On July 22, your paper ran a letter from Cadence Kupfner with The Borgen Project expressing concern about a bill I cosponsored in Congress, the Keeping Girls in School Act (H.R. 2153). I am always impressed by the level of engagement and interest shown by our next generation of leaders. I appreciated this feedback and wanted to take an opportunity to respond with an update on the bill.

The Keeping Girls in School Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year. I was a cosponsor of the legislation and supported the bill when it came before me for a vote. That is what I promised to those who reached out about the bill, and I kept my word.

I was proud to cosponsor this legislation and see it through to final passage. As the father of two young ladies, I continue to be alarmed by the number of obstacles that women and girls face every day across the globe. It is important to me that women and girls are equipped with the resources necessary for their economic and educational empowerment.

In Congress this issue is nonpartisan, and our body is working to ensure that this critical legislation is supported in the U.S. Senate.

The Keeping Girls in School Act, which is now being considered by the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, will:

♦ Outline and highlight a minimum of 14 barriers that girls face in entering and remaining in secondary education institutions;

♦ Authorize a system where the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is encouraged to work on financing and grant project proposals that reduce barriers for adolescent girls; and

♦ Require that the U.S. Global Strategy to Empower Adolescent Girls be reviewed and updated every 5 years.

For readers interested in the full text of the bill, you can search H.R. 2153 on

I want to thank Ms. Kupfner for her work and dedication to global equality. I encourage her – and all of your readers – to stay engaged and to continue sharing your ideas and opinions with our elected leaders.

U.S. Rep. Tom Graves


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