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Corker, Coons BUILD Act to Modernize U.S. Development Finance Passes Committee

Legislation to Establish Single, Self-Sustaining U.S. International Development Finance Corporation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today praised committee passage of their bipartisan legislation to promote economic growth in developing economies through U.S. business investment and provide more accountability for taxpayers at no expected cost. S.2463, The Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 (BUILD Act), will establish a single, full-service, self-sustaining international development finance entity to reform and streamline the tools of multiple agencies with an emphasis on free-market principles. Buoyed by strong support in Congress, from the administration, and among key stakeholders, the new development finance corporation would leverage the U.S. private sector’s expertise and investment capital to generate economic growth in the developing world that will support American interests. The House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a companion bill in May.

“Our foreign assistance programs should set the goal of putting themselves out of business,” said Corker. “With this legislation, we can make huge strides toward achieving that goal by fostering private sector growth at no expected cost to taxpayers. Thanks to strong support in Congress, within the administration, and among a broad coalition of businesses and nongovernmental organizations, we are another step closer to making this transformation a reality.”

“The bipartisan BUILD Act will create a 21st century development finance institution with the full suite of tools to bring U.S. private sector investment to low income countries around the world,” said Coons. “These new investments will reduce poverty in countries that are critical to our national security while helping U.S. businesses grow and succeed. I’m extremely pleased that our bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with bipartisan support today, and I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Senate and House until it becomes law.”

The BUILD Act will establish the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC), assuming the activities of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), USAID’s Development Credit Authority, USAID’s Enterprise Funds, and other programs.

The IDFC will prioritize support for projects in low and lower middle-income countries where it furthers U.S. national security and economic interests and where the project can be shown to have a demonstrable development outcome. Congress will maintain oversight of the IDFC by reviewing the agency’s public reports on its development impact and through independent audits and the establishment of an inspector general in the corporation.

The IDFC will have the authority to: issue direct loans, including local currency loans; issue guaranties, including local currency guaranties; provide political risk insurance; fund first losses; participate in equity investments; provide technical assistance; make limited grants to unlock larger investments; and attract private sector talent.