On May 5, the House International Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere approved, by voice vote, a bill (H. R. 3447) to establish the United States Social Investment and Economic Development Fund for the Americas.
Sponsored by Rep. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the measure contains a number of findings, including:
H.R. 3447 would authorize $500 million annually through FY2009 for assistance to foster increased economic opportunity in the countries of the Western Hemisphere by nurturing public-private partnerships and microenterprise development; improving the quality of life and investing in human capital, specifically targeting education, health and disease prevention, and housing; reducing poverty; and eliminating the exclusion of marginalized populations.
In his opening remarks, Chair Cass Ballenger (R-NC) stated, “We share a common goal on this Subcommittee in helping our friends and neighbors in the Caribbean and in Central and South America become more prosperous and free. I hope that moving forward with this bill sends a clear signal that Members on both sides of the aisle are serious about working together toward that purpose.”