MFAN Applauds House Foreign Affairs Committee Action to Ensure Congressional Intent of the BUILD Act

July 15, 2021 (WASHINGTON) – This statement is delivered on behalf of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) by Co-Chairs Lester Munson, Larry Nowels, and Tessie San Martin. 

The Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network applauds the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) for its bipartisan action to retain the original goals of the BUILD Act which established the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in 2018. In creating the agency, Congress envisioned a new U.S. foreign policy tool that would enable investments in middle-income and lower-middle income countries with the goal of supporting partner countries in their development.

During the Committee’s consideration of H.R. 3524, the Ensuring American Leadership and Global Engagement Act (EAGLE Act), HFAC Subcommittee Chairman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) offered an amendment to the bill that would enable the agency to provide equity financing for investment projects without the tight dollar-for-dollar scoring constraints that had been placed on the Corporation by the Office of Management and Budget. The amendment received bipartisan support and was approved by the full Committee.

“MFAN commends Subcommittee Chairman Castro for his leadership in correcting this problematic situation that has had the impact of limiting DFC’s new equity investment authority,” said MFAN Co-Chair Larry Nowels.

“By taking this important step to correct the ability of the DFC to make equity investments up to 35 percent of its overall liability (potentially up to $21 billion), as envisioned by Congress, the DFC may now begin to fulfill its mission for more meaningful investments in lower and middle-lower income countries, supporting their transition to the global economy and their citizens’ transition from poverty,” added Les Munson, MFAN Co-Chair and principal at BGR Group.

Additionally, MFAN expresses its thanks to HFAC Member Sara Jacobs (D-CA) who also played an important role in supporting the mission of the DFC by offering an amendment to delete a provision in the bill that would have altered the mission of the agency by expanding opportunities for investment in upper-middle-income and high-income countries. The bipartisan amendment was approved, allowing the agency’s focus on lower and lower-middle income countries which stand to gain the greatest economically with U.S. investment.

“Congresswoman Jacobs’ amendment retains the focus on economic development and investment in partner countries with the goal of addressing poverty and inequality.  We are grateful for her leadership,” stated Tessie San Martin, MFAN Co-Chair and President & CEO of Plan International USA.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee approved the EAGLE Act from the Committee on July 15, and the bill awaits floor action by the full House of Representatives.

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