Brooks, Fitzpatrick see bipartisan Keeping Girls in School Act advance

The U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 28 approved bipartisan legislation cosponsored by U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) to support empowerment, economic security and educational opportunities for adolescent girls around the world.

“I am encouraged by the House passing this critically important legislation and I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to get this passed into law,” Rep. Brooks said on Tuesday.

Both she and Rep. Fitzpatrick are original cosponsors of the Keeping Girls in School Act, H.R. 2153, which Rep. Brooks co-authored with bill sponsor U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) and introduced in April 2019.

“We know that education is key to helping girls and women around the world achieve parity and equality of opportunity as well as live long, healthier lives,” said Rep. Brooks. “Unfortunately, over 130 million girls and women worldwide face significant obstacles in accessing and remaining in secondary education.”

If enacted, the bill would outline the barriers that girls face in entering and remaining in secondary education institutions; authorize a budget-neutral funding mechanism where the United States Agency for International Development is directed to enter into results-based financing and/or traditional grant project proposals to reduce the barriers; and require that the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls be reviewed and updated every five years, among other provisions.

“We must work to ensure girls in every country are able to stay in school so we can empower them in order to reduce poverty and create safer, healthier communities,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick, adding that the legislation would “help reduce barriers girls around the world face when trying to remain in school and help them access more opportunities.”

H.R. 2153, which is endorsed by dozens of civil, human and women’s rights organizations, now heads to the U.S. Senate, where the identical S. 1071, introduced in April 2019 by U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), is under consideration. U.S. Sens. Todd Young (R-IN) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are cosponsors of that bill.