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Waltz Introduces BOLIVAR Act to Ban Contracting with the Maduro Regime

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, U.S. Congressman Michael Waltz (FL-6) introduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit government contracting with persons that have business operations with the Maduro regime.

“The U.S. must use every means necessary to strip any funding mechanisms that helps bolster the illegitimate and corrupt Maduro socialist regime,” said Congressman Waltz. “This bipartisan legislation sets the roadmap for other countries to follow in hopes of restoring freedom and prosperity for the people of Venezuela.”

The ‘Banning Operations and Leases with Illegitimate Venezuelan Authoritarian Regime Act, or the BOLIVAR Act, will prohibit the head of an executive agency from entering into a contract for the procurement of goods or services with any person that has business operations with the Maduro regime.

The BOLIVAR Act is cosponsored by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Congressman Mario Diaz Balart (FL-25), Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy (FL-7), Congresswoman Maria Salazar (FL-27), Congressman Carlos Giménez (FL-26), Congresswoman Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (PR-AL), Congressman Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Congressman Bill Posey (FL-8), Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-1), and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1).

“Doing business with a criminal and murderous Maduro regime will only prolong the pain inflicted on the Venezuelan people,” said Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz.  “American taxpayer money should never further the reign of this narco-terrorist, directly or indirectly. Banning U.S. government agency contracts with anyone who does business with Maduro will not only stifle his support network, but it also sends another clear message that, just like the vast majority of global democracies, America will not tolerate this oppressive government.”   

"I commend Rep. Waltz for building on his legislation from the previous Congress to protect U.S. national security interests by prohibiting U.S. contracts that enrich the Maduro dictatorship," said Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. "We must continue to support the Venezuelan people by denying resources to their oppressors, oppressors who have engaged in narco-trafficking, corrupted Venezuela’s once democratic institutions, and perpetrated egregious human rights abuses including torture, imprisonment of political opponents, and murder. I strongly support this bipartisan effort to ensure that U.S. dollars are not used to sustain the anti-American, murderous regime in Venezuela."

“The Maduro regime is a threat to the people of Venezuela, to stability in Latin America, and to U.S. national security interests,” said Congresswoman Murphy. “I am proud to support this bipartisan bill led by members of Florida’s congressional delegation because the United States should use every tool in its foreign policy toolbox to support the people of Venezuela and to weaken the cruel and anti-democratic Maduro regime.” 

“As a journalist, I spent decades covering the countless crimes against humanity committed against the Venezuelan people and it’s abundantly clear that Nicolas Maduro’s illegitimate, murderous regime is in the business of power,” said Congresswoman Salazar. “We must not allow Maduro to line his pockets while the Venezuelan people starve. This legislation ensures that no American tax-payer dollars go to any company doing business with Nicolas Maduro’s criminal enterprise.”

“The socialists in Venezuela pose a grave threat to America’s interests across Latin America. Maduro’s regime is at the helm of training Marxists groups that seek to undermine and destabilize legitimate governments America counts as crucial partners and allies,” said Congressman Gimenez. “I am honored to join a broad, bipartisan group of colleagues to bolster our tools to combat Maduro’s influence in the hemisphere.”

Background: Congressman Waltz previously secured a prohibition to contracts to the Maduro regime through the Department of Defense (DoD) in FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and this bill would apply the same prohibition to all other federal departments and agencies. 

Section 890 of FY2020 NDAA bars DoD contractors from having contracts with the Maduro regime in Venezuela.  There are exemptions and waivers for contracts related to providing humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, conducting non-combatant evacuations, or related to operations of the US diplomatic mission in Venezuela.