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house Bill H.R. 854

Should the U.S. Provide More Humanitarian Aid to Venezuela?

Argument in favor

Humanitarian aid is badly needed in Venezuela and surrounding countries. The U.S. needs to lead the international community’s response to the Venezuelan crisis by providing more aid and using its position in the United Nations to that end.

Cindylen's Opinion
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03/23/2019
If there is good you can do, do it. Isn’t that the example that we want to pass on to our children? Isn’t that the legacy that we want to be known for? Don’t we want to be seen as a good nation? A good people.
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Sandi's Opinion
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03/24/2019
We need to stop efforts at regime change and provide the humanitarian aid with no strings attached.
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SneakyPete's Opinion
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03/24/2019
👍🏻 Venezuelan Aid Needed NOW......... Venezuelan Humanitarian aid is badly needed in Venezuela and surrounding countries. The U.S. needs to lead the international community’s response to the Venezuelan crisis by providing more aid and using its position in the United Nations to that end. SneakyPete......... 👍🏻✈️🛩✈️👍🏻. 3*23*19..........
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Argument opposed

The US has already sent over $195 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela since fiscal year 2017, and the Trump administration has already committed to additional money if needed. There’s no need for this bill.

Loren's Opinion
···
03/23/2019
This is a pretext to influence regime change in a country that nationalized industry, against US economic interests. These measures have little to do with humanitarian aide and everything to do with US imperialism. Hands off Venezuela!
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John's Opinion
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03/23/2019
22,000,000,000,000.00 in debt. Where are the other nations that can support these people? We should help but how? How much are other countries willing to support? Where is their 200,000,000? England, France, Brazil? I understand we are the world police but why do we have to be the worlds checkbook?
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Deidre's Opinion
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03/23/2019
We have homeless street people, rural communities with low wages in the USA. We have veterans and elderly on the streets—we don’t need illegals here or the needy in Venezuela added to the budget. Take care of our US legal citizens first.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedJanuary 29th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 854?

This bill — the Humanitarian Assistance to the Venezuelan People Act of 2019 — would provide humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people, including migrants and refugees in other countries in the Western hemisphere. It’d require the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator to work with the Secretary of State on a long-term strategy to Congress detailing a plan to provide humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans both in the country and in neighboring countries. $150 million would be authorized for this purpose in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

This bill would also instruct the President to instruct the U.S. ambassador to the UN to use America’s voice, vote, and influence to secure the necessary votes to: 1) place the humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela on the UN’s agenda and 2) secure a Presidential Statement from the UN urging the Venezuelan government to allow the delivery of humanitarian relief.

Impact

Humanitarian aid; USAID; Venezuela; UN; Secretary of State; U.S. ambassador to the UN; and the president.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 854

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) introduced this bill to call on the Trump administration to form a long-term humanitarian aid strategy for Venezuela, provide up to $150 million in humanitarian aid directly to the Venezuelan people, and direct the US ambassador to the UN to make increased humanitarian assistance a priority of the international community:

“Maduro’s illegitimate regime plunged Venezuela into a deep political and humanitarian crisis that has spilled over into the rest of the region and the hemisphere. I support a quick restoration of Venezuela’s democracy, which means supporting interim President Juan Guaidó, and I strongly urge him to quickly hold free and fair elections. I believe providing increased humanitarian assistance – more than the $20 million that was announced by the Administration – directly to the Venezuelan people is imperative to their survival and will be a stabilizing force in the region and the hemisphere.”

Original cosponsor Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL) adds that humanitarian assistance is badly needed:

“Maduro’s dictatorship has caused famine in what once was the wealthiest country in South America. We continue to see images out of Venezuela of kids scavenging for food out of trash, hospitals with medicinal shortages overflowing with patients, and refugees surviving the immigration journey in precarious conditions. As Venezuela resolves its political unrest within the country, it is our duty and moral responsibility to provide humanitarian assistance for those in need. I join Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and colleagues, in calling for an increase in humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people.”

