December 20, 2013
On December 12, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Assessing Progress in Haiti Act (H.R. 3509) with bipartisan support. This bill, for which UUSC has been advocating for over two years, would increase accountability for and transparency in U.S. aid to Haiti as that country continues to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake.
The legislation, authored by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA), has been lauded throughout the House for its mechanisms to ensure adequate oversight in U.S.-funded recovery efforts. In a press release from her office, Rep. Lee said, "The Haitian people have continued to demonstrate resiliency, strength, and bravery despite the tragic events that have occurred. It is beyond time that in turn, Congress supports Haiti to ensure that relief and reconstruction funds in Haiti are effectively spent to maximize their long term impact."
In recent months, UUSC and our supporters have built momentum for the passage of this legislation. Supporters have called their representatives, signed a moral statement insisting on a just recovery in Haiti, visited their legislators on Capitol Hill, and more — all to ensure that effective aid to Haiti remains on the Congressional radar.
Shelley Moskowitz, UUSC's manager for public policy and mobilization, reflects on the House bill debate: "It was so heartening to hear 20 minutes of floor speeches from both sides of the aisle calling for increased accountability of U.S. aid to Haiti and for policies that protect those most in need." Now that the bill has passed the House, it moves on to the Senate, where it has been referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. We'll keep you updated on the bill's progress — and any opportunities for taking action — in 2014!