UNITED STATES-MEXICO ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP ACT; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 5
(House of Representatives - January 10, 2019)

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[Pages H430-H432]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




             UNITED STATES-MEXICO ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP ACT

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 133) to promote economic partnership and cooperation between the 
United States and Mexico.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows

                                H.R. 133

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

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``United States-Mexico 
     Economic Partnership Act''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds the following:
       (1) The United States and Mexico have benefitted from a 
     bilateral, mutually beneficial partnership focused on 
     advancing the economic interests of both countries.
       (2) In 2013, Mexico adopted major energy reforms that 
     opened its energy sector to private investment, increasing 
     energy cooperation between Mexico and the United States and 
     opening new opportunities for United States energy 
     engagement.
       (3) On January 18, 2018, the Principal Deputy Assistant 
     Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs at the 
     Department of State stated, ``Our exchange programs build 
     enduring relationships and networks to advance U.S. national 
     interests and foreign policy goals . . . The role of our 
     exchanges . . . in advancing U.S. national security and 
     economic interests enjoys broad bipartisan support from 
     Congress and other stakeholders, and provides a strong return 
     on investment.''.
       (4) According to the Institute of International Education, 
     in the 2015-2016 academic year, more than 56,000 United 
     States students studied in other countries in the Western 
     Hemisphere region while more than 84,000 non-United States 
     students from the region studied in the United States, but 
     only 5,000 of those United States students studied

[[Page H431]]

     in Mexico and only 16,000 of those non-United States students 
     were from Mexico.
       (5) In March 2011, the United States launched the 100,000 
     Strong in the Americas Initiative, which seeks to increase 
     educational exchanges between the United States and other 
     countries in the Western Hemisphere region so that 100,000 
     United States students are studying in other countries in the 
     Western Hemisphere region and 100,000 non-United States 
     students from the region are studying in the United States 
     per year by 2020.
       (6) In January 2014, the United States established the 
     100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund, which seeks 
     to realize the goals of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas 
     Initiative by facilitating a public-private partnership 
     between the Department of State and nongovernmental 
     organizations, corporations, and universities in the United 
     States and other countries of the Western Hemisphere region.
       (7) To date, the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation 
     Fund has awarded more than 100 grants to more than 250 higher 
     education institutions from 25 countries in the Western 
     Hemisphere region, and has raised $9,000,000 in investments, 
     75 percent of which was from corporations, foundations, and 
     regional governments.

     SEC. 3. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

       It is the policy of the United States--
       (1) to continue deepening economic cooperation between the 
     United States and Mexico; and
       (2) to seek to prioritize and expand educational and 
     professional exchange programs with Mexico, including through 
     the framework of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas 
     Initiative.

     SEC. 4. STRATEGY TO PRIORITIZE AND EXPAND EDUCATIONAL AND 
                   PROFESSIONAL EXCHANGE PROGRAMS WITH MEXICO.

       (a) In General.--The Secretary of State shall develop a 
     strategy to carry out the policy described in section 3, to 
     include prioritizing and expanding educational and 
     professional exchange programs with Mexico through the 
     framework of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative.
       (b) Elements.--The strategy required under subsection (a) 
     shall--
       (1) encourage more academic exchanges between the United 
     States and Mexico at the secondary, post-secondary, and post-
     graduate levels, especially with communities and through 
     academic institutions in the covered United States-Mexico 
     border region;
       (2) encourage United States and Mexican academic 
     institutions and businesses to collaborate to assist 
     prospective and developing entrepreneurs in strengthening 
     their business skills and promoting cooperation and joint 
     business initiatives across the United States and Mexico, 
     with a focus on initiatives in the covered United States-
     Mexico border region;
       (3) promote energy infrastructure coordination and 
     cooperation through support of vocational-level education, 
     internships, and exchanges between the United States and 
     Mexico, particularly in the region in which the Eagle Ford 
     Shale is located and in proximity to such region; and
       (4) assess the feasibility of fostering partnerships 
     between universities in the United States and medical school 
     and nursing programs in Mexico to ensure that medical school 
     and nursing programs in Mexico have comparable accreditation 
     standards as medical school and nursing programs in the 
     United States by the Accreditation and Standards in Foreign 
     Medical Education, in addition to the Accreditation 
     Commission For Education in Nursing, so that medical students 
     can pass medical licensing board exams, and nursing students 
     can pass nursing licensing exams, in the United States.
       (c) Report.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
     enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall submit to 
     Congress a report on the strategy required under subsection 
     (a).

     SEC. 5. DEFINITIONS.

       In this Act:
       (1) 100,000 strong in the americas initiative.--The term 
     ``100,000 Strong in the Americas Initiative'' means the 
     initiative established in March 2011 by the United States 
     Government to increase educational exchanges in the Western 
     Hemisphere.
       (2) Covered united states-mexico border region.--The term 
     ``covered United States-Mexico border region'' means those 
     portions of the United States and Mexico that are within 100 
     kilometers of the international boundary between those 
     countries.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Engel) and the gentleman from Texas (Mr. McCaul) each will 
control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York.


