Congressman Adam Smith

Representing the 9th District of Washington

Bipartisan BUILD Act Passes House

Jul 17, 2018
Press Release

 

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus for Effective Foreign Assistance, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09) and Congressman Ted Yoho (FL-03), joined with leaders in the international development community to applaud the House of Representatives passage of H.R. 5105, the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act, known as the BUILD Act of 2018:

“Passage of the BUILD Act is an important step to modernizing U.S. international development finance and showing that the United States is committed to leading the international community in supporting less developed countries. This new institution will focus on sustainable, broad-based development programs supporting critically needed projects in communities across the world. It strengthens our ability to support economic growth that ensures people have the opportunity to live healthy lives and achieve their fullest potential,” said Congressman Adam Smith. “Make no mistake, this reform is only part of our commitment to providing help to those most in need around the world. We must take an all-in approach to our foreign assistance that includes robust direct assistance from the United States. I will continue to fight for these essential programs promoting health, peace, and stability that are vital to our national security.”

“The BUILD Act is the most significant reform of America’s development finance system in decades. By streamlining our foreign assistance efforts, the United States will be more efficient and effective in how we target our foreign investments around the globe.  By creating a modern, 21st century, development finance system that better utilizes private sector-led development; we will help countries build their economies so that they can transition from needing our assistance – to opening up their markets for our goods,” said Congressman Ted Yoho. “Taking countries from aid to trade is the end goal. We want to assist countries in becoming robust trading partners with the United States. There is truth to the saying, 'a rising tide lifts all boats.’ By doing so, we will help create stable, self-sufficient societies around the world and open new markets for U.S. goods and services. I’d like to thank Congressman Smith for his support in moving this bill closer to becoming law.”

“The new International Development Finance Corporation, as outlined in the BUILD Act, would be an accountable, transparent, impact-focused leader in the development community,” said George Ingram, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution. “The legislation prioritizes cooperation with USAID, our lead development agency, and directs the IDFC to pursue highly developmental projects, particularly in countries that are subject to extreme poverty, fragility, and violence.”

“OPIC’s work with its private sector partners in the poorest countries, conflict-affected areas and other foreign policy hotspots is one of our nation’s most powerful and tangible tools of foreign policy. Development finance catalyzes the private sector investment that is the principal driver of sustainable economic development, job creation and resilient societies. Through its investments in critical power generation, affordable housing, and private schools and hospitals, OPIC and its partners’ investments project the very best of American values, innovation and goodwill. Leveraging the core of OPIC’s strong institutional foundation, the BUILD Act will propel U.S. leadership across the globe by modernizing U.S. development finance capabilities and boosting our impact in tackling poverty and creating more prosperous societies,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, former Chairman, President and CEO of OPIC under the Obama Administration.

“The BUILD Act embraces the mission of sustainable, broad-based economic growth, poverty reduction, and development. Provisions in the improved legislation prioritize less-developed countries and small business, and include environmental and social safeguards. It’s encouraging to see the House of Representatives vote in favor of modernizing our finance tools and enabling transparent growth and development,” said Tessie San Martin, MFAN Co-Chair and President and CEO of Plan International USA.

“This is not your grandparents’ developing world—it is richer, freer, and has far more agency than it did 40 years ago. If we do not meet the hopes and aspirations of our friends and allies, they will take their business to the Chinese. At the same time, a number of our national security challenges require private sector solutions as part of our response,” said Dan Runde, Senior Vice President of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Rather than look at many developing countries as simply recipients of aid, we must look at them as emerging or even emerged partners who desire a deeper relationship built around trade, investment, and economic growth. We should not let this moment pass. When passed, the BUILD Act will be the most important piece of international development legislation in more than a decade.”

“The BUILD Act is a positive step in modernizing the way the U.S. supports development around the world. Currently, private investment is being underutilized due to an outdated U.S. development finance infrastructure,” said Connie Veillette, MFAN Co-Chair and Senior Fellow at The Lugar Center. “It’s time for Congress to help unleash more innovative financing tools, while maintaining existing high standards for transparency, evaluation, and performance measurement stipulated in this bill and in the Foreign Aid Transparency and Accountability Act that was enacted into law in 2016.”

"Passage of the BUILD Act will dramatically strengthen the capacity of our government to fight poverty in the world through private capital investment and to collaborate with our allies to offer countries a path to prosperity by embracing entrepreneurship, innovation, and private enterprise.  In the global marketplace of today, economic influence is an extraordinarily important soft power tool and the United States must redouble its efforts to compete with the Chinese and offer a more compelling narrative for growth.  The BUILD Act will provide the tools necessary to compete more effectively and offer a more appealing alternative built around entrepreneurial capitalism,” said Robert Mosbacher, former President and Chief Executive Officer of OPIC.

“America has always been a leader in promoting market-based solutions to poverty. The BUILD Act will help the US update our tools to catalyze private investment in the toughest markets in support of development, economic, and security goals,” said Todd Moss, Senior Fellow at the Center for Global Development. “For our partners, the BUILD Act will help to accelerate capital inflows, job creation, and ultimately economic growth.”