Sen. Rick Scott Applauds Unanimous Senate Passage of Bipartisan, Bicameral BOLIVAR Act; Calls for House Passage
December 16, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Senate unanimously passed Senator Rick Scott’s Banning Operations and Leases with the Illegitimate Venezuelan Authoritarian Regime (BOLIVAR) Act. The legislation would prohibit federal agencies from doing business with anyone that supports the oppressive Maduro regime. The bill had unanimously passed the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in March 2021. The BOLIVAR Act is co-sponsored by Senators Jacky Rosen, Marco Rubio and Thom Tillis.
Congressman Michael Waltz and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz are leading the companion bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives. In 2019, Senator Scott’s amendment to cut off funds to the Maduro regime was included in the National Defense Authorization Act and Senator Scott signed similar legislation into law as Governor of Florida.
Senator Rick Scott said, “We all know what Nicolás Maduro is doing in Venezuela. He’s starving his own citizens. He’s imprisoning his political enemies. He’s providing a foothold to Russia, Iran, Communist China and Hezbollah and is actively destabilizing our hemisphere. There is no reason the U.S. government should be working with companies that also work with such a gross dictator. I’m incredibly proud that the Senate voted to hold Maduro accountable for his abuses by unanimously passing my BOLIVAR Act. As we work to weaken Maduro’s position in the Western Hemisphere, and oppose our enemies, such as Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, who support Maduro, this bill is a huge step forward and a big win for America’s security. The passage of the BOLIVAR Act exemplifies the commitment of the American people to being tough with our enemies when they threaten America’s national security. I’d like to thank my colleagues in the Senate and Representative Waltz for leading this effort in the House—we can and should pass this important bill into law NOW.”
Congressman Michael Waltz said, “The U.S. must remain clear-eyed that the Maduro Regime remains a destabilizing force for the Western Hemisphere that not only represses the Venezuelan people, while siding with Cuba, Russia and China, but has helped fuel the humanitarian crisis that has reached our own southern border. We must treat them as the illegitimate authoritarian regime they are and strip them of any funding mechanisms that help keep them in power through this bill. In the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, we prohibited companies that do business with the Maduro regime from contracting with the Department of Defense. It’s time we expand that prohibition to the entire federal government.”
The BOLIVAR Act:
- Prohibits federal agencies from awarding U.S. government contracts with companies that are engaged in business with the Maduro regime.
- The prohibition would only apply to contracts entered into on or after the bill’s enactment and would not affect any business with the legitimate elected government of the National Assembly and its elected successors.
- Provides for necessary exceptions, including for rendering humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and when the Office of Foreign Assets Control issues a valid license to do business in Venezuela.
- Allows the Secretary of State to waive the restriction when in the national interest of the U.S.