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H.R. 1918: Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2017

H.R. 1918 would require the President to oppose certain loans by international financial institutions that would benefit the government of Nicaragua until he can certify that the government of that country is taking effective steps to combat corruption and promote democracy, free speech, civil society and rule of law. Specifically the bill:

  • States that it is U.S. policy to support the rule of law and an independent judiciary and electoral council in Nicaragua; independent pro-democracy organizations in Nicaragua; free, fair, and transparent elections under international and domestic observers in Nicaragua; and anti-corruption and transparency efforts in Nicaragua;
  • Instructs the President to direct the U.S. executive directors at each international financial institution to use U.S. influence to oppose any loan for the government of Nicaragua’s benefit, other than those to promote human rights or democracy, unless the Department of State certifies that Nicaragua is taking effective steps to increase election integrity, promote democracy, strengthen the rule of law and respect freedom of association and expression;
  • Requires the Treasury Department to submit a report to Congress on the effectiveness of these program safeguards in Nicaragua;
  • Instructs the President to direct the U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States to use U.S. influence to advocate for an Electoral Observation Mission to be sent to Nicaragua in 2017;
  • States that the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development should prioritize foreign assistance to the people of Nicaragua to assist civil society in democracy and governance programs, including human rights documentation;
  • Requires the Department of State to report on the corruption in Nicaragua, including the involvement of senior Nicaraguan government officials in acts of public corruption or human rights violations in Nicaragua.
Last updated Oct 3, 2017. Source: Republican Policy Committee

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Oct 3, 2017.


Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2017

(Sec. 4) This bill directs the President to instruct the U.S. Executive Director at each international financial institution to use U.S. influence to oppose any loan for the government of Nicaragua's benefit, other than for basic human needs or to promote democracy, unless the Department of State certifies that Nicaragua is taking effective steps to:

hold free elections overseen by credible domestic and international electoral observers; promote democracy and an independent judicial system and electoral council; strengthen the rule of law; respect the right to freedom of association and expression; combat corruption, including investigating and prosecuting corrupt government officials; and protect the right of political opposition parties, journalists, trade unionists, human rights defenders, and other civil society activists to operate without interference. The Department of the Treasury shall submit to Congress a report assessing: (1) the effectiveness of the international financial institutions in enforcing applicable program safeguards in Nicaragua, and (2) the effects of specified constitutional and election concerns in Nicaragua on long-term prospects for positive development outcomes there. The President may waive such requirements in the U.S. national interest.

(Sec. 5) The bill requires: (1) the President to direct the U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States to use U.S. influence to advocate for an Electoral Observation Mission to be sent to Nicaragua in 2017, and (2) the State Department to report on the involvement of senior Nicaraguan government officials in acts of public corruption or human rights violations.