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Wed Dec 2, 2020, 04:15 PM

Inside Ivanka Trump's failed attempt to have Congress secure her legacy

Source: Washington Post

Inside Ivanka Trumpís failed attempt to have Congress secure her legacy

Opinion by
Josh Rogin
Columnist
12/2/2020, 3:36:44 p.m.

For more than three years, Ivanka Trump has been working to advance the cause of womenís economic empowerment, with cooperation from lawmakers in both parties and substantial success. But her eleventh-hour push to have her flagship program enshrined into law failed this week due to a mix of politics and personalities, bringing down with it another important piece of legislation in the process.

Ivanka Trump has garnered both praise and criticism related to her efforts to promote programs that fund womenís economic empowerment around the world. In 2017, she worked with the World Bank to create the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, which leverages public-private partnerships to support women-owned small businesses. She worked with Democrats and Republicans to successfully pass the Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017 and the Womenís Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act of 2018, both of which her father, President Trump signed into law.

In February 2019, President Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum that gave executive branch support to Ivanka Trumpís flagship program, called the Womenís Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative. In fiscal 2020, she helped secure $100 million of U.S. government funding for this program, which was administered with the help of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced a bill in February to formally authorize the W-GDP program, which would ensure it lives on even after the Trump administration departs. After President Trump lost the election, Ivanka Trump mounted a full-court press to include her latest version of this bill in the State Department authorization bill, which itself was included in the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA, which is being debated by a bicameral conference committee, is one of the last major bills set to pass before the end of the Trump administration.

But now that plan, and with it Ivanka Trumpís chance to cement her legacy, has fallen apart. On Tuesday, the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) instructed her conferees not to include the W-GDP bill in the State Department authorization bill, said several congressional aides, who were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations. As retaliation, the White House demanded that the entire State Department authorization bill be removed from the NDAA, and leaders of the armed services committees in both parties complied, fearing a presidential veto of the defense bill. That means all the other provisions lawmakers had negotiated for the State Department bill are now killed. Itís a particularly unfortunate outcome for House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), who is leaving Congress after 32 years and for whom the State Department bill was named.

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Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/12/02/ivanka-trump-legacy-congress/

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