Shalala bill included as an amendment to the VERDAD Act
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee included H.R. 920, Venezuela Arms Restriction Act, which was introduced by Rep. Shalala and passed by the House in March, as an amendment to the Senate’s Venezuela Emergency Relief, Democracy Assistance, and Development (VERDAD) Act.
The VERDAD Act, which today passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 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. The VERDAD Act now includes provisions, introduced by Rep. Shalala as part of H.R. 920, to prohibit the export of defense articles and crime control materials from the United States to the security forces of Venezuela.
“Ever since the illegitimate Nicolas Maduro usurped power in January, the Venezuelan people and the interim President Juan Guaido have made it clear that Maduro must go,” said Rep. Shalala. “The world has witnessed the violent actions of Maduro’s security forces and its use of weapons to violently disperse crowds during peaceful protests. Now that the bill has passed the Senate committee, it is one step closer to becoming law. I want to thank my Senate colleagues of the Foreign Relations Committee for working with us to help bring freedom and democracy to the people of Venezuela,” said Shalala.
Rep. Shalala and Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz visited the Venezuela–Colombia border in February to see first-hand the humanitarian and public health crisis taking place there. The Members of Congress met with Colombian officials and Venezuelan opposition leaders to discuss support for the people of Venezuela, including those who have fled to neighboring countries and South Florida.
“Venezuela continues to face a political, economic, and health crisis of catastrophic proportions. People are poorer, sicker, and hungrier, and the United States and our allies stand together as we continue to apply pressure on the Maduro regime. With bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, our bill sends a clear message to the Venezuelan people: We are with you,” said Shalala.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee also amended the VERDAD Act to include the bills introduced by South Florida Representatives Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Debbie Wasserman Schultz that will provide $150 million in humanitarian aid directly to the Venezuelan people and conduct a threat assessment of Russian influence in Venezuela and its impact on the United States and our allies, respectively.
Rep. Shalala is an original co-sponsor of both bills introduced by her South Florida colleagues.