WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) lauded passage this week of the Organization of American States Legislative Engagement Act (S.1310). This legislation would improve the Organization of American States (OAS) by increasing the participation of elected national legislators from across the Western Hemisphere within the organization. The bill reaffirms United States support for the OAS’ efforts to safeguard human rights, increase regional good governance, and combat corruption in the region. By using the success of legislative participation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) as a model, this bill would enhance the representation and effectiveness of the OAS. Senator Wicker is Co-Chair and Senator Cardin is the Ranking Senate Democrat of the U.S. Commission on Security and cooperation in Europe (CSCE).
“The OAS is vital for upholding democracy, reducing corruption, and protecting human rights in our Hemisphere,” said Senator Cardin, Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. “Responding to these challenges requires multilateral cooperation and engagement not only from heads of state, but also from those who were elected to legislate in their nations. I am proud to support this bill that would further strengthen the OAS’s ability to engage national representatives in these efforts.”
“I appreciate that my colleagues have shown their support for strengthening the Organization of American States and fighting corruption abroad,” Senator Wicker said. “Much as the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly has promoted democracy, human rights, and good governance in Europe, I hope a new assembly of legislators within the OAS would advance better governance and help our nations confront pressing challenges throughout the Americas.”
“The Americas face critical challenges today: corruption, narrowing political freedoms, the democratic crisis in Venezuela,” said Senator Kaine. “The OAS plays an essential role in bringing the region together to find solutions, and improving our ability to work with legislators from across the Hemisphere will only strengthen our efforts.”
The full bill text can be found here. The legislation will next be considered by the House of Representatives.