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ICYMI: Shaheen Adds Key Amendments to Western Hemisphere Legislation as It Clears Committee Hurdle

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees,  added three key amendments yesterday to a new bipartisan bill led by Senators Jim Risch (R-ID) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who are Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The Western Hemisphere Security Strategy Act would establish a partnership with nations in the Western Hemisphere to promote economic competitiveness, democratic governance and security, including cybersecurity. The legislation was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee across party lines. It will next head to the Senate floor for consideration.  

“During my recent travel to Latin America, it became clear to me that the United States’ top adversaries have a foothold in critical geopolitical regions around the world where the U.S. still lacks a diplomatic presence. Obstructionism from a few Republicans in the Senate has ground to a halt our ability to confirm key nominations and is actively undermining our national security. That must be addressed now,” said Shaheen. “I am proud to have worked to include important amendments to this new legislation that would strengthen that effort by urging action on ambassadorial confirmations, increasing trade and investment in areas throughout Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean that demand further U.S. attention and encouraging measures to prioritize the inclusion of women in peace negotiations and conflict resolution. This bill is the product of meaningful, bipartisan engagement that will enhance our national interests at home and abroad.” 

Specifically, Shaheen’s amendments do the following: 

  • Her first amendment would establish a strategy to increase trade and investment in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean by 200 percent over the next 10 years. This provision would promote economic competitiveness, democratic governance and security. It is based on Shaheen’s bipartisan standalone legislation with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Senator John Boozman (R-AR) that Shaheen originally pushed to include in an early draft of legislation that ultimately became the historic CHIPS and Science Act.  
  • Shaheen’s second amendment expresses sense of Congress language that the administration and Senate should play their part to expedite the nomination and confirmation of Ambassadors to the Western Hemisphere. Shaheen has a long history of advocating for the swift confirmation of qualified ambassadors. The nomination process for ambassadors has become a prime target of GOP obstructionism and caused the United States to lag behind adversaries like Russia and China, whose diplomatic presence has strengthened their influence across the globe. Senator Shaheen recently returned from a trip to Colombia,  which has been without a U.S. ambassador since 2022.  
  • Shaheen’s final amendment encourages the meaningful participation of women in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict relief and recovery efforts. This amendment builds on Shaheen’s Women, Peace, and Security Act, a bipartisan bill signed into law in 2017, which bolstered women’s leadership in peace negotiations and conflict resolution.