Rep. Cuellar Supports US-MX Relations, Trade with Appropriations Bill
Today, Congressman Henry Cuellar announced that the Omnibus Appropriations Act passed by the House last week included funding and language to support international trade and relations between the United States and Mexico.
For example, Congressman Cuellar supported efforts to streamline commerce at land ports of entry by directing the federal agencies involved to improve their staffing models, and encouraged early steps to explore a rail line between the U.S. and Mexico via Texas.
“Mexico is an important friend to the United States. We get tremendous benefits from our collaboration with that nation on security, commerce, and culture,” explained Congressman Cuellar. “In Texas in particular, our economy is driven by international trade, which supports 1.5 million jobs in the state. These common-sense measures to streamline trade and general relations with our southern neighbor will benefit businesses and communities throughout the country.”
Highlights of provisions he included in the Omnibus, related to U.S.-Mexico relations include:
· Directing USDA, FDA, and CBP to improve their staffing models at land ports of entry, to streamline commerce at those locations;
· Directing the Secretary of Agriculture to develop a U.S.-Mexico working group to find ways to improve the flow of international commerce;
· Increasing U.S.-Mexico academic exchanges for high school, college, and post-graduate students through the Department of State; and
· Directing the Department of Transportation to study what standards and protocols are needed for a passenger and freight rail line between the U.S. and Mexico via Texas.
In addition, he helped secure the following appropriations:
· $18,000,000 for State Trade & Export Promotion;
· $90,000,000 for Mexico via International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement;
· $49,004,000 for Mexico via the Economic Support Fund which is an increase of $10 million above FY16 for programs to support justice reform, promote good governance, protect human rights, implement crime and violence prevention programs, and facilitate United States-Mexico trade and investment;
· $5 million for Foreign Military Financing; and
· $1.5 million for International Military Education and Training.
He was also successful in working with former State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chair Kay Granger to secure $655 million for the United States Strategy for Engagement in Central America in support of the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle of Central America. This funding will help support civil society reforms in Central America, as well as fight the causes of violence which have forced people to make the dangerous journey to our Southern U.S. Border.
These provisions were part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act to fund the government for fiscal year 2017, which passed the House of Representatives last week. The bill also included many other key legislative priorities for Congressman Cuellar, including support for education, clean drinking water, Rio Grande Valley citrus growers, and good governance.
Congressman Cuellar represents 280 miles of U.S.-Mexico border.