CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.Res. __ is expected to be considered on the floor of the House on Tuesday, January 20, 2010, under a motion to suspend the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) on January 12, 2010.
H.Res. __would resolve that the House of Representatives:
• "Expresses its deepest condolences and sympathy for the horrific loss of life and the physical and psychological damage caused by the earthquake of January 12, 2010;
• "Expresses solidarity with Haitians, Haitian Americans, and all those who have lost loved ones or have otherwise been affected by the tragedy, including United States Embassy personnel, United Nations peacekeepers, and humanitarian workers;
• "Commends the efforts and honors the sacrifice of the men and women of the Government of Haiti, the United States Government, the United Nations, and the international community in their immediate response to those affected by this calamity;
• "Commends the efforts of the American people, including the Haitian-American community, to provide relief to families, friends, and unknown peoples suffering in the country;
• "Supports the efforts of the Administration to provide and coordinate international humanitarian assistance and to provide relief to affected communities;
• "Expresses support for the recovery and long-term reconstruction needs of Haiti;
• "Recognizes that the recovery and long-term needs of Haiti will require a sustained commitment by the United States and international community based on comprehensive assessments of the development needs for Haiti; have otherwise been affected by the tragedy, including United States Embassy personnel, United Nations.
• "Urges those who hold debt against Haiti, including the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and all other regional and international institutions and countries, to immediately suspend further debt payments, and to develop processes to cancel all remaining debt; and
• "Urges the President-
o "to continue to make available to United States agencies, nongovernmental organizations, private volunteer organizations, regional institutions, and United Nations agencies the resources necessary to confront the effects and consequences of this natural disaster;
o "to provide, when the emergency subsides, assistance in partnership with the Government of Haiti and in coordination with other donors to begin the reconstruction of Haiti;
o "to undertake comprehensive assessments of the long-term needs for recovery and development in Haiti, ensure transparency and accountability, and lead coordination efforts with international actors who share in the goal of a better future for Haiti and are willing to support the costs of meeting those needs; and
o "to utilize new and innovative thinking in providing long-term assistance to Haiti, including tapping into the insight and immense potential of the Haitian Diaspora, to help Haitians rebuild upon the strongest possible foundation, in order to promote a stable and sustainable future for Haiti."
On January 12, 2010, a catastrophic earthquake struck the impoverished island nation of Haiti. There is major damage to Port-au-Prince, the capital, including several government buildings. Over three million people are estimated to be affected by the earthquake, and while estimates vary at least 65,000 people were killed, according to the Government of Haiti. President Obama has pledged millions in aid to Haiti and tasked Rajiv Shah, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator, to coordinate the U.S. relief and rescue mission. The rescue and recovery efforts are still in full-effect, with the U.S. leading the international response and working to save lives and aid those injured. On January 18 alone, the USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) reported that U.S. urban search and rescue (USAR) teams had rescued approximately 40 individuals from collapsed buildings in just 12 hours. According to USAID, to date, "international USAR teams have rescued more than 90 individuals throughout Port-au-Prince, an unprecedented tally for a five-day USAR operation. The U.S. government has provided $132 million in humanitarian assistance to Haiti following the earthquake and U.S. citizens and corporations have provided millions more in private donations.