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Congress passes bipartisan bill to bring private-sector money into fight against global poverty

WASHINGTON – The ONE Campaign today applauded the Senate’s passage of the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act, which was included in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018. The BUILD Act will help fight extreme poverty around the world by making it easier for innovative American entrepreneurs to build infrastructure, create first-time access to electricity, start businesses, and expand their reach in developing markets.

Since the end of February, when Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), and Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL-03) and Adam Smith (D-WA-09) first introduced the BUILD Act, ONE members around the country:

  • Sent Congress more than 33,000 written messages
  • Made more than 1,600 visits to Congressional offices, including more than 230 meetings with members of Congress
  • Made more than 1,500 phone calls to Congress
  • Delivered more than 78,000 petition signatures

Tom Hart, North America executive director at The ONE Campaign, said:

“The best tool for fighting extreme poverty is a good job, but the investment of America’s private sector in the economic growth of developing countries is massively under-utilized. That’s why the BUILD Act is the most important piece of development legislation to come out of this Congress. The BUILD Act will help bring tens of billions of private-sector dollars into the fight against extreme poverty by helping American entrepreneurs and investors do business in Africa, create jobs and expand their reach in developing countries.

“Since the day it was introduced, The ONE Campaign worked relentlessly to cultivate support for it in Congress. We’re proud of the broad bipartisan support the bill has earned in Congress and the Administration, and of the impressive speed with which it was passed. At a time when Republicans and Democrats can’t seem to agree on what day of the week it is, the passage of the BUILD Act is evidence that bipartisan support for America’s leadership in the fight against extreme poverty is possible.

“ONE is grateful for the stewardship of the bill’s lead sponsors, Senators Corker and Coons, and Representatives Yoho and Smith. Their smart, creative approach to helping people lift themselves out of extreme poverty and their determination to get this legislation passed this year is deeply appreciated.

“We are also thankful for the Trump Administration’s leadership on BUILD, starting with support for the idea in the FY19 budget proposal all the way through to passage.”

The BUILD Act will merge several federal programs into a new “Development Finance Corporation” whose purpose would be to mobilize private-sector investments to support sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction, and development. The new development finance corporation would make loans, invest, and forge partnerships with innovative entrepreneurs who want to do business in developing countries.

Learn more about the BUILD Act here.