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Senate Foreign Relations Committee Introduces $3.5B 5-Year Bill To Support Haiti Reconstruction

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee introduced legislation Wednesday that “authorizes $3.5 billion over five years to support Haiti’s rebuilding and reconstruction,” Politico’s Laura Rozen writes on her blog.

“The legislation, co-sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), directs USAID to develop a comprehensive rebuilding and development strategy for Haiti, proposes a policy framework to address critical priorities, and calls for a Senior Haiti Policy Coordinator, responsible for advising, overseeing, and coordinating U.S. policy towards Haiti,” according to the blog (5/5). A press release from Kerry further outlines the legislation (5/5).

Also on Wednesday, the House of Representatives approved a measure by voice vote that would provide “trade breaks for Haiti’s textile industry, the latest of several actions aimed at helping the hemisphere’s poorest nation recover from a devastating earthquake,” the Associated Press reports (Abrams, 5/5). According to CongressDaily: “The measure would extend Haiti trade preferences and a separate program enabling duty-free exports from the Caribbean region until 2020, providing certainty to U.S. firms seeking to source apparel goods there. … The measure now moves to the Senate, where it enjoys bipartisan support from the Finance Committee leadership” (5/5).

In related Haiti news, the Christian Science Monitor examines the prevalence of rape in Haiti and the response from aid groups. “The precise number of rape and domestic violence victims is difficult to determine, even with the increased presence of foreign and international medical organizations working in the camps. Just two months after the quake, outreach workers tracked some 230 cases in 15 camps. Today there are more than 1,300 camps,” the publication writes. “More than 200 organizations, part of the Gender Based Violence (GBV) cluster from the United Nations, are working to improve conditions for women. … In partnership with the Haitian government and other groups, they have distributed thousands of postcards that list places to go for psychological and medical follow-up support” (Klarreich, 5/5).

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