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Congressional Spotlight: Representative Karen Bass

April 4, 2016
In The News

WASHINGTON, DC — Representative Karen Bass has made fighting global poverty a priority in the six years since she was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. She has been an advocate for many initiatives that would reduce global poverty and improve the lives of people living outside of the United States.

Bass became interested in community activism as a child watching the Civil Rights Movement with her father. At the time she made a lifetime commitment to effecting social change in her community and abroad.

As a Congresswoman, she supported the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) during her first term. Bass introduced the M-CORE Act (H.R. 2571) on in May 2015, which would allow the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to enter into more than one concurrent compact, or agreement, in a country at any given time.

“All too often Congress is faced with fixing something that is broken,” she said in a press release. “The MCORE Act is different in that it will enable a successful program to grow and help additional people.”

The congresswoman also co-sponsored the Reach Every Mother and Child Act of 2015 (H.R. 3607), which would implement policies to end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths. Bass was one of the original co-sponsors of the Global Food Security Act of 2015 (H.R. 1567), which would help foreign countries achieve long-term, sustainable agricultural development.

Bass was also an original co-sponsor of the Electrify Africa Act (H.R. 2847), which will help provide access to electricity and power services for at least 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020. The act was signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 8, 2016.

Before she was elected to Congress, Bass was the first African-American woman to become Speaker of the California State Assembly in 2008. She was commended for her success by Arnold Schwarzenegger, California’s governor at the time.

“In becoming our state’s first female African-American speaker, she serves as an inspiration to every citizen of this great state,” said Schwarzenegger in a statement to the Sacramento Bee in 2008.

Rep. Bass currently serves on the U.S. House’s Foreign Affairs Committee. She is the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.