As economic and political chaos continues in Venezuela, freshman U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla., brought out her first bill as she looks to cut exporting “defense articles and crime control materials from the United States to the security forces of Venezuela.”

Shalala unveiled the “Venezuela Arms Restriction Act,” insisting these “tools are often used by the illegitimate Maduro regime to attack its own people, often with lethal consequences.”

On Wednesday, Shalala made the case for her proposal and took aim at the Maduro regime.

“We cannot allow Nicolás Maduro to continue to steamroll democracy and act with impunity,” said Shalala. “The people of Venezuela have spoken and demanded that Maduro to step down, but their peaceful efforts have led Maduro’s security forces to resort to violence in the streets of Venezuela, as they often have since Maduro took power. Our bill will ensure that crowd control items, like riot gear and tear gas, will not be placed in the hands of Maduro’s cronies and security forces and used against peaceful protesters. I thank my Republican and Democratic colleagues for joining our effort to help bring peace and freedom to Venezuela.”

Shalala’s bill would add and codify American policy and add “ articles that are used for crime control such as tear gas and riot gear.”

The bill has solid support from the Florida delegation as Democrat U.S. Reps. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart. Other backers include U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, D-NJ, and U.S. Rep. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, R-PR. The bill was sent to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee. So far, there is no companion bill over in the U.S. Senate.



Kevin Derby can be reached at

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