Congressional news

A resolution introduced by Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Congressman French Hill (R-AR) last week commemorates the 70th anniversary of the Fulbright Program. Since its inception in 1946, the renowned program has received wide recognition, boasting more than 370,000 alumni, including 82 Pulitzer Prize recipients, 54 Nobel Prize laureates, and 33 heads of state, according to the resolution.

A bipartisan resolution (H.R. 775), introduced by Congressmen Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Joaquin Castro (D-TX), recognizes the impact of Sister Cities International over the past 60 years and designates July 15, 2016 as “Sister Cities International Day”.

Exchange programs administered under the U.S. Department of State are being pushed to give special consideration to applicants from regions and populations susceptible to foreign manipulation, as stated in an amendment to the Senate's National Defense Authorization Act (S.2943).

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To prevent possible reversals by the next president, the current administration is ramping up introductions of regulations ahead of the presidential elections later this year. 

According to Politico, 195 new regulations have been introduced since the beginning of the year. This pace of regulation is nearly one-third faster than during the Obama Administration’s previous three years.

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A Congressional sign-on letter in support of FY 2017 funding for State Department exchange programs garnered 120 signatures from Members of Congress. This is the fourth time in recent years that the Alliance has partnered with Representative Hank Johnson’s office to send a Dear Colleague letter to the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee. The letter requests the highest funding level possible for State Department exchanges in FY 2017.

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A Senate sign-on letter in support of robust funding for Department of State international exchange programs, led for the second year by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), garnered a total of 19 signatures, six more than last year’s letter. The signers of the 2016 letter include:

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Join the Alliance, Global Ties U.S., and our collaborating partners at our January 27 Exchanges Matter event – a high-level discussion of the critical role international exchange programs play in advancing peace and security.

Sessions will examine issues including the impact exchanges have across the U.S., how to harness the private sector to advance America’s public engagement objectives, and the role exchanges play in building mutual understanding and advancing U.S. foreign policy priorities.

The House and Senate passed an omnibus appropriations bill on Friday, finalizing funding for the remainder of FY16, CQ reports. The funding measure was signed by President Obama later that day.

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International exchanges are “more important than ever,” writes Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Donna Brazile in a recent op-ed published by ABC News.

Exchange programs provide great value for participants and help Americans to compete in a global economy, Brazile, a member of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, explains:

A newly formed Congressional International Exchange and Study Caucus aims to “raise awareness of the importance of international exchange and study programs in the United States and around the world,” according to a press release from U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Jim Himes (D-CT).

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