Torres Shapes Policy Towards Northern Triangle in Omnibus Funding Bill
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Norma J. Torres (CA-35), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, used her seat on the powerful committee to shape U.S. policy toward the Northern Triangle.
Torres, who is the only Central American currently serving in the U.S. Congress, included a myriad of provisions in the Omnibus Appropriations package passed out of Congress last night:
- Anti-Corruption Funding: For the second consecutive year, Rep. Torres sought and secured $45 million for anti-corruption and rule of law efforts in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, including $10 million for civil society organizations.
- Identifying Corrupt Officials: Torres secured a reporting requirement for a list of corrupt officials in the Northern Triangle. The report specifically asks the U.S. State Department and U.S. Treasury to provide names of officials for whom they have credible information about committing corrupt acts, including narcotics trafficking and the receipt or disbursement of political financing tied to narcotics trafficking. For each individual, the report must outline what steps will be taken and whether sanctions will be imposed. This follows previous requests Torres made resulting in two reports to Congress.
- Indigenous Exchange: Torres secured funding for an indigenous exchange pilot program through the Inter-American Foundation intended to foster connections between indigenous people of Latin America and Native American tribes, creating new economic opportunities for both parties.
- Protecting Women & Children: Torres secured $25 million for programs in the Northern Triangle to protect women and children. These funds build on Torres’ proposed authorization of $20 million as part of her bill, the Central American Women and Children Protection Act, and deliver a $5 million increase over FY2020.
- Preventing Military Financing: Rep. Torres ensured that the U.S. will not provide foreign military financing to the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Rep. Torres released the following statement:
“The United States has an obligation to support the rule of law, protect the vulnerable and expand opportunity through our foreign policy investments,” Rep. Torres said. “My provisions achieve exactly that for the Northern Triangle, and will create more stability in the region as a result. These are exactly the kinds of policies that were missing when I was a young girl in Guatemala – I have vivid memories of that uncertain and dangerous existence.
“Those personal experiences are the driving force behind so much of my work,” Torres added. “I want to thank Western Hemisphere Sub-Committee Chairman Sires for his ongoing support, and I look forward to working with incoming Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Meeks and Incoming Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Delauro in the next Congress.”