WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the Chair Emeritus of the Committee, today praised passage in the House of Representatives of their legislation to support the Venezuelan people. The Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act of 2017 (H.R.2658) mandates a strategy from the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide humanitarian aid to the Venezuelan people and strengthens the current approach to Venezuela at the United Nations. The bill also aims to combat widespread corruption among government officials in Venezuela. Similar legislation was authored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

“President Maduro is running Venezuela to the ground, and while many Venezuelans starve, some of the military brass are making money hand over fist by selling the country’s scarce supplies on the black market. By passing this legislation, we can attempt to provide the Venezuelan people with the resources that they so desperately need,” said Rep. Engel. “But the United States cannot do this alone. Sustained leadership is needed to address the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela—from the U.N. Secretary General, members of the Security Council, the OAS, and other international partners. I urge my Senate colleagues to immediately pass this bill, so that it can get to the President’s desk before the end of the year.”

"The Maduro regime has squandered the abundant natural resources of Venezuela and has brought the nation to the brink of disaster. Venezuelans suffer from malnutrition and lack food, medicines and even the basic necessities of life, all while Maduro and his cronies fill their own coffers, continue to erase the last vestiges of democracy in Venezuela, and ignore the suffering of the people. That is why I joined Eliot in introducing this bill—to seek a comprehensive plan that could provide humanitarian assistance and much-needed food and medical supplies to the countless who continue to suffer under Maduro—and I urge our partners in the Senate to follow suit and get this much needed bill to the President's desk,” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.

# # #