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Rubio Applauds Inclusion of Western Hemisphere Initiatives in Year-End Spending Measure

Dec 22, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) welcomed the inclusion of multiple Western Hemisphere initiatives in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 omnibus appropriations bill. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere and as a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Rubio has helped secure key funding to advance economic and rural development initiatives in Latin America, as well as secured funding for the support of democracy in Cuba and Venezuela, as well as for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB). It also included Rubio’s required report language on Cuba’s use of foreign medical missions, which constitute a form of modern day slavery. 
“The United States remains a reliable partner to countries facing severe challenges in our hemisphere,” Rubio said. “Whether by providing security assistance and training, to funding initiatives that deter violence against women and children in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, or continuing to support the efforts of the Office of Cuba Broadcasting and democracy programs for Venezuela and Cuba, I remain committed to leading efforts and working with my colleagues in support of a safer and more democratic region.” 
Critical Western Hemisphere provisions, supported by Rubio, included in the Fiscal Year 2021 omnibus appropriations bill: 

  • Compact language from the Central American Women and Children Protection Act of 2019. 
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: Requires the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to expand engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean that spurs private sector investment in initiatives to increase distributed energy generation systems and expands economic opportunities with partners in the region, including with minority and women-owned businesses.
  • United States-Colombia Growth Initiative: Requires the DFC CEO shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees describing and assessing the implementation and impact of the United States-Colombia Growth Initiative, including the amounts provided by the DFC and the Government of the Republic of Colombia.
  • Cuba Democracy Programs: $20 million 
  • Venezuela Democracy Programs: Provides $33 million for democracy programs for Venezuela
  • Office of Cuba Broadcasting: Provides $12 million for the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), and continues the authority to transfer up to $7,000,000 from USAGM’s Buying Power Maintenance Account (BPMA) to help manage the cost of OCB reform.
  • $506 million for assistance for Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, including through the Central America Regional Security Initiative.