Washington D.C. – Today House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul (R-TX) took to the House floor to speak in support of H.R. 1580, the Global Fragility Act. This bill, which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support, will focus America’s diplomatic, development, and security efforts on preventing the root causes of violence and instability in countries around the world.

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-Remarks as Delivered-

“Thank you, Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of the Global Fragility Act. I want to thank my good friend Chairman Engel for introducing this bill. I am proud to be the lead Republican on this vital bipartisan legislation.

“Violent conflict costs the global economy more than 14 trillion dollars every year, killing tens of thousands of people, and displacing millions from their homes.

“In the past, the United States has invested billions of dollars to stabilize fragile states and conflict areas, often with little to show for it.

“We are successful militarily. For example, we have destroyed the so-called Caliphate in Iraq and Syria. But as former Secretary of Defense James Mattis once said, “The more that we put into the State Department’s diplomacy, hopefully the less we have to put into a military budget as we deal with the outcome.” Simply put, he said, we need to be more effective in helping to prevent conflicts before they erupt.

“And that is what this bill is designed to do. Weak governance, corruption, and extreme poverty fuel instability. Jihadi  groups prey on these conditions and plague key parts of the world with their violence and oppression. Fragile states provide fertile recruiting ground for these terrorists, and also transnational criminal organizations.

“Sadly, we are seeing jihadists expand in the Sahel region of Africa. Violent attacks linked to terror groups have doubled every year since 2016.

“When I was in Africa last month, I heard the tragic stories of this growing threat and I am glad that we are taking action today to help bring stability to this vital region by passing the Global Fragility Act.

“Our bill requires the Administration to launch a new initiative to coordinate our assistance in fragile states. This will ensure that the United States takes a whole-of-government approach by preventing violent conflict, rather than individual agencies funding piecemeal, uncoordinated activities.

“The bill requires the State Department to coordinate with USAID, the Department of Defense, and other agencies, in standing up a pilot program in a select number of countries.

“It also ensures consistent future funding, in order to take a long-term approach to our programs and objectives in those key selected locations.

“Madam Speaker, we must get this right. We are seeing unprecedented levels of instability, displacement, and humanitarian need around the world – in Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, the Sahel, South Sudan, and elsewhere. Preventing conflict and violence can save the U.S. taxpayer dollars and make our country and the rest of the world safer.

“Finally, I want to recognize the development community and NGO’s like the ONE Campaign for their important work that they have done on this critical humanitarian and national security issue. They have been extremely supportive of this bill and we look forward to working with them to get to final passage. 

“With that, Madame Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.