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house Bill H.R. 2116

Should the U.S. Have a 10-Year Strategy for Monitoring & Helping Fragile Countries?

Argument in favor

Global violence has high human and economic costs, leading to the loss of lives and economic output. Addressing it requires interagency within the U.S. and cooperation with international partners in order to develop effective strategies — which this bill enables.

Jim's Opinion
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05/20/2019
If we want oppressed people to stop coming to our southern borders we need to do more to make their lives livable where they are.
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05/20/2019
While I would support the IDEA of helping fragile countries and allocating funds to do so, I am concerned that our current legislative and executive branch occupants would be unable to resist interference in those countries if a way to financially and strategically profit from interference in their national autonomy. Any bill I would actually support would have to include VERY SPECIFIC restrictions on military intervention and steps requiring the request of such assistance by a referendum from the people of that country.
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Ira's Opinion
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05/20/2019
Global security is a MUST... USA... do your job!
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Argument opposed

USAID, the State Department, and DOD engage on very different issues in each country they’re present in, so interagency coordination of violence reduction efforts may not be fruitful. Rather than spending additional money to coordinate these agencies’ work, the government should simply fund them as needed to achieve anti-violence objectives globally. Additionally, the U.S. and other wealthy nations don’t have a good track record on helping fragile states — so perhaps the U.S. should reconsider whether it should even be intervening in fragile states in the first place.

Ronald's Opinion
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05/20/2019
America Must get our own house in order. We have no money for other nations.
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operaman's Opinion
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05/20/2019
No. I enjoy answering simple-minded questions.
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Cherie65's Opinion
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05/20/2019
STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY! Congress doesn't seem to care enough to deal with infrastructure, the border and health care but will give money to foreign nations. SMH! Trump hate and resistance to important issues will NOT be enough to get you re-elected.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedApril 8th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2116?

This bill — the Global Fragility Act — would require the U.S. government – in collaboration with civil society – to develop a 10-year strategy to enhance stability, reduce violence and fragility globally, and implement strong monitoring and evaluation systems. This strategy would be developed as a joint effort between the State Dept., United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Pentagon.

This bill would require the administration to:

  • Launch a “Global Fragility Initiative,” the first-ever whole-of-government effort to address the risks of fragility by stabilizing conflict-affected areas and preventing violence and conflict globally through ten-year plans to address fragility in priority countries and regions, to be created by the Secretary of State, the USAID Administrator, and the Secretary of Defense;
  • Identify where fragility poses the greatest threats to civilian security and select those countries or regions where the U.S. will pilot innovative diplomatic and programmatic action in support of the Global Fragility Initiative/Strategy;
  • Improve its ability to measure, evaluate, and assess efforts to stabilize conflict-affected areas and prevent violence and fragility;
  • Report to the Congress and the American people on a biennial basis on which tools are most effective for stabilizing and preventing conflict; and
  • Authorize existing funds to support the Initiative/Strategy.

This bill would establish a Stabilization and Prevention Fund fund at the Treasury Dept., to be administered by the State Dept. and USAID. This fund would receive $200 million for each of the five fiscal years beginning after this bill’s enactment. Money in the fund would be used for economic and development assistance for: 1) supporting stabilization of conflict-affected areas and to prevent violence and fragility globally, including through the Global Fragility Initiative this bill would establish, and 2) providing assistance, including stabilization assistance for vulnerable ethnic and religious minorities, to areas liberated from, at risk from, or under the control of the Island State of Iraq and Syria, other terrorist organizations, or violent extremist organizations.

This bill would also establish a Complex Crises Fund at the Treasury Dept., to be administered by USAID. This fund would receive $30 million for each of the five fiscal years beginning with the first one beginning after this bill’s enactment. This fund’s money would be used to carry out the provisions of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 that support programs and activities to prevent or respond to emerging or unforeseen foreign challenges and complex crises overseas, including through the Global Fragility Initiative.

Under this bill, a “fragile state” is defined by an inability to cope with political, security, economic or environmental stresses.

