Haiti Empowerment, Assistance, and Rebuilding Act of 2012

Bill Number: 
H.R. 3771
Bill Location: 
Date of Last Action: 
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Relevant Text: 


2d Session

H. R. 3771

To promote long-term, sustainable rebuilding and development in Haiti, and for other purposes.


January 13, 2012

Mr. CONYERS (for himself, Ms. CLARKE of New York, Ms. BROWN of Florida, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas, Mr. COHEN, Ms. RICHARDSON, and Ms. LEE of California) introduced the following bill

January 17, 2012

Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs


To promote long-term, sustainable rebuilding and development in Haiti, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


    This Act may be cited as the `Haiti Empowerment, Assistance, and Rebuilding Act of 2012'.


    Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) On January 12, 2010, Haiti suffered an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter magnitude scale, the greatest natural disaster in Haiti's history, which--

        (A) devastated Port-au-Prince and the surrounding areas;

        (B) killed more than 300,000 people;

        (C) injured 200,000 to 300,000 more people;

        (D) left 2,300,000 people homeless;

        (E) left many people with newly acquired disabilities, including limb loss and other physical and mental trauma; and

        (F) disrupted social structures and families through death, injury, and relocation.

      (2) The scale of the initial relief effort was unprecedented, with many countries, hundreds of organizations, and thousands of people generously contributing to a massive influx of supplies, resources, and personnel to support search and rescue operations and humanitarian assistance, underlying one of the most effective relief efforts in history.

      (3) Prior to the earthquake, Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with--

        (A) an estimated 54 percent of its population living on less than $1 per day;

        (B) approximately 120,000 people living with HIV;

        (C) 29,333 new cases of tuberculosis in 2007;

        (D) nearly 50,000 children living in orphanages;

        (E) 55 percent of school-aged children not attending school; and

        (F) an estimated 800,000 people with disabilities.

      (4) Despite these challenges, cautious signs of developmental progress and stability were beginning to emerge in Haiti before the earthquake after years of security challenges and natural disasters that weakened the economy and slowed the consolidation of democracy and good governance.

      (5) Although initial recovery efforts must continue to assist the people of Haiti struggling to secure basic necessities, including food, water, health care, shelter, and electricity, Haiti cannot afford to only focus on its immediate needs.

      (6) Haiti's leaders have advocated that--

        (A) reconstruction should not follow the inefficient and poorly coordinated practices of the past, but should build back better through direct collaboration with both the Haitian government and Haitian grassroots and civil society groups; and

        (B) Haitians should be assisted and supported in accelerating and implementing long-planned reforms and new ways of doing business in every sector.

      (7) Haiti enjoys several advantages that can facilitate its rebuilding, including--

        (A) people committed to education and hard work;

        (B) proximity and duty-free access to United States markets;

        (C) a large, hardworking North American Diaspora, which remits generous amounts of money back to Haiti every year; and

        (D) many regional neighbors who are peaceful, prosperous, and supportive of Haiti's success.

      (8) The experiences of other countries that have successfully recovered from serious natural disasters confirm that--

        (A) when the people and other civil society actors in an affected country play a significant role in the design and execution of the rebuilding efforts, the efforts are often more sustainable and more in line with the needs and aspirations of local populations;

        (B) when the government of the affected country plays a leading role in the planning and execution of the rebuilding efforts, there is a higher probability of reforms being long-lasting and coordinated with the long-term planning and development efforts of the affected country;

        (C) every effort should be made to incorporate, at the earliest time possible, market-based employment and economic development opportunities to allow people to take ownership of their long-term self sufficiency;

        (D) stability and security are essential preconditions to longer-term development;

        (E) education is critical to securing a better future for the people in the affected country;

        (F) removing gender disparities spurs macroeconomic growth; and

        (G) projects that integrate gender are more likely to achieve their overall goals.

      (9) In addition to providing emergency assistance and relief, the Government of Haiti must grapple with the longer-term issues of how to--

        (A) provide permanent, sustainable shelter to an estimated 595,000 Haitians still displaced by the earthquake;

        (B) ensure that communities are at the center of the rebuilding process, by employing local labor and consulting with local leaders and communities;

        (C) provide health care in a sustainable and comprehensive manner that is accessible to all Haitians;

        (D) provide all children with access to education; and

        (E) provide agricultural producers throughout the country with improved access to fertile land and investment opportunities for agricultural development.

