In his final months in Congress, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, is making a final push to reform foreign aid.
Back in 2018, Yoho, then the chairman of the U.S. House Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, managed to get his “Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (BUILD Act)” reforming how the federal government manages international development finances signed into law by President Donald Trump. Yoho’s proposal streamlined a host of federal programs into a single development finance corporation. The Trump administration made a similar proposal in its FY 2019 budget request. Yoho rounded up more than 40 cosponsors for his bill with U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., as his main ally.
This week, Yoho and Smith paired up on a proposal to “ensure that the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) can utilize equity investments as intended by Congress.”
“The BUILD Act of 2018 and the establishment of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) was a much-needed leap forward for the U.S. to regain its competitiveness for financing international development projects,” said Yoho on Thursday when he introduced the bill. “It is imperative for this new and much-needed development finance tool to be funded as intended by Congress. To do this we are introducing an equity fix for the DFC. This bill enables the DFC to accomplish the mission assigned by Congress by fully leveraging equity treatment for DFC investments that does not require dollar-for-dollar funding and reduces the exposure of American taxpayers to financial risk from return on investment. I look forward to seeing Congress pass this essential fix to ensure that the DFC is able to operate effectively and carry out its mission in developing nations worldwide.”
“Congress created the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to better focus U.S. development finance on development-impact and investments in lower-income countries. The equity authority given to the DFC is critical to helping it fulfill its development mandate, invest in low-income countries, and collaborate with international partners on projects,” said Smith. “This bill would rightfully ensure that equity investments made by the DFC are not treated like grants for budgetary scoring and instead reflect the returns that the U.S. government may receive from these projects.”
According to Yoho’s office, the new bill “would amend the BUILD Act to facilitate equity investments by the DFC that are consistent with the size, breadth, and type intended by the original sponsors of the BUILD Act….by providing a budget treatment for equity investments made by the DFC that does not require dollar-for-dollar funding or expose U.S. taxpayers to any significant new risks.”
The ONE Campaign, PATH, the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN), the Energy for Growth Hub and other groups are backing the proposal.
Yoho’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
First elected to Congress in 2012, Yoho is sticking to his campaign promise to serve only four terms.
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