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Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 3, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. Speaker, after years of working with India to address certain development challenges, the United States has seen impressive results. The best results so far is that India, who was once a recipient of foreign aid, is now a donor country, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

This is especially true when it comes to fighting tuberculosis, improving water sanitation, increasing education, and empowering women. That is why I urge my colleagues to support the Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act.

This bill, authored by the late Representative John Lewis, supports the establishment of a development fund that will continue our fight to improve these areas of concern. In addition, it will transition management of these programs from the United States to India. It is a public-private partnership powered by the Government of India and the private sector, and it is a true testament to how far India has come.

This bill also honors the legacy of two men that it is named for, Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., by creating a professional exchange program to study pressing global challenges, including the struggle for civil rights, the fight to end poverty, and strategies to decrease global conflicts.

Mr. Speaker, let me take a moment to honor the remarkable legacy of Representative John Lewis, who first introduced this legislation. I am proud to be here on the floor with Chairman Engel in support of his bill. The creation of this foundation is just another example of his dedication to improving the lives of so many people not only here in the United States, but around the world. I thank the late Representative John Lewis, and I thank my friend, Chairman Engel, for bringing this important bill to the floor.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support it, and I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, in closing, the goal of U.S. foreign assistance should always be that countries graduate from our aid. Today, we move one step closer to this goal with the authorization of the US-India Gandhi-King Development Foundation.

This bill further affirms a strong bilateral relationship between United States and India and will strengthen our ties to the world's largest democracy.

Mr. Speaker, I once again urge my colleagues to support this important legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.