May 05,2010

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Baucus, Grassley Applaud House Passage of Legislation to Speed Haiti Earthquake Recovery

Finance Leaders Call for Quick Senate Passage of Bill to Extend, Expand Trade Preference Programs for Haiti

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) hailed passage in the House of Representatives today of legislation they introduced to help speed Haiti’s economic recovery following January's earthquake, and called for swift passage of that legislation in the Senate.  Baucus, Grassley and leaders from the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced the bill to extend and expand trade preference programs for Haiti in April.  Baucus and Grassley said today they hope the bill can be passed quickly in the Senate and sent to the President soon. 

“January’s devastating earthquake shattered the lives and the economy of our neighbors in Haiti, and the Haitian people need our help to rebuild their country,” Baucus said.  “Our bill is a common-sense approach that will provide sustainable, long-term assistance to help Haiti get back on its feet by improving U.S. market access for Haitian textiles.  I look forward to timely passage of this bill in the Senate so these programs can begin helping the people of Haiti rebuild their economy as quickly as possible.”

“This bill reflects a bipartisan, bicameral compromise that balances the concerns of domestic producers with providing meaningful trade benefits for Haiti’s apparel sector,” Grassley said.  “The legislation will help to spur investment and create jobs in Haiti and so assist that country in its long-term economic recovery from the devastating earthquake.  At the same time, the legislation addresses the concerns that have been expressed by the U.S. textile industry with respect to both domestic and regional production of textiles and apparel.  It’s good to see this bill move forward.”

The Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP) Act, passed by the House today, will expand duty-free access to the U.S. market for Haitian textile and apparel exports and extend existing trade preference programs for Haiti through 2020.  Baucus, Grassley and their House colleagues worked closely with the U.S. retail and textile industries to craft the HELP Act and both industries have expressed their support for the bill.

Complete text, a summary and more information on the HELP Act is available here.