WASHINGTON — The ONE Campaign today applauded Congressman Mike Gallagher for cosponsoring a new bipartisan bill that would bring tens of billions of dollars in new private-sector investment into the fight against extreme global poverty by helping innovative American entrepreneurs build infrastructure projects, create first-time access to electricity, start businesses, and expand their reach in developing markets.
Earlier this year, a group of Wisconsinites traveled to Washington to meet with Congressman Gallagher to urge him to cosponsor the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (BUILD) Act and continue the United States’ leadership in the fight against extreme global poverty.
Brian Stahl, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at First United Methodist Church, and an Appleton-based volunteer with The ONE Campaign:
“Earlier this month, I spoke with Congressman Mike Gallagher about why my fellow Wisconsinites and I strongly support the BUILD Act and care so deeply about continuing the United States’ leadership in the fight against extreme global poverty.
“The BUILD Act would leverage new private-sector capital to build infrastructure, create first-time access to electricity, start businesses, create jobs, and ultimately work alongside American foreign aid to reduce extreme poverty in developing countries. It will give the U.S. government new tools for partnering with entrepreneurs and leveraging non-taxpayer dollars, while making it easier for American businesses to operate in emerging markets.
“Congressman Gallagher should be applauded for his leadership in sponsoring this bipartisan bill that would accelerate the modernization of America’s engagement with the private sector in developing countries while reforming federal government programs to make them more efficient. The bill is a smart idea, and the type of proposal all legislators should be eager to support. I hope Congressman Gallagher will work with Congressman Kind, a fellow cosponsor in the House, to get the rest of the Wisconsin delegation to support this bill and help shepherd it through Congress. ONE and its 32,000 members in Wisconsin care deeply about this legislation, and we will stand behind our leaders if they help advance it forward.”
About the BUILD Act
Foreign assistance is a critical tool for helping end extreme poverty, but isn’t the only tool in America’s toolbox. The investment of America’s private sector in the economic growth of developing countries could be a transformative force for good, but is currently massively under-utilized. The Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (BUILD) Act is an innovative way of putting tens of billions of new private-sector dollars to work in developing countries building infrastructure, creating first-time access to electricity, starting businesses, creating jobs, and ultimately creating the right conditions for sustained economic growth and poverty reduction in developing countries. It will give the U.S. government new tools for partnering with entrepreneurs and leveraging non-taxpayer dollars, while making it easier for American businesses to operate in emerging markets. The BUILD Act would accelerate the modernization of America’s engagement in developing countries — shifting even closer to real partnership — while reforming federal government programs to make them more efficient.
The bill, which is sponsored by Senators Corker (R-TN) and Coons (D-DE), and Congressmen Yoho (R-FL-03) and Smith (D-WA-09), will establish a full-service, self-sustaining U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, reforming and streamlining the tools of OPIC, USAID’s Development Credit Authority, Enterprise Funds and office of Private Capital and Microenterprise. It will have a full suite of tools including the authority to:
- Issue direct loans, including local currency loans
- Issue guarantees, including local currency guarantees
- Provide political risk insurance
- Fund first losses
- Participate in equity investments
- Provide technical assistance
- Make limited grants to unlock larger investments
- Do feasibility studies for prospective investments