Gardner-Backed VERDAD Act Passes Senate Committee
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the below statement following the Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of the Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance, and Development (VERDAD) Act, the most comprehensive effort to date to confront the crisis in Venezuela. The bipartisan legislation moves to be considered by the full Senate.
“Venezuela was once a beacon of prosperity and liberty in Latin America but Nicolás Maduro, and Hugo Chávez before him, have decimated the economy and corrupted their democracy,” said Senator Gardner. “The bipartisan VERDAD Act is a comprehensive tool for the United States government to take effective action against the Maduro regime and restore the nation of Venezuela to its once celebrated status. This legislation turns words into actions, reinforcing the bond between the American and Venezuelan peoples and continuing the United States’ long-standing support for Venezuelans’ ability to decide their political future.”
The VERDAD Act drastically increases humanitarian assistance, expands current tools to address kleptocracy, formally recognizes and supports the Interim President of Venezuela’s efforts to restore democracy and prosperity in the country, and accelerates planning with international financial institutions to advance the country’s post-Maduro reconstruction.
At today’s business meeting, the legislation was amended to include three bills approved by the House of Representatives to expand U.S. humanitarian assistance in Venezuela (H.R. 854), prohibit U.S. exports of arm sales to the Maduro regime (H.R. 920), and countering Russia’s presence and influence in Venezuela (H.R.1477).
The legislation was introduced by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ). Co-sponsors include Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ben Cardin (D-MD), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Todd Young (R-IN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John Barrasso (R-WY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tom Carper (D-DE).
A summary of the bill follows below. The full text can be found here.
Support for Venezuela’s Interim President and Recognition of the Venezuelan National Assembly
- Establishes U.S. policy to pursue a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the Venezuelan crisis.
Increased Humanitarian Relief for Venezuela
- Authorizes $400 million of new humanitarian assistance.
Addressing Maduro Regime’s Kleptocracy
- Restricts visas for the family members of sanctioned individuals and establishes a waiver with conditions to lift visa restrictions.
- Removes sanctions on designated individuals not involved in human rights abuse if they recognize Venezuela’s Interim President.
- Requires the State Department to work with Latin American and European governments to implement their own sanctions.
Supporting the Reconstruction of Venezuela
- Requires the Departments of State, Treasury and Justice to lead international efforts to freeze, recover, and repurpose the corrupt financial holdings of Venezuelan officials;
- Accelerates planning with international financial institutions on the economic reconstruction of Venezuela, contingent upon the restoration of democratic governance.
Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.
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