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Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of S. 3245, which would, in part, reauthorize the EB-5 visa program for 3 years. This EB-5 program will create good American jobs.
Last year, I worked with Senator Leahy to write H.R. 2972, the Creating American Jobs Through Foreign Capital Act. That legislation would have reauthorized EB-5 permanently. While the bill before us today extends the program for only 3 years, it is still an important job creator that we must pass. The program allows qualified foreign investors who invest in the U.S. and who create or save at least 10 full-time American jobs to seek U.S. visas. This program brings overseas capital to the U.S. to create jobs for people in my district and across America.
There are two projects in Everett, Washington, currently being financed through the EB-5 program. One is a college building. If this bill is not passed, our area will lose this building and the opportunities associated with it. The second investment is one for a building that houses a regional farmers' market, which is a project that has been in the works and is almost done. This project will help local farmers regionally and create jobs. If this bill is not passed, again, this project, which is set to be finished soon, will not be completed, and all finance and investments will be lost. In another part of my district, in Whatcom County, the local EB-5 center has leveraged more than $34 million from immigrant investors to create more than 800 good local jobs.
The EB-5 program is a real threefer: It's a win for American workers, who benefit from thousands of new jobs; it's a win for the taxpayer because it doesn't add one penny to the national deficit; third, it helps the U.S. compete on a global scale. The U.S. EB-5 visa program is one of more than 20 similar programs run by other important, growing economies like Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.
Our economy cannot afford to do without these investments or these jobs. If we don't keep this road open for foreign investment into the U.S., that investment will choose another country's road. Congress must extend the EB-5 program so that we can continue to create new jobs at a time when we need them most.
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