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Menendez and Corker Legislation on Preventing International Child Abduction and Increasing Access to Electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa Passes Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Washington, DC – The Senate Foreign Relations Committee today passed the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act and Energize Africa.

Both bills were sponsored by Chairman Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN).

The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act strengthens, streamlines, and adds important prevention measures to H.R. 3212, which the House passed in December 2013.  It bolsters U.S. policy regarding international parental child abduction and access cases in both Hague Abduction Convention and non-Convention countries. The bill addresses the diverse needs of left-behind parents and families by bringing greater transparency to the process and making additional resources available to assist them. The legislation also requires the U.S. government to establish a specific program to prevent abductions before they occur.

The Energize Africa Act seeks to help contribute a meaningful role in providing nearly 600 million Africans with electricity.  The legislation will make it US policy to help 50 million Africans with first-time access to electricity and add 20,000 megawatts of electricity to the grid by 2020.

The Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act

“This bill was inspired by the 5-year battle New Jersey native David Goldman waged to bring his son Sean home from Brazil,” said Senator Menendez. “David lived every parent’s worst nightmare, but would not rest until Sean was home and back in his arms. This bill will help parents like David with the tools to assist in securing the return of their abducted children and bolster prevention options so that children are less likely to be abducted in the first place.”

“We can do more to protect parents and children who may be victimized by these abductions, so I appreciate the committee for taking action to further address this problem. Our legislation seeks to both improve prevention and ensure all reasonable steps are taken to help reunite children who are torn apart from a parent,” said Senator Corker.

Energize Africa Act

“Electricity is among the most pressing restraints to growth and human development in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Menendez. “U.S. leadership can help provide modern, clean, reliable, and affordable energy services to people lacking access to electricity, and this legislation will help jump start that effort. We must develop power solutions for people across Africa based on a comprehensive plan to attract private investment. It does not simply mean building new power plants, it means working to build brighter futures. New off-grid technologies and working with utilities to attract private investment will help create American export jobs and stimulate economic growth in Africa.”   

“I thank the committee for advancing a bill that will leverage private investment to help millions of people improve their lives through first-time access to power. By working with the private sector, these economic development projects can stand on their own and have a transformative impact without spending additional federal dollars,” said Corker.