On December 4, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed, by unanimous consent, the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act (S. 2946). The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed its version of the legislation, H.R. 2901, on November 20 (see The Source, 11/21/14).
As amended, the bill, sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), would clarify that U.S. assistance to provide safe water and sanitation should include projects also related to hygiene. Like its House counterpart, the measure would improve the coordination and oversight of safe water, sanitation, and hygiene projects and activities conducted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the State Department.
Among other provisions, the legislation would promote the long-term impact and economic viability of such projects. The bill would prioritize the countries receiving assistance based on several factors, including the degree to which the project improves the long-term health and educational opportunities available to women as a result of increased access to safe water and sanitation.