WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Rick Scott, Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Michael Waltz introduced the Venezuelan Contracting Restriction Act to hold Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro accountable by prohibiting federal agencies from doing business with anyone that supports the oppressive Maduro regime. Senator Scott signed similar legislation into law as Governor of Florida.

Senator Rick Scott said, “As Governor, I strictly prohibited the State of Florida, including all state agencies, from investing in any company that is doing business with Maduro’s oppressive government. Now, I’m filing a bill to prohibit all federal agencies from doing business with anyone that supports Maduro. The United States must do more in the fight for freedom and democracy, and I’m glad to be working with Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Michael Waltz to continue to hold Maduro accountable. We cannot stand by and let this crisis continue.”

Senator Marco Rubio said, “Dictator Nicolás Maduro and his criminal, illegitimate regime are responsible for a humanitarian and economic catastrophe in Venezuela that is destabilizing the region and increasing threats to U.S. national security. This bill would ensure that no American taxpayer dollars go to any company that’s doing business with Maduro’s narco-terrorist regime. Now that more than 50 nations recognize Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate Interim President, the United States must do all it can to support the Venezuelan people’s efforts to restore democracy, the rule of law, and human dignity.”

Representative Michael Waltz said, “Companies choosing to do business with Nicolas Maduro and his thugs are subsidizing his chokehold on the Venezuelan people, helping fund violent attacks against the growing opposition, and cracking down on the legitimate, internationally recognized government of Venezuela led by Juan Guaido. This bill sends a clear message that the United States stands with the people of Venezuela, our taxpayer dollars will not trickle down to Maduro, and that we expect accountability with those that do business with the United States. I’m grateful to have Senators Scott and Rubio championing this legislation in the Senate.”

Background

Earlier this year, in its capacity as the only legitimate branch of government elected by the Venezuelan people, the National Assembly invoked the country’s constitution to declare Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, and the office of the presidency therefore vacant. On January 23, 2019 President Donald Trump announced the United States would recognize Juan Guaido as the legitimate Interim President of Venezuela. The United States was quickly followed by other democracies around the world.

Since then, the United States has taken repeated action to stifle the Maduro regime’s chokehold on the Venezuelan economy and support Guiado’s government and the restoration of Venezuelan democracy, including new sanctions as recent as last week.

The Venezuelan Contracting Restriction Act would prohibit U.S. government contracts from being granted to persons or entities that have business operations with the Maduro regime. The prohibition would only apply contracts entered into on or after the bill’s enactment.

This bill compliments the Small Scale LNG Access Act Representative Waltz introduced with Representative Ted Yoho (R-FL), co-sponsored by Senator Scott in the Senate, last month. The legislation would streamline permitting of natural gas facilities that export less than 51.1 billion cubic feet per year thus making American liquefied natural gas accessible and cost-effective to regional allies that no longer want to rely on Venezuelan oil, and benefiting U.S. production, manufacturing, and construction jobs.

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