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Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Prevent Conflict and Violence in Fragile Countries

BIPARTISAN GROUP OF LAWMAKERS INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO PREVENT CONFLICT AND VIOLENCE IN FRAGILE COUNTRIES

—Engel, McCaul, Smith, Wagner, Keating, and Rooney Reintroduce the Global Fragility Act, Passed in the House Last Congress—

WASHINGTON—Today, a bipartisan group of members of Congress reintroduced legislation that would focus America’s diplomatic, development, and security efforts on preventing the root causes of violence and instability in countries around the world. The Global Fragility Act, which passed the House last Congress, would require the Department of State, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense to coordinate on a global initiative aimed at stabilizing conflict affected areas and preventing the violence and fragility that allow terrorists, criminal networks, and war lords to take hold in the first place.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee; Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), Vice Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA), Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment; and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade.

“When we help countries become stronger and more stable, we make it harder for terrorists, criminals, and other violent groups to put down roots. That makes the United States and our partners safer. In the years since 9/11, we’ve all seen what can happen when we don’t take that preventive, holistic approach to our engagement abroad,”said Rep. Engel.  “I’m pleased to be joining my colleagues to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation to focus our diplomatic, development, and security efforts on meeting this challenge.”

Rep. McCaul said, “Violent conflict and instability is costing the global economy trillions of dollars annually and generating fertile recruiting grounds for terrorists and transnational criminal organizations. The bipartisan Global Fragility Act confronts these threats by targeting the root causes of fragility such as extreme poverty, lack of economic opportunity, and weak governance. The U.S. must prioritize conflict prevention and better leverage our assistance dollars to support fragile states on a path towards long-term stability and resilience. This legislation provides a whole of government approach to address the drivers of fragility in priority countries and regions. I am proud to advance this critical legislation with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to tackle the problem head on and promote stability around the world.”

“The Global Fragility Act represents a significant step in bringing the defense, diplomatic, and development communities of the United States together to help address the root causes of violence and fragility. Instability in the form of conflict, famine, and disease around the world continues to foster extremism and leads to the displacement of millions of people. Better coordination within the U.S. government, and with civil society and international partners, is critical to tackling the complex challenge of preventing and reducing extremism around the world,”saidRep. Smith.

“The Global Fragility Act would better orient America's diplomatic efforts toward protecting vulnerable populations living in conflict-affected areas. The legislation authorizes the Complex Crises Fund, a critical global account I have long supported that enables the United States to respond swiftly and efficiently to unforeseen crises when funding gaps occur. Conflict fuels humanitarian crises and instability, which can allow violent groups to develop strongholds. Prevention of conflict abroad also leads to a safer America at home. I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation that will strengthen our efforts to prevent global violence and fragility before it occurs,” said Rep. Wagner.

“As we know all too well from terrible attacks on the U.S. and our allies in recent decades, we are less safe here at home when systemic violence and instability takes hold around the world,” said Rep. Keating. “The Global Fragility Act is a critical piece of U.S. national security policy to tackle this reality by addressing the root causes of situations that leave communities around the world vulnerable to conflict and extremism. This legislation requires an interagency strategy and investments so that our resources are coordinated to have the greatest possible impact, and so that we learn as much as possible about how to best combat systemic violence and fragility. Time and again, our research has shown that focusing on fragility is a much more effective way to create more sustainable peace and security around the world, which is why I am proud to again be a lead cosponsor of the Global Fragility Act.” 

Rep. Rooney stated, “It is imperative that all necessary federal agencies collaborate to address the underlying factors that breed conflict and violence in fragile countries around the world. As we have seen here in the Western Hemisphere, the effects of these vulnerabilities transcend borders in the form of the displacement and drug trafficking crises we face today. The Global Fragility Act fosters this collaboration so that we can help these fragile countries around the world better combat the challenges they face and to root out violence and extremism.”

Full text of the Global Fragility Act (H.R. 1580), can be found here.