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Public Statements

Extending Certain Trade Programs

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. BASS of California. I want to thank the gentleman from Washington State (Mr. McDermott) for his leadership, and I also want to acknowledge Congressman Rangel for his historic commitment to AGOA.

But, in addition, I want to thank, as I stand here next to two men who I consider giants in the House of Representatives, I want to thank them for their patience and their guidance with me as a new Member here. It's been pretty amazing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle--Mr. Royce, Mr. Camp, Mr. McDermott, Mr. Rangel--as they all worked with me to make sure that we were able to be here this moment and pass AGOA.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of African growth and opportunity legislation, H.R. 5986. Passage of today's legislation comes as a result of strong and widespread bipartisan and bicameral support. It's been a pleasure to work alongside Mr. Royce in this bipartisan effort, and I also want to thank my friend from the Senate, Senator Coons, who has been a stalwart advocate.

I want to acknowledge the African Diplomatic Corps. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of African jobs will be saved as a result of your efforts.

Mr. Speaker, Africa is on the rise. Today, six of the world's fastest growing economies are in Africa. Opportunities abound, and we see increased political stability.

Today's House vote on the extension of AGOA's fabric provision is, by all measures, a success for the U.S. and Africa alike. But we must not stop here. Let us take a moment to acknowledge this accomplishment, but also prepare ourselves for AGOA's reauthorization in 2015.

Africa, a continent of opportunity, for too long has been overshadowed and ignored. While humanitarian, governance, and health challenges remain, we are the observers of remarkable growth and stability across the continent that exemplify positive strides that Africans themselves have made.

Africa, and its many nations, stand on the critical precipice of extraordinary change. Increasingly, Africa's resource mineral wealth attracts investments by countries like China, Brazil, and India. We must, in the United States, increase our investment. We cannot allow our Nation to be left behind.


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