Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act (H.R. 2646), which increases assistance and defense cooperation with Jordan, a key partner for peace and security in the Middle East and in the fight against ISIS.

On the House floor prior to the vote, Chairman Royce delivered the following remarks (as prepared for delivery):

“We are here to reaffirm our strong commitment to one of our closest partners in the Middle East – Jordan. This bill gives us the opportunity to continue our close working relationship with Jordan in the struggle against ISIS, the Revolutionary Guards, and other groups who seek to destabilize and terrorize the Middle East.

Our partnership with Jordan goes beyond the fight against ISIS – or Daesh as it is sometimes called – on the battlefield, and this bill addresses both the military and economic elements of our close relationship. As they valiantly fight ISIS, Jordanians have struggled to absorb more than one million Syrian refugees while coping with a stagnant economy, over-burdened infrastructure and high unemployment for their youth.

Although Jordan has successfully worked with the Millennium Challenge Corporation and World Bank to address some longstanding economic challenges, it has not been enough to create the level of vital economic growth needed. Economic opportunity and prosperity in Jordan are one element of our bulwark against extremist groups and the Iranian regime, who seek to spread death, chaos and destruction.

In addition to supporting existing efforts, including regional water and energy projects that will bring needed resources and increased cooperation between neighbors, this bill calls for the establishment of an Enterprise Fund for Jordan – a measure previously authorized and funded by this body. This fund will help create economic opportunity through private-public partnership, investments in small and medium enterprises, and market development. Although not a familiar measure to many, enterprise funds have already been successful in Tunisia.

I want to once again thank Chairman Emeritus Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who championed this legation and whose tireless service in this chamber has benefited the people of Florida, the U.S. and the world.”