Guest Viewpoint

(Maisie Plew/Emerald)

Americans tend to believe that we live in this bubble that is entirely separate from the rest of the world. However, this is simply not true and has proven to be a problematic mindset during the COVID-19 pandemic. Viruses do not respect the concepts of borders and citizenships, and expecting them to do so has proven itself very dangerous for the American citizens. 

This pandemic is an international issue. That should encourage congressional leaders to support foreign aid. In this case, foreign aid would include medical assistance to poverty-stricken countries and readiness tactics to help slow or even stop the arrival of a new pandemic. Rep. Peter DeFazio has supported this type of international poverty-reduction legislation.

The Borgen Project is an advocacy nonprofit that focuses on foreign aid through lobbying our congressional leaders to co-sponsor international poverty reduction bills. Currently, their top legislative priorities are bills that are centered around providing medical aid to impoverished countries abroad who are also fighting the pandemic. 

Getting your congressional leader to cosponsor a bill is a lot easier than you may think. The Borgen Project encourages citizens to call and email their congressional leaders asking them to support foreign aid legislation. Their website even offers a super simple prompt on how to send your call or email. Each time you call a leader’s office one of their staff members will tally what you called in support of. If there is enough support for a specific piece of legislation, the congressional leader will likely support it. 

One of the largest concerns of the pandemic is how it would destroy the economy. Foreign aid has a positive influence on that as well. Increasing foreign aid helps to stimulate the U.S. economy by opening new markets that did not exist before. Supporting foreign aid that would help to contain COVID-19 abroad would allow for new international markets to open, helping the U.S. economy as we continue our fight against the pandemic domestically.

Jailah Keller is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Oregon majoring in Human Physiology with a minor in Planning, Public Policy, and Management. She is also a Political Affairs Intern for The Borgen Project where she calls, emails and meets with Oregon Congressional leaders to encourage them to support Borgen Project poverty reduction bills.