      (10) The impact of natural disasters on Haiti is exacerbated by--

        (A) the lack of enforcement of earthquake-resistant construction procedures, weak building codes, and massive private sector economic losses that hinder the ability of people to purchase materials of sufficient quality to rebuild existing buildings;

        (B) a government that has long struggled to provide its people with minimal public services, including security, clean water, shelter, electricity, health care, and education; and

        (C) under-investment in infrastructure and development in rural areas and secondary cities outside of Port-au-Prince.

      (11) Assistance to Haiti should be delivered in a manner that enhances the ability of the Government of Haiti to improve democratic, transparent governance and to use credible government institutions to provide services to its people.

      (12) Local communities, grassroots groups, peasant movements and women's organizations should play a central role in the rebuilding of Haiti, while the national recovery process is led by the Government of Haiti in such a way that foreign assistance upholds the primacy of Haitian government institutions in the rebuilding effort.

      (13) International donors and nongovernmental organizations--

        (A) have a responsibility to support the Government of Haiti in its rebuilding efforts and help it build its capacity to implement its own development plan and decentralization initiatives;

        (B) are critical to the success of the recovery and reconstruction efforts;

        (C) are key to the provision of services in the near term;

        (D) can build capacity for national institutions, both governmental and nongovernmental, to take over the management and provision of essential services over the medium term;

        (E) should support and encourage rebuilding and development of programs which are environmentally sustainable and respectful and restorative of Haiti's natural resources;

        (F) should work with the Government of Haiti to improve the educational system and to ensure that all children have access to an education;

        (G) should work with the Government of Haiti and the international community to better predict, anticipate, and protect against future disasters;

        (H) should prioritize the effective participation of Haitian grassroots and civil society, including the French and Creole translation of public aid documents and proceedings and the increase of nation-wide consultations with Haitian civil society networks and community-based organizations in order to help inform recovery and rebuilding initiatives; and

        (I) should continue to work with the Governments of Haiti and the Dominican Republic to support efforts to combat human trafficking along the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, including the trafficking of women and children.

      (14) The circumstances following the earthquake in Haiti provide a real opportunity for Haiti--

        (A) to break the cycle of poverty, social inequality and unrealized expectations that has marked Haiti's history; and

        (B) to establish a new framework for sustained economic development through a commitment of engagement from the United States, other donors, and multilateral organizations to support the Government of Haiti and the Haitian people as they undertake the long rebuilding process.


    In this Act:

      (1) AGENCY- The term `agency' has the meaning given the term in section 551(1) of title 5, United States Code.

      (2) APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES- The term `appropriate congressional committees' means the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives.

      (3) HAITI REBUILDING AND DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY; STRATEGY- The terms `Haiti Rebuilding and Development Strategy' and `Strategy' mean the multi-year strategy to provide assistance in support of the reconstruction and rebuilding of Haiti prepared pursuant to section 5.


    It is the policy of the United States, in partnership with the Government of Haiti and in coordination with the international community, to--

      (1) support the sustainable recovery and rebuilding of Haiti in a manner that--

        (A) encourages greater economic equality by supporting economic development, education investments, agricultural investments, food security programs and nonagriculture livelihood creation in rural and decentralized areas;

        (B) embraces Haitian independence, self-reliance, sovereignty, democratic governance, and efficiency;

        (C) requires collaboration with the Haitian government and consultation with Haitian and international civil society, including nation-wide consultation meetings with Haitian grassroots organizations and French and Creole translation services for all public aid documents and proceedings;

        (D) incorporates the potential of both women and men to contribute equally and to their maximum efficiency; and

        (E) maximizes local and regional procurement through capacity building to help Haitian organizations and companies participate effectively in the bidding process for contracts related to relief and reconstruction programs, including access to procurement documents translated into French and Haitian Creole;

      (2) affirm and build a long-term partnership with Haiti in support of--

        (A) just, democratic, and competent governance including--

          (i) an independent, efficient, and effective judicial system;

          (ii) parliamentary strengthening;

          (iii) political pluralism, equality, and the rule of law;

          (iv) civil society, governance institutions, and political parties that are representative and peaceful;

          (v) transparency and accountability among all branches of government and judicial proceedings, including supporting anti-corruption efforts among bureaucrats, elected officials, and public servants at all levels of security and government administration; and

          (vi) security, by--

            (I) ensuring legitimate state efforts to prevent and respond to crime, especially overall violence and gender-based violence;

            (II) instilling public order and confidence in, and increasing the capacity of, Haitian security institutions, including their capacity to address gender-based violence through recruitment of female police officers and gender-sensitive training of all security forces;

