Late last week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act (S. 1067/HR 2478), moving the bill to just one step away from final passage by the Senate. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), an original co-sponsor of the bill with Senator Feingold (D-WI), applauded the Committee’s action in a press release:
"The legislation passed by the Foreign Relations Committee calls on the Administration to develop and execute a strategy to disarm the LRA while simultaneously protecting civilians. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to pass this crucial piece of legislation as soon as possible."
Since being reported out of committee, the bill has garnered 10 additional cosponsors that include Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), three Republicans (all on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) and five other Democrats (including committee chairman, John Kerry (D-MA) — bringing the total number of cosponsors up to 39 Senators. Next, S. 1067 will be scheduled for consideration and final vote on the Senate floor.
The bill calls for President Obama to devise a multilateral strategy for halting Joseph Kony and his rebels, delivering some calm to a large swath of central Africa terrorized by the LRA. S. 1067 would also provide humanitarian aid and resources to revitalize communities most affected by the LRA.
The House of Representatives has taken up a similar companion bill (HR 2478) that currently sits with the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for further consideration. HR 2478, originally sponsored by Congressmen Jim McGovern (D- MA), Edward Royce (R-CA) and Brad Miller (D-NC), impressively now has 129 additional cosponsors.
In a relatively short amount of time, the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act has picked up a significant amount of Congressional support in both the House and Senate, making the passage of this bill into law a very real possibility – largely thanks to constituents who have called on their elected officials to make ending the LRA’s decades-long insurgency a priority.