July 29, 2022

House Foreign Affairs Committee Advances Castro/Kim Bill to Expand Global Development Impact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation

WASHINGTON – This week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee advanced the Millennium Challenge Corporation Eligibility Expansion Act, bipartisan legislation that would expand the number of countries eligible for development partnerships with the Millennium Challenge Corporation. The legislation was introduced by Reps. Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Young Kim (CA-39) with Reps. Gregory Meeks (NY-05), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), and Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) as original co-sponsors.

“As the world makes progress in the fight against poverty, Congress needs to give the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) the flexibility to continue its important work,” said Rep. Castro, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Development, International Organizations, and Global Corporate Social Impact. “The Millennium Challenge Corporation Eligibility Expansion Act (MCCEEA) will protect MCC’s ability to partner with a wider range of developing countries to promote economic growth, advance long-term solutions to global poverty, and support good governance. I thank Chairman Meeks for his commitment to moving our bill through committee, and I look forward to working with the MCCEEA’s broad coalition of supporters to move this bill forward.”

“The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) provides grants for vital projects in developing countries that stimulate economic growth and encourage private sector investment. As the People’s Republic of China continues pushing forward with its Belt and Road Initiative, expanding the MCC’s country eligibility is critical for fostering transparent and responsible financing opportunities in developing countries,” said Rep. Young Kim. “I’m proud to work with Chair Meeks and Reps. Castro and Malliotakis to support and improve the MCC so the U.S. can remain a leader on the world stage.”

“For almost 20 years, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has played a vital role in addressing the root causes of poverty and promote sustainable international development and good governance. The Millennium Challenge Corporation Eligibility Expansion Act will allow MCC to expand its work and forge new partnerships with numerous countries around the world,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Meeks. 

“ONE thanks Chairman Gregory Meeks and Reps. Joaquin Castro, Young Kim, Nicole Malliotakis, and Chrissy Houlahan for their bipartisan Millennium Challenge Corporation Eligibility Expansion Act, which provides needed certainty and flexibility to the MCC. These reforms will help the MCC continue its successful work to reduce poverty through economic growth,” said Suzanne Granville, North America Executive Director for the ONE Campaign.

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. 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 Eligibility Expansion Act would adjust the income thresholds used to define the MCC’s candidate country pool as the world’s 125 poorest countries before any policy-based exclusions or the MCC’s “scorecard” measuring 20 different indicators of good governance, is applied.

A fact sheet on the Millennium Challenge Corporation Eligibility Act can be found here.

A section-by-section on the bill can be found here.

The full text of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Eligibility Expansion Act can be found here.