Morten Wendelbo, a research fellow at the American University School of Public Affairs, warns that U.S.-supplied aid could have substantial political consequences in Venezuela:

“As a political scientist who studies both the political ramifications of international assistance, and Venezuela’s growing instability, I find that humanitarian aid is rarely just about saving lives. In Venezuela, I believe that the U.S.-supplied aid may have substantial political consequences. USAID, the primary federal aid agency in the U.S., officially operates independently. However, in practice it has worked closely with the State Department, and the Trump administration discussed making it part of the department when Rex Tillerson served as secretary of state. The U.S. government generally considers aid and development assistance as part of their broader foreign policy. The State Department officially calls USAID an ‘important contributor to the objectives of the National Security Strategy of the United States.’ In other words, USAID’s work abroad is at least partially intended to safeguard American security and promote U.S. interests… Using aid to advance the national interest is not new. In 2001, when the war in Afghanistan got underway, the Bush administration used aid to complement the military effort to prevent terrorism. Because Afghanistan had harbored Osama bin Laden and others tied to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, USAID got a broad mandate and billions of dollars to help win the hearts and minds of Afghans. That policy was essentially a bet that once military intervention had defused the hostilities, Afghans would have a more favorable view of the U.S. – reducing the risk that terrorists would use Afghanistan as a launching pad. USAID has also played an explicit role in attempting to win hearts and minds in Iraq in the early 2000s, Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, and elsewhere. However, it is probably the agency’s history in Cuba that Maduro has on his mind. In 2014, a year after Maduro succeeded Chávez, the Associated Press reported that USAID covertly funded and ran the Cuban social network ZunZuneo to help spur dissent in Cuba… As Cuba is one of Venezuela’s most important allies, the Venezuelan media followed the ZunZuneo scandal closely. Venezuela denounced the U.S. for its role with the platform, also known as ‘Cuban Twitter,’ so Maduro is no doubt watching out for what the U.S. may attempt in Venezuela through its use of foreign aid.”

This bill has 12 Democratic cosponsors.


Of NoteSouth Florida Democrats — specifically the Miami congressional delegation — have introduced multiple bills in response to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. In addition to this bill, Rep. Donna Shalala's (D-FL) Venezuela Arms Restriction Act would ban the U.S. government from selling military equipment and riot-control gear to the Maduro regime and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s (D-FL) Russian-Venezuelan Threat Mitigation Act would require the State Department to monitor and provide Congress with steps to curb Russian military influence in the country.

On February 25, 2019, Vice President Pence announced that the U.S. will be providing nearly $56 million in additional humanitarian assistance to support the regional response for the nearly 3.4 million Venezuelan who had fled Venezuela. In a statement, USAID said:

“The United States will continue to pursue all avenues to increase humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans both inside and outside Venezuela. We support the courageous efforts and leadership of Interim President Guaido, National Assembly members, citizens, and partners in the region to deliver humanitarian assistance immediately to those in need inside Venezuela, and we will continue to work with them towards that goal. Now is the time to strengthen our commitment to the brave Venezuelan people. With this new funding, since Fiscal Year 2017, the United States has provided more than $195 million, including more than $152 million in humanitarian assistance and approximately $43 million in development and economic assistance, since Fiscal Year 2017 to provide life-saving aid and critical basic services to Venezuelans and affected communities and to build the long-term capacity to assist those who have fled repression and chaos in Venezuela. In addition, as announced by Secretary Pompeo on January 24, the United States is ready to provide more than $20 million in additional funding to support humanitarian assistance activities in Venezuela. This additional funding is going, in part, to the procurement of the humanitarian supplies pre-positioned on the Colombia- and Brazil-Venezuela borders.”

The U.S. sent its first aircraft with humanitarian aid for Venezuelan citizens to Colombia in mid-February, but President Maduro didn’t allow the aircraft’s contents into Venezuela. He claims that U.S. aid is a Trojan horse meant to undermine his regime and serve as a pretext for a U.S. invasion.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / brazzo)

AKA

Humanitarian Assistance to the Venezuelan People Act of 2019

Official Title

To provide humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people, including Venezuelan migrants and refugees in the Americas and for other purposes.