            (III) providing local and national police forces with comprehensive professional training and equipment, including gender-sensitive protection training; and

            (IV) holding aid partners accountable for meeting minimum standards for gender-based violence planning and response, as outlined in Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Guidelines for gender-based violence interventions in humanitarian settings and put into place monitoring mechanisms;

        (B) providing a foundation for economic growth and economic sustainability, through investments--

          (i) in essential infrastructure, including transport and energy;

          (ii) in sustainable urban development and improved urban management by identifying, developing, and implementing a long-term, sustainable framework for future growth and development in urban areas that will ensure livelihood creation, appropriate environmental and resource management, appropriate disaster response plans, affordable long-term housing, energy, clean water, sanitation services, and essential urban services and infrastructure;

          (iii) to rebuild Haiti's competitiveness and private sector in order to foster employment generation, including policies to encourage investment and open world consumer markets to Haitian exports;

          (iv) in food security and rural and agricultural development, particularly of food staples and other crops that provide economic growth and income opportunities in times of shortage and increase production and incomes of agriculture and livestock producers in rural communities, including direct support to small and medium Haitian farms, appropriate technical support for high yielding staple food crops, micro-financing, increased market access, repair and improvements of agricultural infrastructure, investment in participatory farmer-led research and knowledge transfer and strengthening of local seed systems;

          (v) that recognize and address where obstacles related to gender limit, hinder, or suppress women's economic productivity and gain; and

          (vi) promote international labor and wage standards in all United States funded job creation projects; and

        (C) environmentally sustainable programs that are respectful and restorative of Haiti's natural resources and build community-level resilience to environmental and weather-related impacts, including--

          (i) programs to reduce and mitigate the effects of natural disaster, including floods and hurricanes;

          (ii) programs to address land use, land tenure, land for reconstruction, and land price escalation issues;

          (iii) programs and associated support to reduce deforestation and increase the rates of afforestation and reforestation in Haiti, including through diversification of Haiti's energy sources; and

          (iv) programs to address safe drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, water resource management, and other water related issues;

        (D) investments in people, particularly women and children, including--

          (i) supporting the Government of Haiti, in coordination with nongovernmental education providers, to rehabilitate and improve Haiti's education sector with the goal of providing access to quality and affordable education for all children;

          (ii) ensuring that women's and girls' unique needs are appropriately integrated across all sectors in consultation with Haitian women's organizations, including governance, security, livelihood creation and development, and in program assessment, design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation, with a goal of promoting access, inclusion, and empowerment;

          (iii) establish effective initiatives to address gender-based violence, including mechanisms to address the rape charges and impunity measures, establishment of special care units in hospitals for medical attention, pre and post counseling, HIV/AIDS testing, administration of prophylaxis, access to anti-retrovirals for HIV positive women, support for emergency protection mechanisms including shelter, and durable solutions for survivors;

          (iv) health care delivery and capacity building to strengthen the overall health care system;

          (v) supporting programs, activities, and initiatives that provide or promote equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities;

          (vi) increasing cholera prevention and treatment efforts, including the use of vaccines, training and awareness-building and support for improved water and sanitation infrastructure where needed;

          (vii) support for Haitian government capacity building; and

          (viii) strengthening the child welfare system--

            (I) to ensure the protection of children from violence, abuse, exploitation, and neglect and to combat child trafficking by supporting the Haitian government's initiatives to strengthen the child protection system across Haiti and at the border with the Dominican Republic;

            (II) to support family preservation and reunification and prevent child abandonment, to the extent possible;

            (III) to ensure that children without family care receive safe, developmentally appropriate care; and

            (IV) to end the practice and exploitation of child domestic servants (referred to in Haiti as `restaveks'), by offering families education, support, and alternatives;

      (3) support, pursuant to the strategic objectives in paragraph (2) and in coordination with other donors--

        (A) the institutional development and capacity building of the Government of Haiti at the national, local, and community levels so that the Government of Haiti--

          (i) can better ensure basic services to its population, including health care, protection against gender-based violence, agricultural development, education, and other basic social services; and

          (ii) will be an effective steward of state resources through a transparent process of equitable resource allocation that includes a broad range of participation from Haitian civil society;

        (B) Haitian civil society organizations that are committed to making a positive contribution to the rebuilding and sustainable development of Haiti;

        (C) people-to-people engagement between the United States and Haiti, through increased educational, technical, and cultural exchanges and other methods;