Impact

Conflict-prone areas; international violence; USAID; State Department; DOD; GAO; International affairs; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2116

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthHouse Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to require the State Dept., United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Dept. of Defense (DOD) to coordinate on a global initiative aimed at stabilizing conflict affected areas and preventing the violence and fragility that allow terrorists, criminal networks, and warlords to take hold in the first place. This would focus America’s diplomatic, development, and security efforts on preventing the root causes of violence and instability in countries around the world:

“When we help countries become stronger and more stable, we make it harder for terrorists, criminals, and other violent groups to put down roots. That makes the United States and our partners safer. In the years since 9/11, we’ve all seen what can happen when we don’t take that preventive, holistic approach to our engagement abroad. I’m pleased to be joining my colleagues to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation to focus our diplomatic, development, and security efforts on meeting this challenge.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, adds that global conflicts have a significant implications for global prosperity and security:

“Violent conflict and instability is costing the global economy trillions of dollars annually and generating fertile recruiting grounds for terrorists and transnational criminal organizations. The bipartisan Global Fragility Act confronts these threats by targeting the root causes of fragility such as extreme poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and weak governance. The U.S. must prioritize conflict prevention and better leverage our assistance dollars to support fragile states on a path towards long-term stability and resilience. This legislation provides a whole of government approach to address the drivers of fragility in priority countries and regions. I am proud to advance this critical legislation with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to tackle the problem head on and promote stability around the world.”

The ONE Campaign supports this bill. Its North America executive director, Tom Hart, says:

“There is often a clear link between extreme poverty and fragility. Experts predict that by 2030, nearly 80 percent of people living in extreme poverty will be in fragile states and regions. Reducing instability in fragile states can save innocent lives and is an efficient and cost-effective way of advancing our nation’s foreign policy and national security interests. That’s why it’s so important for the United States government to have the right tools and strategies for reducing poverty in difficult environments, and reaching some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. The sponsors of these bills should be applauded for acknowledging the need for a long-term approach to preventing crises, one that brings together the expertise and resources of State, USAID and the Pentagon. ONE welcomes the progress that these bills represent and we will work to ensure these proposals have the necessary resources behind them to be effective.”

In a The Hill op-ed, Mercy Corps’s director of policy and advocacy, Richmond Blake, argues that this bill would strengthen the U.S. government’s ability to identify the ways in which violence and conflict spread and thereby prevent them:

“If passed and signed into law, the Global Fragility Act would strengthen the capacity of the U.S. government to identify the ways in which people are vulnerable to violence and conflict and provide diplomatic and development resources to help communities mitigate such threats. The legislation also would mandate the U.S. government to pilot this new approach in no fewer than six countries, offering a laboratory to test which strategies may be most effective for preventing violence in the world’s most fragile places, and then regularly report back to Congress and the American people on what works.”

Former U.K. prime minister David Cameron now heads a commission on state fragility, growth and development formed by the London School of Economics and Oxford University. In April 2018, the commission’s first report argued that developed nations trying to help fragile ones have been doing it wrong. The commission’s report argues that wealthy nations’ “best practices” of demanding quick multi-party elections and often unpopular, harsh economic policies backed by global financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have resulted in “deeply flawed and easily subverted or overturned democracies” in post-Saddam Iraq, post-Mubarak Egypt and post-Gaddafi Libya.

This bill has passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee with the support of 15 bipartisan House cosponsors, including nine Democrats and six Republicans. A similar Senate bill, the Global Fragility Act of 2019 (S. 727), sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), has 11 bipartisan Senate cosponsors, including six Democrats and five Republicans.

In the 115th Congress, this bill passed the House by a 376-16 vote with the support of 15 bipartisan House cosponsors, including eight Democrats and seven Republicans. A similar Senate bill, sponsored by Sen. Coons, had four bipartisan cosponsors, including three Republicans and one Democrat, and didn’t see committee action.

This bill has the support of a coalition of over 50 organizations, the Alliance for Peacebuilding, The Borgen Project, CARE, Foreign Policy for America, International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, ONE, World Vision, Nuru International and others.


Of NoteNick Grono, former deputy president and chief operating officer at the International Crisis Group, notes that fragile and failed states have existed since the dawn of the international order. However, policymakers’ interest in such states “took on a new life after 9/11,” as that days’ events showed how dangerous failed states can be not only to their own people, but to the world.

The Brookings Institute notes, “Hard lessons have demonstrated that instability and violence are not just a security, development, political, or social phenomenon. They are all of this and more, and can only be tackled through an integrated frame that involves a range of government agencies and capabilities.” The Friends Committee on National Legislation reports that violent conflict has “forcibly displaced a record 68.5 million people” at a global cost of $14.76 trillion annually.

The Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States — a congressionally-directed, bipartisan commission charged with formulating a comprehensive strategy to combat the causes of violent extremism in fragile states — recommended a new approach to preventing the rise and spread of extremism in the Sahel, Horn of Africa and Near East. In its report, released in February 2019, the Task Force proposed a comprehensive preventative strategy to reorganize U.S. efforts and pool international resources to support partners in order to stop the spread of extremism and address its drivers.

