Marco Rubio Brings Back Bill to Reauthorize Programs Helping Haiti

This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., showcased a proposal to reauthorize federal programs that help Haiti through 2035.

At the end of 2021, Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., introduced the proposal to reauthorize the Haitian Hemisphere Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act in the upper chamber. At that time, U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., championed the bill in the U.S. House with U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., as the main co-sponsor. Other backers included U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., and John Rutherford, R-Fla., and then U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., who announced last year she was retiring from the House.

“The Haitian Hemisphere Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act, introduced as a response to an economic downturn in Haiti in 2005, removes duties from Haitian apparel exports to the United States. The Haitian Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act, passed by Congress following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, broadens the types of goods eligible for duty free status to over 5,000 types of apparel and footwear. Together, HOPE and HELP apply to roughly 93 percent of Haitian exports to the U.S. and employs more than 56,000 Haitians. Apparel factories in Haiti are a crucial source of stable economic employment in the country,” Rubio’s office noted.

Rubio weighed in on the proposal this week after reintroducing it last week.

It is in our national interest to help Haiti as it faces unimaginable hardships as a result of political corruption, natural disasters, and rampant crime. The HELP Act is an important bipartisan measure that will extend trade benefits and boost the country’s largest industry,” said Rubio.

Senators Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) are cosponsors of the bill.

“America is safer and better off when our neighbors are thriving. That’s why I was proud to lead this bipartisan effort to strengthen Haiti’s economic future and stability. This bill is a win-win for Georgians and the people of Haiti. It will promote a better future for us all and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this over the finish line,” said Warnock.

“Natural disasters and political unrest have devastated families in Haiti. Extending trade benefits is good for the U.S., provides the starving Haitian people with needed resources, and will help stem the exodus from the island,” said Cassidy.

Rubio’s bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee last week.

Kevin Derby
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