WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and author of “Rethinking the Battlefield,” joined U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) in introducing bipartisan legislation to promote sustainable growth in developing economies through U.S. business investment. 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 development agencies and significantly grow our lending capacity. The new development finance corporation will leverage the U.S. private sector’s expertise and investment capital to generate economic growth in the developing world that will support American interests and national security. The concept for a consolidated development bank was outlined in Senator Murphy’s “Rethinking the Battlefield” proposal, which contained specific recommendations to dramatically increase the United States’ non-military footprint abroad, as well as the president’s FY 2019 budget request (Pg. 81).
“Using every tool at our disposal – military, economic, and diplomatic – is the only smart way to address the root causes of conflict and instability and forge a world that is safe for Americans. That’s why I’ve been fighting to make investments to reduce poverty and boost economic development abroad,” said Murphy. “The BUILD Act is a game changer in how we use financial instruments to facilitate development projects. It will dramatically expand opportunities for U.S. businesses overseas while lifting many of the world’s poorest people out of extreme poverty. It’s the best way to get the most return out of every dollar for American security.”
The bipartisan 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 USAID’s Office of Private Capital and Microenterprise. The IDFC will operate in low and lower middle-income countries where it furthers the 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.
Murphy’s “Rethinking the Battlefield,” a comprehensive proposal containing specific recommendations to dramatically increase the United States’ non-military footprint abroad by nearly doubling the U.S. foreign affairs budget – including the State Department and USAID – with an emphasis on funding for international development, additional foreign service officers, anti-corruption efforts, countering propaganda, crisis response, and humanitarian relief.
In addition to Murphy, Corker, and Coons, the BUILD Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.).