Kentuckians urge Senators McConnell and Paul to support bipartisan BUILD Act to bring private-sector funds into global poverty fight

BOWLING GREEN — A group of Kentuckians are urging Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul to support a bipartisan bill that would help fight global poverty by making it easier for innovative Kentucky entrepreneurs to invest in developing countries. Earlier this year, a group of Kentuckians traveled to Capitol Hill to urge Senators McConnell and Paul to support the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILD) Act (S.2463).

Jemal Wade, a Bowling Green-based volunteer with The ONE Campaign:

“The BUILD Act is pro-business, pro-job creation, and pro-Kentucky. Since its creation, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation has helped innovative Kentucky entrepreneurs create jobs, build infrastructure projects, improve access to electricity, start businesses, and expand their reach in growing markets. In total, nearly 1,000 jobs have been created right here in Kentucky.

“The BUILD Act takes a creative approach to bringing private-sector resources into the fight against extreme poverty. It will consolidate the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and several federal programs, and then give this ‘development finance corporation’ new tools for partnering with entrepreneurs at no cost to American taxpayers.

“All told, the bipartisan BUILD Act would bring tens of billions of dollars in new private-sector investment into the fight against extreme global poverty, while closing America’s sizable investment gap with China and other major economic competitors. And it would do so in a way that supports the long-term economic growth and stability of low-income countries, rather than taking advantage of them.

“This bill has earned support from a diverse, bipartisan coalition of more than 55 lawmakers in Congress, as well as the Trump Administration, businesses and development experts. I want Senator McConnell and Senator Paul to know that my neighbors and I care about the BUILD Act and we want them to support the bill, too. I hope Senator McConnell and Senator Paul will support this important bill and put Kentucky businesses to work, lifting people out of poverty and improving life in the world’s poorest countries.”

About the BUILD Act

The bill, which is sponsored by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE), and Representatives Ted Yoho (R-FL-03) and Adam Smith (D-WA-09), would merge several federal programs, including the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, into a new “development finance corporation” (DFC) whose purpose would be to mobilize private-sector investments to support sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction, and development through partnerships. The newly empowered DFC would be able to make loans, invest, and forge partnerships with innovative entrepreneurs who want to do business in developing countries.

To date, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation has made $122 million in financing commitments to Kentucky businesses, yielding $210 million in exports and nearly 1,000 local jobs. The BUILD Act will expand on the success of OPIC, increase its investment potential, and create new opportunity for Kentucky businesses to benefit.

So far, the BUILD Act has gathered widespread bipartisan support from over 55 lawmakers in Congress and the Trump Administration. Discussing the BUILD Act recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “This investment is not waste. Nor is it about giving money away. This is a strategic investment in the most competitive part of the world for years to come… We are proud to support the BUILD Act.”

Learn more about the BUILD Act’s impact on Kentucky here.