We at IJM have been working around the clock over the past week to help our anti-slavery champion, Senator Bob Corker, bring the End Modern Slavery Initiative (EMSI) to the Senate floor for a vote. It is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, March 8. EMSI, if enacted, would create a public-private foundation to fund slavery eradication in heavily-burdened countries. EMSI’s approach prioritizes actually freeing slaves and bringing perpetrators to justice. Senator Corker was inspired to develop this legislation by IJM’s anti-slavery casework around the world.Read More
We’re still digging out from Washington’s fourth largest blizzard in history, “Snowzilla.” It’s mandatory to disparage our nation’s Capitol when it snows—especially if you migrated here from the Midwest. Well, I’m from the Midwest—I grew up in Ohio and Iowa—and I love my adopted, southern city. Precisely because it is a southern city, it’s not economical to lay in the plows and trucks that Chicago and Cleveland depend on. So when we get a really big storm, it means our Metro mass transit system closes, the federal government closes, and our cars are buried for days. My neighborhood, Capitol Hill, had a party atmosphere, with nothing but kids and their sleds and neighborhood dogs on the roads. Folks helped each other shovel their sidewalks.Read More
We at IJM are thrilled about the introduction in the Senate of S.553, the End Modern Slavery Initiative (EMSI.) Thanks to the leadership of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN), EMSI quickly collected bipartisan support in the Senate and was reported out of the Committee unanimously in February. We’re happy to report that 18 Senators are co-sponsors. Many of them heard directly from anti-slavery activists in their states in support of the bill.Read More
We had an unprecedented visit to IJM’s office this week: His Excellency Julio Ligorria, Guatemalan Ambassador to the United States, who was accompanied by his Minister Counselor, Edgar Villanueva. We’ve had many meetings at embassies to Washington but this was the first time a foreign Ambassador came to our headquarters to see us.Read More
The House and Senate adjourned this weekend for a long Congressional recess. There will likely be a short lame-duck session after the elections, and then the new Congress will be in the saddle in January.
They left a heap of unfinished business. A big disappointment was the Senate’s failure to pass S.1249, a bill that would designate the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (TIP Office) a Bureau. The measure breezed through the House in July. We’d hoped that the House adoption would be wind under the Senate’s wings. Another help are the Senate’s own 37 cosponsors – a strong, bipartisan group, which includes 5 members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.Read More
It’s August and Washington, DC has slowed down considerably – especially if you’re in traffic and trying to make it to Nationals Stadium in time for the first pitch. The House and Senate are on recess and overworked legislative staff who haven’t seen daylight for months have either left town altogether or are wearing jeans to work and taking it sloooow…
Legislators may have put policy issues behind them this month, but there are big problems waiting for them when they return after Labor Day. None of the annual spending bills have passed the Senate, the emergency supplemental aid to address the Central American immigration crisis hasn’t been passed, and there are hundreds of Presidential appointments to various government posts that await Senate confirmation.Read More
Washington is coming back to life after 16 days of government shutdown. IJM’s friends in Congress and at the State Department are back at their desks, which makes me very happy. I thought it would be hard to get meetings when legislative aides came back to overflowing desks, but I was wrong. People who serve in government care about violence against children and adults whether they are furloughed because of the shutdown or not. They are eager to help IJM and our clients.
This might be a fanciful notion, but I think that the cause of ending modern-day slavery can actually bring Democrats and Republicans together in ways that almost nothing else can.