        (D) significant contributions to a multilateral trust fund that will be established to enhance the reconstruction and rebuilding of Haiti; and

        (E) a Haitian government budget that is appropriately sized to fulfill the functions expected of the budget for the delivery of essential public services, including arrangements to ensure transparency and accountability for the funds provided to the budget of the Haitian government; and

      (4) promote development and rebuilding efforts in Haiti that are led by, and in support of, all levels of government in Haiti, including national and local governments, so that--

        (A) the Government and people of Haiti lead the vision for reconstruction and rebuilding of Haiti;

        (B) resources are channeled in concrete and specific ways toward key sectoral objectives identified by the Government and its people;

        (C) feasible steps are taken to recognize and rectify the social injustice of poverty and gender inequality and to decrease the vulnerability of the poor, through job creation, access to education, the provision of health care, the provision of safe shelter and settlements, and food security in the rural regions and other smaller cities, as well as in Port-au-Prince;

        (D) communities are placed at the center of the rebuilding process, by employing local labor and consulting local leaders and communities for their experience and vision;

        (E) rebuilding and development programs are environmentally sustainable and respectful and restorative of Haiti's natural resources; and

        (F) the Haiti Rebuilding and Development Strategy builds from and supports--

          (i) existing assessments for Haiti, including the Post Disaster Needs Assessment;

          (ii) the Government of Haiti's Action Plan for the Reconstruction and National Development of Haiti;

          (iii) other existing development plans for Haiti, including the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper for Haiti; and

          (iv) shared principles in the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action.


    (a) In General- The Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, with input provided by the Special Coordinator for Haiti, shall prepare and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a multi-year strategy to provide assistance in support of the reconstruction and rebuilding of Haiti.

    (b) Components- The Haiti Rebuilding and Development Strategy shall--

      (1) include--

        (A) specific and measurable goals;

        (B) benchmarks and time frames;

        (C) an implementation plan to achieve the policy objectives set forth in section 4; and

        (D) a detailed monitoring and evaluation plan tied to measurable indicators addressing progress toward achieving those policy objectives, including impact evaluations of United States assistance to Haiti carried out in direct consultation with both the Haitian government and Haitian grassroots, women's and civil society groups; and

      (2) to the greatest extent possible--

        (A) leverage private sector resources through different agencies, including assistance that allows Haiti to make greater use of the trade preferences provided under section 213A of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (19 U.S.C. 2703a) (as added by the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity Through Partnership Act of 2006 (title V of division D of Public Law 109-432; 120 Stat. 3181) (commonly known as the `HOPE Act') and amended by the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity Through Partnership Act of 2008 (part I of subtitle D of title XV of Public Law 110-246; 122 Stat. 2289) (commonly known as the `HOPE II Act'));

        (B) consult with the academic and research communities, nonprofit organizations, foundations, other implementing partners, the Government of Haiti, Haitian civil society, and the Haitian Diaspora;

        (C) coordinate United States assistance efforts with similar efforts of international organizations, international financial institutions, the governments of developing and developed countries, and United States and international nongovernmental organizations;

        (D) promote access to education for all children;

        (E) incorporate approaches directed at reaching women living in poverty;

        (F) incorporate best practices for improving child welfare and protection for orphans and other vulnerable children; and

        (G) maximize local and regional procurement.

    (c) Prior Consultation- Not later than 30 days before the initial submission of the Haiti Rebuilding and Development Strategy, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, in conjunction with the Special Coordinator for Haiti, shall consult with the appropriate congressional committees on the contents of the Strategy.

    (d) Reports-

      (1) ANNUAL REPORTS- Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, in accordance with the normal performance reporting schedule, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that includes--

        (A) a copy of the Haiti Rebuilding and Development Strategy, including--

          (i) any changes made to the Strategy during the preceding calendar year; and

          (ii) an explanation of such changes;

        (B) a description, by foreign assistance framework objective, of the implementation of the Strategy;

        (C) an assessment of progress made during the preceding fiscal year toward meeting--

          (i) the policy objectives set forth in section 4; and

          (ii) the specific goals, benchmarks, and time frames specified in the Strategy;

        (D) a description of all United States Government programs contributing to the achievement of the policy objectives set forth in section 4, including the amounts obligated and expended on such programs during the preceding fiscal year, including--

          (i) a breakdown of the percentage of United States funds spent on Haitian goods and services;

          (ii) an analysis of the number of Haitian employment opportunities created with United States funds;

          (iii) a description of the increase in official reports that are translated into French and Creole and easily accessible;

          (iv) a description of official annual reporting of such programs from the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Justice; and

          (v) inclusion of United States Agency for International Development evaluation indicators on the percentage of the affected Haitian population benefitting from United States assistance and the percentage of funds going to local communities for both the United States Agency for International Development and its contractors; and

        (E) an assessment of United States efforts--

          (i) to encourage and leverage business and philanthropic participation toward Haiti rebuilding and development; and

          (ii) to coordinate United States Government programs with assistance provided by international organizations, international financial institutions, the governments of developing and developed countries, and United States and international nongovernmental organizations.

