September 29, 2022

House Passes Castro-Kim Bill to Expand Global Impact of the Millennium Challenge Corporation

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 8463, 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 (MCC). The legislation was introduced by Reps. Castro (TX-20) and Young Kim (CA-39) with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (NY-05) and Reps. Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11) and Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) as original co-sponsors. 

“Over the last 18 years, the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s targeted partnerships have enabled lasting progress in the fight against global poverty,” said Rep. Joaquin Castro, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, International Development, and Global Corporate Social Impact. “As the MCC looks ahead to the challenges and opportunities of the future, this bill will ensure it has the flexibility to partner with countries where it can do the greatest good. I thank my colleagues, especially Rep. Young Kim, for working to build support for our bill on both sides of the aisle, and I urge our Senate colleagues to move swiftly to send this bill to President Biden’s desk.” 

“The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is critical to our global fight against poverty, especially as families around the world are hurting from rising inflation, food supply chain disruptions and increased conflict,” said Rep. Young Kim. “The MCC also plays an important role in giving countries an alternative to the People’s Republic of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. This bipartisan bill will give the MCC flexibility to continue fostering transparent U.S. financing options in the countries that need it most. I’m grateful to Rep. Castro for working with me on this effort and my House colleagues for supporting our mission to advance responsible, long-term solutions to global poverty and economic development.” 

“I’m proud to have supported the House passage of this bipartisan bill modernizing and expanding the reach of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, one of the U.S. government’s most effective providers of foreign assistance. The MCC aims to advance sustainable economic development in the world’s poorest countries, while creating new markets and spurring employment generation for U.S. and local businesses. Central to its mission, MCC also incentivizes countries to invest in their people and promote good governance and the rule of law. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in the Senate to take up and pass this bill so we can send this critical legislation to the President’s desk,” said House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks.   

“I am grateful for Representative Castro’s and Representative Kim’s long-standing support of MCC,” said MCC Chief Executive Officer Alice Albright. “The passage of the MCC Eligibility Expansion Act will allow this agency to further deliver on its mission to end poverty in partnership with countries that value democracy, transparency and accountability, and investing in their people. I would also like to thank Representatives Gregory Meeks, Chrissy Houlahan, and Nicole Malliotakis for being original co-sponsors of this bill, which ensures MCC can evolve how we do business and meet rising poverty rates in the countries that are tackling multiple crises and emergencies. I am hopeful this bill will pass the Senate before the end of the 117th Congress, and I look forward to the day President Biden signs the bill into law.” 

“ONE applauds House passage of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Eligibility Expansion Act. The bipartisan legislation provides much needed flexibility for the MCC to continue to provide robust support for economic development programs in lower- and lower middle-income countries and will support investment and job growth in Africa. We thank Reps. Joaquin Castro and Young Kim for authoring the bill, and Chairman Gregory Meeks, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan for their sponsorship,” said Kyle Matous, Senior Director of U.S. Government Relations, 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 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 Eligibility Expansion Act would adjust the income thresholds used to define the MCC’s candidate country pool as the world’s 125 poorest countries, using the same GNI per capita measurement, before any policy-based exclusions or the MCC’s “scorecard” measuring 20 different indicators of good governance, are applied.   

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

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