Washington, D.C. – The House of Representatives today passed two measures – H.R. 2658 and H. Res. 259 – supporting the Venezuelan people’s democratic and human rights.

H.R. 2658 calls on the Secretary of State and USAID Administrator to develop a strategy to help the people of Venezuela through humanitarian assistance. H. Res. 259 calls on regional leaders and the Organization of American States to continue pressuring the Maduro regime to release political prisoners, dissolve the unconstitutional constituent assembly and schedule free and fair elections.

Below are a few key excerpts (as prepared for delivery) from House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce’s (R-CA) remarks on the House floor Tuesday in support of the two measures:

“As the authoritarian Venezuelan government digs in its heels and consolidates power, the people of that once-wealthy nation last year experienced a 65 percent increase in maternal mortality, a 30 percent increase in infant mortality and a 76 percent increase in malaria cases… A 2016 report revealed that 75 percent of Venezuelans had lost an average of 19 pounds due to lack of proper nutrition and food shortages…

“I applaud the administration for sanctioning those in the Maduro regime complicit in the rampant corruption and the anti-democratic measures that have stifled the will of the people… The destabilizing effect of the Maduro regime must end.  The resumption of talks this week between the opposition and the Maduro regime cannot be just another way for the regime to buy time.  The international community, regional leaders, and this body must be united in its insistence that Maduro take serious the need for resolution of this serious political and humanitarian crisis.”