      (2) GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE REPORT- Not later than 270 days after the submission of each report under paragraph (1), the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees that contains--

        (A) a review of, and comments addressing, the report submitted under paragraph (1); and

        (B) recommendations relating to any additional actions the Comptroller General determines to be important to improve the provision of assistance for Haiti to support rebuilding and development.


        (A) IN GENERAL- Concurrent with the submission of the second annual report under paragraph (1), the Secretary of State shall submit a report to the appropriate congressional committees that contains--

          (i) an assessment of the progress made during the preceding 2 years toward meeting the policy objectives set forth in section 4 and the specific goals, benchmarks, and time frames specified in the Haiti Rebuilding and Development Strategy;

          (ii) an evaluation of the impact during the preceding 2 years of United States assistance programs on Haitian rebuilding and development; and

          (iii) an assessment of the overall status of broader rebuilding and development taking place in Haiti, as outlined by the Government of Haiti.

        (B) BASIS FOR REPORT- The report required under subparagraph (A) shall be based on data quality assessments and impact evaluations of quantitative and qualitative indicators.

      (4) PUBLIC AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION- The information requested in paragraphs (1) and (3) for United States programs contributing to the achievement of the policy objectives set forth in section 4, including the amounts obligated and expended on such programs during preceding fiscal years, shall--

        (A) be made publically accessible in a timely manner on a single, consolidated website; and

        (B) be presented in a detailed, program-by-program basis.

      (5) UNCLASSIFIED SUMMARY- If detailed information is classified, an unclassified summary shall be posted and the classified details shall be submitted separately to the appropriate congressional committees.


    (a) Amounts Authorized- There are authorized to be appropriated to provide assistance for Haiti and to carry out the other purposes of this Act, in addition to amounts otherwise available for such purposes--

      (1) $1,500,000,000 for fiscal year 2013; and

      (2) $500,000,000 for fiscal year 2014.

    (b) Applicability of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and Other Laws-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Amounts made available to carry out the purposes of this Act, including amounts authorized to be appropriated by this Act--

        (A) shall be considered to be economic assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.) for purposes of making available the administrative authorities contained in that Act for the use of economic assistance; and

        (B) shall be provided in accordance with the provisions of, the general authorities contained in, and the limitations of, sections 116, 491, and 620M of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151n, 2292, and 2378d), respectively.

      (2) TECHNICAL AMENDMENT- Chapter 1 of part III of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2351 et seq.) is amended by redesignating section 620J (as added by section 651 of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008 (division J of Public Law 110-161; 22 U.S.C. 2378d)) as section 620M.

    (c) Transfers- Of the amounts appropriated for each fiscal year pursuant to subsection (a)--

      (1) the Department of the Treasury may contribute to a multi-donor trust fund for reconstruction and recovery expenses related to Haiti following the earthquake of January 12, 2010; and

      (2) remaining amounts may be transferred to the `Development Credit Authority' account of the United States Agency for International Development for the cost of direct loans and loan guarantees, notwithstanding the dollar limitations in such account on transfers to the account.

    (d) Availability of Funds-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Amounts appropriated for each fiscal year pursuant to subsection (a) shall remain available until expended.

      (2) REPORTS REQUIRED- Of the amounts appropriated for each fiscal year pursuant to subsection (a), none of the amounts may be made available for assistance to Haiti unless the Haiti Rebuilding and Development Strategy reports are being submitted to the appropriate congressional committees in accordance with section 5(d)(1).

    (e) Preference for Building Local Capacity- In providing assistance under this Act, the President is encouraged to utilize Haitian firms and community and local nongovernmental organizations, as appropriate.

    (f) Office of the Inspector General- Of the amounts appropriated for a fiscal year pursuant to subsection (a), up to $5,000,000 may be made available to the Inspectors General of the Department of State, the United States Agency for International Development, and other relevant agencies to provide audits and program reviews of programs and activities receiving assistance under this Act.