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Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

 

 

WASHINGTON—Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the Africa Subcommittee, today joined House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Ranking Member Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.) announced the introduction of H.R. 2571, the “Millennium Compacts for Regional Economic Integration (M-CORE) Act.” This legislation would update and provide the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) with the authority to develop up to one additional compact agreement with a partner country to spur regional economic development at the same time with the goal of regionally integrating development projects and expanding the organization’s impact.

“All too often Congress is faced with fixing something that is broken. The MCORE Act is different in that it will enable a successful program to grow and help additional people,” said Rep. Bass. “Allowing concurrent compacts will better enable MCC to respond to local needs and develop compacts that will have a lasting impact by connecting development projects across borders.”

Signed into law in 2004 with broad bipartisan support, MCC is an independent, U.S. foreign aid agency with the mission to fight global poverty. MCC represented a paradigm shift in international development and foreign assistance by focusing on good policies, country ownership of projects and data-driven results.

In the last decade, MCC has invested more than $10 billion in compact and threshold programs in 42 countries, promoting growth opportunities, opening markets, raising living standards and creating a more prosperous future for some of the world’s poorest people.

“This legislation promises to help MCC unlock economic growth in regions of the world that are well governed and adhere to sound economic principals.  The additional assist we can do for these governments and regions means more economic growth, and ultimately more consumers of U.S. products.  I appreciate Ms. Bass’ commitment to seeing that African economies flourish,” said Chairman Royce.

“An important component of U.S. international development and diplomacy, MCC has maintained an emphasis on data-driven, accountable, and transparent development efforts across the globe.  The M-CORE Act would further expand MCC’s reach by developing concurrent and regional compacts with countries in order to promote economic integration, trade and cross-border collaborations.  With this new authority, MCC will be able to build upon its successes in individual countries to reduce poverty and spur sustainable regional economic growth,” said Ranking Member Engel.

MCC has been especially beneficial to countries on the African continent with the majority of MCC’s partnerships working there. Roughly 65 percent of the MCC’s portfolio has been invested on the African continent, mostly in large-scale infrastructure projects like roads, ports, power lines and water systems, which are designed to spur long-term economic growth benefiting generations to come.

However, current law prevents MCC from operating more than one compact in any country at any given time, limiting MCC’s potential and the ability of countries to work together on projects. In order to improve on the MCC program, the bill would remove the limit of one compact per country and allow additional investment for participating countries provided that all countries have been able to demonstrate progress toward meeting objectives of the original compact and sufficient capacity to successfully handle additional compacts.

“People, goods and services move across borders—and so should our investments. In a global economy, this legislation will enable MCC to help countries work together to build and grow regional markets, capture more economies of scale and facilitate increased trade and investment. That’s good news for the countries we work with and for U.S. companies doing business abroad,” MCC CEO Dana J. Hyde said.

Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) also joined as original co-sponsors of the legislation.

 

H.R. 2571 is similar to H.R.4877, which was introduced in the 113th Congress.

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