House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and members of the Speaker's bipartisan congressional delegation to Latin America today concluded two days of meetings in Brazil highlighted by economic discussions with top Brazilian officials as well as representatives of U.S.-based companies operating in the South American country, the United States' second-largest export market in Latin America. The visit also marked the first time in modern history -- and perhaps the first time ever -- that a U.S. House speaker has visited one of Rio de Janeiro's economically-challenged favela communities.
"I thank President Rousseff, Minister Patriota, Governor Cabral, Mayor Ries and the people of Brazil for hosting us in their country," Boehner said. "Our two nations have a tremendous opportunity to continue to develop a strategic partnership, particularly in areas such as trade and energy that are critical to jobs. And Brazil's strong commitment to democracy is playing a critical role in defending and promoting the cause of freedom throughout the world."
During the Brazil visit, which included meetings in Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, the nation's capital, members of the delegation focused on economic and energy security issues.
The energy discussions come just weeks before the U.S. House of Representatives is slated to begin legislative action on a major energy/infrastructure jobs bill aimed at removing government barriers to production of American-made energy and using revenues from such production to fund infrastructure improvement projects. The delegation met with representatives of U.S. energy companies forced to produce energy in countries like Brazil while being denied access to U.S. resources -- resources that could support the creation of many new American jobs if unlocked by Washington for responsible energy production.
"The people of Brazil are benefiting from policies that encourage responsible domestic energy production," Boehner said. "These policies are creating jobs, lowering consumer prices, and supporting economic growth. And there's no question that a similar approach in the United States would have similar benefits for the American people at a time when they continue to ask: where are the jobs?"
Members participating in the Speaker's bipartisan congressional delegation include Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK); Greg Walden (R-OR), Chairman of the House Republican Leadership; David Camp (R-MI), Chairman of the House Committee on Ways & Means; Doc Hastings (R-WA), Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources; John Kline (R-MN), Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce; and Devin Nunes (R-CA), a member of the Committee on Ways & Means and co-chairman of the House Brazil Caucus.