To implement this strategy, the Task Force’s report calls for the adoption of a framework that recognizes extremism as an inherently political and ideological problem and the creation of two mechanisms: 1) a U.S. government-wide initiative to make prevention a priority and ensure coordination and collaboration across U.S. agencies; and 2) an international platform for donors to pool their resources and coordinate their activities in support of prevention.

Currently, the U.S. government spends only 2% of its assistance to the world’s 27 chronically fragile states on conflict mitigation and reconciliation programs.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / vanbeets)

AKA

Global Fragility Act

Official Title

To enhance stabilization of conflict-affected areas and prevent violence and fragility globally, and for other purposes.

    If we want oppressed people to stop coming to our southern borders we need to do more to make their lives livable where they are.
    Like (21)
    Follow
    Share
    America Must get our own house in order. We have no money for other nations.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    While I would support the IDEA of helping fragile countries and allocating funds to do so, I am concerned that our current legislative and executive branch occupants would be unable to resist interference in those countries if a way to financially and strategically profit from interference in their national autonomy. Any bill I would actually support would have to include VERY SPECIFIC restrictions on military intervention and steps requiring the request of such assistance by a referendum from the people of that country.
    Like (16)
    Follow
    Share
    No. I enjoy answering simple-minded questions.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    Global security is a MUST... USA... do your job!
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    House Bill H.R. 2116 AKA the “Global Fragility Act” Global violence has high human and economic costs, leading to the loss of lives and economic output. Addressing it requires interagency within the U.S. and cooperation with international partners in order to develop effective strategies — which this bill enables. SneakyPete.......... 👍🏻👍🏻HR.2116👍🏻👍🏻. 5.20.19.....
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    Yes, yes, yes! This is the one best way, as far as I can see, to help reduce human trafficking, violence, and the need for people to flee their own countries. It’s just not that easy for most people to leave where they were born and raised. But, if there’s no hope for the future then why not leave and look for a future elsewhere.This is the way we can help, the way we can give them hope for a brighter future in their own country.It’s a great idea! it’s a win win situation for people in other countries and for the United States.
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    Yes. And I should be the writer of the bill. “Stop toppling foreign governments and fighting proxy wars” the end.
    Like (11)
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    STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY! Congress doesn't seem to care enough to deal with infrastructure, the border and health care but will give money to foreign nations. SMH! Trump hate and resistance to important issues will NOT be enough to get you re-elected.
    Like (10)
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    Share
    Like it or not, we live in a global community and increasingly so. We actually help ourselves by helping to ensure a stable world. Isolationism is as outdated as dialup internet.
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    We can develop a strategy to help fragile countries. I sincerely doubt that strategy will remain in place while Mr. I have no foreign policy and wouldn’t know diplomacy if it hit me in the face is in office. Interesting this is only to last 10 years. A strategy like this should not be sunsetted if it is to bring about stability.
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    It is important for us to maintain good connections with these poor and unstable countries otherwise they fall for the rhetoric of communism, socialism or Islamic extremism.
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    I don’t understand why we do not have such a plan. Stability supports stability.
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    Yes have a 10 year plan for helping fragile countries.
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    YES!!! This is why we have so many people knocking at our door. Iif we actually attacked the problem from the root of it there would be many less asking to get in. Good Grief. Those who are so nasty about people trying to LIVE - not just buy a fancy truck or the backyard pool or any other non necessary items Americans Think they must have!!! GOOD GRIEF. HELPING COUNTRIES WHICH NEED HELP helps the people stay where they live.
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    For those that have travelled out of this country and taken the pulse of the people outside the US, we are regarded as a rich, spoiled nation who’s responsibility it is to help the rest of the “free world”. If we don’t reach out with a helping hand, those people are easy to become resentful, thus ripe for leaders with opposing views. We don’t need more enemies, or even bad press throughout the world. This is the cost of being a superpower.
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    Central America needs our help to build their countries and economy’s. This way they will stay in their our countries instead of overwhelming our border...
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    Another swamp bill from Democrats. Put our nation first, we have neglected our our needs for far too long. #MAGA #AmericaFirst
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    Ensuring the stability and positive development of other countries also protects our own national security. A peaceful world is best for everyone!
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    Every human is born with affection for their homeland, and a desire to stick around and thrive. As a global power, we have stabilizing responsibility, and benefit from it.
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