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Risch, Menendez Introduce MCC Candidate Country Reform Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today introduced the MCC Candidate Country Reform Act, legislation to redefine the pool of candidate countries from which the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) selects its partners.

“From its competitive selection process to its focus on transparency, accountability, and results, the MCC has completely changed the way the United States and our partners approach foreign aid,” said Ranking Member Risch. “This legislation will help ensure the MCC can continue its mission to reduce poverty through market-based economic growth by enabling it to work with the right partners, in the right places, and at the right times.”

“I am proud to lead the charge in bolstering the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s global impact, which is constrained by outdated policies that limit MCC’s candidate pool and prevent it from operating in several countries with significant development needs,” said Chairman Menendez. “By reforming the metrics used to determine candidate countries that could be considered for assistance, our bipartisan legislation broadens the reach of MCC’s targeted and host-country-led compacts to new deserving communities. As the Millennium Challenge Corporation approaches its 20th anniversary later this year, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to secure our legislation’s passage.”

Text of the legislation can be found here.


The MCC is a small, independent development agency established by Congress in 2004 with a mandate to reduce poverty through economic growth. It uses a competitive, data-driven process to select partners and an economic tool to guide large-scale, five-year investments in qualifying low- and lower middle-income countries.

This legislation would redefine the MCC’s candidate country pool to include countries eligible for lending through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a more appropriate measure for the MCC to use in targeting poverty interventions than the current World Bank’s per capita income categories allow. This change would bring an additional 13 countries into the MCC’s candidate country pool, including four Pacific Island Countries on the front lines of U.S. competition with China.