and cultural resources, wealth, opportunities, and services; (2) to strive to eliminate gender-based violence and mitigate its harmful effects on individuals and communities including through efforts to develop standards and capacity to reduce gender-based violence in the workplace and other places where women work; (3) to support activities that secure private property rights and land tenure for women in developing countries, including — (A) legal frameworks that give women equal rights to own, register, use, profit from, and inherit land and property;  (B) improving legal literacy to enable women to exercise the rights described in subparagraph (A); and (C) improving the capacity of law enforcement and community leaders to enforce such rights; (4) to increase the capability of women and girls to fully exercise their rights, determine their life outcomes, assume leadership roles, and influence decision-making in households, communities, and societies; ….”

Freedom First Society Analysis:  S. 3247 is the senate version of H.R. 5480, introduced by Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and passed by the House on July 17, 2018.  In advocating for passage of S. 3247, Rep. Royce stated:  “[S. 3247] is an important bipartisan, bicameral bill that would expand women’s access to finance and inclusion in the formal economy in emerging markets around this globe.”

His Democratic counterpart on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, agreed: “This is a bipartisan  bill that aims to empower women economically by targeting United States development assistance to women-owned small-and medium-sized  businesses.”

Although representing a portion of conservative Orange County, California, retiring Ed Royce was one of the most liberal Republicans in the House.  Liberal Democrat Eliot took time during his endorsement of S. 3247 to pay homage to the retiring Committee chairman:

The gentleman from California (Mr. Royce)  has served as the chairman for 6 years. I can tell you that there is no  better role model than Ed Royce. The bipartisan work we have done  together has really made a difference in people’s lives all around the globe.   Mr. Royce has been a chairman extraordinaire. We have always operated  under the premise that, when it comes to foreign policy, partisanship  should stop at the water’s edge. And that is what we have really tried  to do.  I want all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to know that I  could not be more effusive in praise of the chairman, the gentleman  from California. It has been an honor and a pleasure serving with the  gentleman and being his friend. I cannot think of anyone doing a better  job than he has done for the past 6 years. I hope he will come back and visit.  Whenever I have a question to think about what I will do as chairman  in the next Congress, I would think about what my friend, Ed Royce, would do. Then I know I can’t go wrong.   [Emphasis added.]

The Real Nature of U.S. Foreign Aid
In a June 19, 1989 article, “Bleeding Us Dry,” conservative analyst Robert W. Lee wrote [Emphasis added]:

The exact cost to taxpayers of foreign aid handouts since 1946 is unknown (and probably unknowable)….

Moreover, foreign aid has consistently had the opposite effect of that promised by its advocates. It has invariably increased the power and resources of recipient governments (compared with the private sector) and thus the power of government over societies. It has strengthened the fallacies that improvement in one’s fortunes depends on the wealth of outsiders and that a society can progress from poverty to prosperity without economic effort and achievement. It has obstructed rather than enhanced development, and made recipients more, not less, dependent on the United States. As acknowledged by a study released this year by the Agency for International Development (the chief administrator of our foreign aid programs): “All too often, dependency has won out over development. Only a handful of countries that started receiving U.S assistance in the 1950s and 1960s has ever graduated from dependent status.”

Mr. Lee continued by quoting constitutional authority Dan Smoot on the record of foreign aid (Note: Smoot, retired from the FBI, wrote the pioneering exposé, The Invisible Government):

Our tax money has subsidized communist regimes which are sworn enemies of our nation; it has supported nations which, though not controlled by communists, are inimical to the United States and seething with hatred and resentment of Americans. We have financed wars between nations which would not have had the capacity to fight each other without our help; and, in the process, we have made the warring nations hate us because of the aid we give their enemies. Our foreign aid has financed social upheavals and communist-socialist revolutions throughout Latin America and Africa, bringing to power political regimes whose policies are based on hatred of the United States. Our aid has built and subsidized foreign industries which are now underselling American industries. The foreign giveaway programs have piled up our national debt, dissipated our monetary gold reserve, inflated our living costs, debased our currency.

There no reason to believe that the Internationalists driving America’s foreign policy shifted their aims in the subsequent years.

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