2012 Election Analysis – What does President Obama”s re-election and the 113th Congress mean for the fight against global poverty?


With the election behind us you”re likely asking yourself: so what does this all mean for our collective fight against global poverty and the future of foreign assistance? We share your concern and wanted to share what we know, what questions remain, and how you can help.

We are confident that with the President”s re-election comes his strong support for U.S. leadership in the global fight to end poverty. What is less certain is how he will execute that leadership: will there be changes to his Feed the Future initiative? What will his legacy on global health look like? Have recent weather patterns changed his approach to tackling climate change? And perhaps most importantly, who will succeed Secretary Clinton as Secretary of State, providing critical leadership in development assistance? We don”t have all the answers but we”ll be fighting for a renewed commitment to foreign assistance through his initiatives and his next Secretary of State.

To add to the murkiness is the new Congressional make-up. Republicans retained control of the House, but with a smaller majority, and the Senate is majority Democratic with a record number of women (!!). There are 80 new freshman members with very different levels of knowledge about foreign affairs. In fact, there are roughly 270 Members of Congress that were not in Congress when the all-popular global AIDS program, PEPFAR, was authorized and funded. That would suggest a Congress far less familiar with global development issues, and a lot of educating for us to do! What”s also significant is the expected change in leadership to the important House and Senate committees on appropriations and foreign affairs. Those positions will be finalized in the coming months. What”s crystal clear is that citizen advocacy has become the most important advocacy tool we have.

We also know that the decisions made in the coming week about how to tackle our significant fiscal challenges will shape the ability of the U.S. to fight global poverty. Congress returned to Washington on Tuesday, November 13, with a mandate from the voters to tackle the looming “fiscal cliff’ including addressing the sequestration and likely finalizing the FY13 appropriations bill (despite the Continuing Resolution that funded the government through late March). While they work to find a solution, CARE and our partners will work with you to demonstrate that the federal budget cannot be balanced through additional, disproportionate cuts to U.S. foreign assistance. With your help, we will protect the roughly 1% of the federal budget spent on foreign assistance in the FY13 budget and prepare for similar debates in the 113th Congress.

To learn more about how you can get involved, listen to the recording of CARE”s special Post-Election Briefing Call, which was held Thursday, November 15 with Tod Preston, Director of Government Relations at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, and Eric Williams, Democratic Staff Director for the Committee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights. Hear a deeper analysis of the election results, what they mean for the fight against global poverty, and how you can take action to ensure that new and returning members of Congress stand up for the world”s most vulnerable people.

To listen to the Conference Replay, dial US Toll Free: 1-877-344-7529 and use the Conference Number: 10021526. The recording will be available through November 26, 2012 at 9:00am ET.

Stay in the loop! Take a look at some key dates listed below that will keep you up to speed with the federal budget process.

Key dates:
November 13
: Congress Returns: Lame Duck Session Begins, 113th Organizational Meetings
December 31: Expiration of the Bush tax cuts if Congress does not take action
January 2: Sequestration
January 3: 113th Congress Swearing-In
January 21: Presidential Inauguration
February 5: FY14 Budget Submission to Congress
March 27: FY13 Continuing Resolution (CR) expires