Word from Washington: February 2019

Categories: Featured , IGD News


Contributed by Austin R. Cooper, Jr., Director of Government Affairs, IGD.

As of this writing, key lawmakers in the House and Senate had reached a tentative deal that would avert another government shutdown on February 15, while denying the President much of the money he has sought to build new walls along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The agreement came together during intense hours of closed-door negotiations at the Capitol, as lawmakers resurrected talks that had fallen apart over the weekend in a new dispute over new Democratic demands to limit immigrant detention. Democrats ultimately dropped some of these demands, which had come under fire from Republicans, clearing the way for a deal.

President Trump predicted that federal agencies would stay open. He did not publicly endorse the bipartisan agreement. However, he suggested he might be able to accept the deal, saying he could take other steps to fund his wall.

On the House side, Chairwoman Karen Bass (D-CA) announced the makeup of the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations for the 116th Congress. In addition to Rep. Bass, representing the majority are: Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA); Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN); Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN); and Rep, Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA). Representing Republicans are: Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ); Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI); Rep. Ron White (R-TX); and Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN).

In the Senate, Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced the Members of the Senate Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy. Representing the Republican majority, other Members in addition to Senator Graham are: Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA); Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH); Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI); and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). On the Democratic side will be: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA); Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE); Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ); and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).

General elections will be held in Nigeria on February 16 to elect the President, Vice President and the National Assembly. It will be the sixth quadrennial elections since the end of military rule in 1999. Of the 60 contenders, President Muhammadu Buhari’s leading opponent is former Vice President Atiku. Four years ago, the President won in a historic election by promising to crush two scourges that have plagued Nigeria for years: endemic corruption and a war with Islamic extremists. These two items remain at the top of the list of concerns for Nigerian citizens heading to the polls.

Finally, on February 7, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced a White House-led global women’s economic program called the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity, or W-GDP. The aim of W-GDP is to reach 50 million women in the developing world by 2025. According to Secretary Pompeo, this initiative will focus on: (1) workforce development and skills training; (2) women’s entrepreneurship and (3) broader policies, laws and social norms to promote women’s economic participation. IGD is looking forward to learning more details about and exploring opportunities to work with the Administration to implement it.