    If there is good you can do, do it. Isn’t that the example that we want to pass on to our children? Isn’t that the legacy that we want to be known for? Don’t we want to be seen as a good nation? A good people.
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    This is a pretext to influence regime change in a country that nationalized industry, against US economic interests. These measures have little to do with humanitarian aide and everything to do with US imperialism. Hands off Venezuela!
    Like (36)
    Follow
    Share
    22,000,000,000,000.00 in debt. Where are the other nations that can support these people? We should help but how? How much are other countries willing to support? Where is their 200,000,000? England, France, Brazil? I understand we are the world police but why do we have to be the worlds checkbook?
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    We have homeless street people, rural communities with low wages in the USA. We have veterans and elderly on the streets—we don’t need illegals here or the needy in Venezuela added to the budget. Take care of our US legal citizens first.
    Like (19)
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    No more aid unless we know it will get to the people who need it. Maduro won’t let that happen.
    Like (13)
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    How about we provide humanitarian aide to Puerto Rico which still hasn’t recovered from the hurricane and wasn’t significantly helped by Trump tossing them paper towels. They are USA. They fit in with America First. Besides, aid to Venezuela is a ploy to begin a regimen change and another huge fossil fuel theft.
    Like (11)
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    We have already given and their leadership has denied entry. So when Venezuela gets it’s leadership addressed then maybe we can support with more aid. Remember you can lead a horse to water, but you can not make them drink.
    Like (11)
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    No spend the 150 million on our poor people,in most cases we spend money on humanitarian hardships the people never see it the dictators or their government keep it.
    Like (10)
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    We are in severe debt in the U.S. We have many poor, hungry and homeless here in the U.S., and we need to help them first. There are plenty of private international nonprofit organizations and groups that can help. I no longer want to have no say in how my tax money is spent. I do want to donate to the nonprofits in order to help Venezuela. I feel for those people because I also lived through a communist governmental system failure under the USSR. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to approach the Venezuelan crisis.
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    What kind of question is this? Aid is being stopped at their borders by the Venezuela Military! What stupid idiot came up with this question! There should be military intervention! That country in wealth and the standing of the their currency before socialism was second in the world only to the U.S. 🇺🇸. You Flakey Squerels better rethink yourselves!
    Like (8)
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    We need to stop efforts at regime change and provide the humanitarian aid with no strings attached.
    Like (7)
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    The US has already sent over $195 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela since fiscal year 2017, and the Trump administration has already committed to additional money if needed. There’s no need for this bill.
    Like (7)
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    It will only be confiscated or destroyed by the ruling communists.
    Like (6)
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    👍🏻 Venezuelan Aid Needed NOW......... Venezuelan Humanitarian aid is badly needed in Venezuela and surrounding countries. The U.S. needs to lead the international community’s response to the Venezuelan crisis by providing more aid and using its position in the United Nations to that end. SneakyPete......... 👍🏻✈️🛩✈️👍🏻. 3*23*19..........
    Like (6)
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    Send that $150 million to Flint, MI
    Like (6)
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    HELP AMERICANS FIRST! There are too many people in America struggling to get by thanks to the Cabal, who has been systematically destroying America practically since its inception! They are the ones that finance wars for both sides, introduced drugs and alcohol, and made sure Americans became fat, lazy, & disconnected from the harsh realities of what is actually happening in the world. I’ll be happy to help other countries...just as soon as there are no more homeless veterans, drug addicts, or people having to go without basic necessities like; shelter, heat/ac, clean water, healthy food, reliable transportation, various toiletries for hygiene and weather appropriate clothing. Oh yeah, don’t forget the 22+Trillion in “public debt”. 🤬
    Like (5)
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    I vote no. Let’s take care of Puerto Rico, New Orleans, NY as they still suffer from natural disasters. Let’s do a better job of taking care of our children that go hungry. Pay our teachers more. Let’s do this stuff first
    Like (5)
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    We have to stop propping up nations that have a socialist system as it prolongs their agonizing existence. Let it fail naturally and the people will take back their government and restore their freedom from the enslavement of socialism.
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    Although my first response is- what about Puerto Rico? It seems like this is one way to both help Venezuela and help stem the tide of fleeing immigrants. If you are one of those self centered people who doesn’t want to offer sanctuary to those fleeing violence and poverty then the obvious answer is to help them make their home countries safer.
    Like (4)
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    What's that old adage? "Charity begins at home." We need to stop giving aid to other countries and start giving more to our own citizens.
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