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Rep. Kim

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Young Kim (CA-40), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific, and Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, introduced the Millennium Challenge Corporation Candidate Reform Act, bipartisan legislation that would modernize the statutory criteria for Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) country partnerships to expand the impact of U.S. development assistance.  

In September 2022, the House voted 334-87 to pass similar legislation from Kim and Castro. The Senate companion bill to the Millennium Challenge Corporation Candidate Reform Act was introduced last month by Senators Robert Menendez (NJ) and James Risch (ID) and is scheduled for a markup on May 3, 2023. 

“The Millennium Challenge Corporation is leading the fight against global poverty, especially as families around the world are hurting from rising inflation, food supply chain disruptions, and increased conflict. It also serves as an important alternative to the People’s Republic of China’s Belt and Road Initiative to create opportunities for economic growth in developing countries,” said Congresswoman Kim. “I am proud to co-lead this bipartisan bill with Rep. Castro to give the MCC more flexibility to foster transparent U.S. financing options in the countries that need it the most.”  

“Over the last two decades, the Millennium Challenge Corporation has successfully established dozens of partnerships that promote sustainable economic development in poor but well-governed countries. As global development advances, the Millennium Challenge Corporation Candidate Reform Act will make sure MCC has the flexibility to work with countries where it can make the greatest impact. I’m grateful to Rep. Kim and Senators Menendez and Risch for their work on this effort, and I look forward to moving our bill through Congress and to the president’s desk,” said Congressman Castro. 

Under current law, MCC can partner with countries classified as either Low Income Countries (LICs) or Lower Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) by the World Bank based on their per capita Gross National Income (GNI). However, global incomes have risen since MCC was established in 2004, resulting in a shrinking country pool that no longer reflects the full set of countries that would benefit from MCC programming. The Millennium Challenge Corporation Candidate Reform Act would redefine the MCC’s candidate country pool to include countries eligible for lending through the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a more appropriate measure for the MCC to use in targeting poverty interventions than the current World Bank’s per capita income categories allow. This change would bring an additional 13 countries into the MCC’s candidate country pool, including four Pacific Island Countries on the front lines of U.S. competition with China. 

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