McCaul heralds House approval of bipartisan measure toward curbing violence worldwide

U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee, commended U.S. House passage of a bipartisan bill he cosponsored to strengthen America’s abilities to combat international violence and reduce global terrorism.

“Today, the House took an important step to reduce worldwide violence and improve international stability,” Rep. McCaul said on Nov. 28 after the House voted 376-16 to approve the Global Fragility and Violence Reduction Act of 2018.

H.R. 5273 would reduce global instability and violence by improving the capacity of the United States to address the causes of violence, violent conflict and fragility, among other purposes, according to the text of the bill in the congressional record. U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) sponsored the bill on March 14. Rep. McCaul is an original cosponsor of H.R. 5273.

Global violence and inhumane conflict, Rep. McCaul pointed out, costs the world’s economy more than $14 trillion each year to set up large-scale international responses and to deliver humanitarian aid.

Rep. Engel, ranking member on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, said on the House floor prior to the vote on H.R. 5273 that levels of violence around the world “are at a 25-year high, driving massive instability.”

Consequently, he said, such instability produces “fragile, unstable states” that breed criminals and terrorists.

“This legislation directs USAID, the State Department, and the Defense Department to work with other relevant agencies in crafting an integrated strategy in a number of these ‘fragile states,’” said Rep. McCaul. “The strategy would focus on preventing the total breakdown of government, while also denying terrorist groups the unstable, fertile territory from which they recruit.”

A statement released by Rep. McCaul’s office this week said violence and violent conflict are now the leading causes of displacement around the world with 68.5 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, lands and countries every year.

If enacted, H.R. 5273 would authorize the State Department, Defense Department, and USAID to designate at least six priority countries or regions where they would implement 10-year plans for addressing violence and fragility, according to the statement.

The legislation is supported by numerous groups, including the Alliance for Peacebuilding, Bread for the World, CARE, the Center on Conscience and War, Cure Violence, Educators’ Institute for Human Rights, Foreign Policy 4 America, International Civil Society Action Network, the International Crisis Group, and World Relief, among many others.

“By proactively prioritizing the necessary resources and with our federal departments working in unison, we will be better positioned to eliminate terrorist safe havens, stimulate global stability, and avoid large-scale international interventions,” said Rep. McCaul.

The U.S. Senate received H.R. 5273 on Nov. 28 and referred it to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee for consideration.