Ros-Lehtinen Commends Passage of Bipartisan NICA Act in the Senate

Nov 27, 2018

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman Emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, made the following statement after the U.S. Senate unanimously approved her H.R. 1918, the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality (NICA) Act, which seeks to condition U.S. approval for loans to the Ortega regime from international financial institutions. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced similar legislation, S. 2265, in the Senate. H.R. 1918 was amended in the Senate to include Senator Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) S. 3233, the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018, which seeks to impose additional sanctions on Nicaraguan regime officials, and which also included Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) amendment targeting the regime’s enablers. The amended H.R. 1918 now heads to the Floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for final consideration.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“I’m thankful to Ted and the rest of my colleagues in the Senate for their continued commitment to the people of Nicaragua. This bipartisan and bicameral effort demonstrates the United States’ unwavering commitment to take action against the Ortega regime’s increased repression and abysmal human rights abuses. Ortega and his henchmen have escalated their crackdown against the Nicaraguan people, implementing policies to intimidate and silence dissent. In addition, regime police have arbitrarily detained and imprisoned critics while regime mobs have killed hundreds of innocent people. These are the actions of someone who wants to stay in power no matter the cost.

The NICA Act ensures that the U.S. continues to respond accordingly by cutting off Ortega’s access to money until much needed electoral and human rights reforms are implementedThis bill also includes Bob’s legislation giving the Administration additional authorities to sanction more regime operatives, as well as Marco’s amendment that seeks to hold accountable any regime that provides assistance to help Ortega stay in power. As Ortega expands his cooperation with Venezuela, Cuba, Russia and other regimes, Nicaragua is both a security threat to the U.S. and an enemy to regional stability.

The House has acted on my legislation twice and I look forward to working with our leadership to ensure swift passage of this legislation once again. We must send this bill to the President’s desk and continue building a multi-layered U.S. approach that helps the Nicaraguan people break free of Ortega’s despotic rule.”

NOTE: On September 26, 2018, Senator Menendez’s S. 3233, the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with the NICA Act. On August 28, 2018, Ros-Lehtinen introduced H.R. 6683, a similar measure to the Menendez bill.

On April 5, 2017, Ros-Lehtinen introduced the NICA Act alongside Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. The bill passed unanimously the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee on May 24, 2017, passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 27, 2017 and passed the House of Representatives on October 3, 2017. On December 22, 2017, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), David Perdue (R-GA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced a similar bill.

Last Congress, on September 21, 2016, the U.S. House of Representative approved a similar version of the legislation by unanimous consent. The NICA Act aims to put conditions on Nicaragua similar to what Congress has already enacted into law regarding Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador (P.L. 114-113).