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BGIPU Chair and Executive Committee supports US Congress re-joining the IPU

In a 27 January 2021 letter to the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Honorable Nancy Pelosi, and a letter to the President pro tempore of the US Senate, Senator Daniel Leahy, BGIPU Chair Harriett Baldwin MP has registered the strong support of all BGIPU members in both Houses of the UK Parliament for the US Congress to consider re-joining the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The US Congress was one of the original nine IPU members who attended its founding conference in Paris in 1889 and a major contributor in its formative years.  For many decades, and particularly during the Cold War, it played an active role in the organisation including encouraging the IPU as a positive force for the promotion of parliamentary democracy in the world.

Regrettably, during the 1990s as scepticism about the national interest benefits of multilateralism to the US grew in some quarters, the participation of the US Congress in the IPU weakened. The last full bipartisan participation of a US delegation in an IPU Assembly was in 1994 (91st Inter-Parliamentary Conference in Paris) and despite various efforts to prevent the Congress from leaving, a formal “severance” notice was received from the US Secretary of State (further to a decision of the US Congress) in September 2000. The IPU formally suspended the US Congress in 2003, for non-payment of their assessed contribution, ending its 114 year membership.

With the US re-engaging in a range of international forums and multilateral mechanisms under the new Biden/Harris Administration and the recent re-election of the Congressional leadership for the 117th Congress, the BGIPU Executive Committee decided on 21 January 2021 that the Chair should write to register the strong desire of UK members for the US to consider returning to the IPU family of national parliaments as soon as possible.  It was also considered appropriate to use the occasion to express solidarity to US counterparts following the unthinkable mob attack on the US Capitol Building earlier this month and register condolences for the tragic loss of life which occurred.

BGIPU Secretariat