                             General Leave

  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 
5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include 
extraneous material on H.R. 133, currently under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from New York?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.
  I rise in support of this measure. I thank Representative Cuellar for 
introducing this measure, and I will discuss its merits in a moment.
  But I can't stand in good conscience on the House floor to talk about 
our economic partnership with Mexico and not speak for a moment on what 
is happening right now on our southern border.
  The government is currently shut down, with thousands of workers 
furloughed and prevented from doing their jobs. This is something that 
should be ameliorated quickly. Government should open.
  The measure before us today deals with the incredibly important 
relationship with our neighbor to the south, Mexico. Mexico is our 
close friend and ally and a country with which we have extraordinarily 
close cultural and person-to-person ties.
  This bill builds on the Obama administration's 100,000 Strong in the 
Americas initiative by requiring the Secretary of State to expand the 
exchange programs and allow our students and business leaders to share 
and learn from each other.
  It is also crucial that we send a strong message to the Mexican 
people that the United States Congress will not walk away from them 
despite the damage done to the relationship.
  As I have said many times in the House Foreign Affairs Committee and 
on the House floor, the United States should be in the business of 
building bridges, not walls, to our friends in Mexico.
  By passing this measure today, the House of Representatives is 
recommitting itself to our bilateral relationship. I urge my colleagues 
to join me in supporting this legislation, and I reserve the balance of 
my time.
  Mr. McCAUL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may 
consume.
  I rise today in support of the U.S.-Mexico Economic Partnership Act 
authored by my good friend and fellow Texan, Mr. Cuellar.
  As a native Texan, I know how critical the U.S.-Mexico relationship 
is to the prosperity and security of our two nations. And as the former 
chairman of the U.S.-Mexico IPG, I had the honor of leading 
congressional delegations to sit down with our Mexican counterparts to 
discuss bilateral issues, such as trade and security, and just recently 
went down for the President's inauguration. These legislative exchanges 
have been imperative for furthering the relationship between our two 
nations.
  However, we must look beyond traditional and shared connections and 
foster cultural and academic partnerships and grow the U.S.-Mexico 
relationship among the younger generations. This bill achieves that 
goal by creating academic exchanges in the private sector that are 
focused on health and energy. This academic pipeline will strengthen 
our energy infrastructure and develop new generations of medical 
professionals who could work in both of our countries.
  This bill complements the economic growth initiatives and the 
recently negotiated USMCA trade agreement, and it promotes the U.S.-
Mexico relationship at the committee level.
  Again, as I mentioned just a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of 
attending the inauguration of President Lopez Obrador in Mexico City 
with many of my colleagues. Our two countries have had a very proud 
history together, and I think these are times, trying times, as the 
chairman mentioned, but I think that is why this bill is so important. 
I think we can have a brighter future together between our two nations. 
I urge my colleagues to support it to strengthen this relationship.
  In closing, I would like to once again thank Mr. Cuellar for leading 
this message. Growing up in Texas, I dealt with our Mexican 
counterpart, their largest trading partner, have done a lot with 
Mexico. When I was in the Attorney General's Office, I met with Mexico 
periodically, and also as a Member of Congress.
  This is an important relationship between our countries. While there 
have been moments of disagreement, I think it is important that our 
countries remain allies and we are friends with our neighbors to the 
south.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I want to close by again emphasizing the 
importance of the U.S.-Mexico relationship.

[[Page H432]]

  Twenty years ago, it would have been hard to imagine coming to the 
House floor in support of a bipartisan bill on educational exchanges 
with Mexico. Now, a bill like this will glide through the House with 
little, if any, opposition, just as it did last year. But we cannot 
take cooperation for granted. We have to keep on working with Mexico to 
improve our relationship.
  I thank my colleagues for supporting me and joining me in supporting 
this legislation to double down on the successes in the U.S.-Mexico 
partnership, and I urge its immediate passage.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 133, the 
``United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act'' that promotes 
economic partnership and cooperation between the United States and 
Mexico.
  The ``United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act'' strategy 
predominantly focuses on academic, business and medical exchanges.
  The United States and Mexico have benefitted from a bilateral, 
mutually beneficial partnership focused on advancing the economic 
interests of both countries.
  In March 2011, the United States launched the ``100,000 Strong in the 
Americas Initiative'', which increased educational exchanges between 
the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere region.
  The 100,000 United States students are studying in other countries in 
the Western Hemisphere region and 100,000 non-United States students 
from the region are studying in the United States per year by 2020.
  The ``United States-Mexico Economic Partnership Act'' would expand 
the educational and professional exchange programs with Mexico, 
including through the framework of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas 
Initiative.
  In the 18th Congressional District of Texas, the Houston Independent 
School District is educating nearly 3,500 immigrant students in their 
first year in American school systems.
  The state's largest district of Texas has more than 11,000 immigrant 
students who have been in America for three years or less.
  Rene Sanchez, the principal of Cesar E. Chavez High School located in 
the 18th district and the son of Mexican immigrants made statements to 
incoming high schoolers.
  ``Many of you were not in Houston last year, were not in the United 
States, yet we're holding you to the same standards as students . . . 
living in the United States all their lives,'' said Rene Sanchez.
  High school students like Sophia Martinez, an 18-year-old senior from 
Mexico have been in Houston for nearly two years and speak near-
fluently but stumble over the essay section.
  For these students and reasons, I ask my colleagues to join me in 
supporting H.R. 133.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel) that the House suspend the rules 
and pass the bill, H.R. 133.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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