Reps. Sires, Salazar, and Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Nicaragua Bill to Promote Democratic Elections in November

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, Migration, and International Economic Policy, and Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar introduced the Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform Act of 2021, or the RENACER Act. Reps. Mark E. Green, M.D. (R-TN), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, along with Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Juan Vargas (D-CA), and Ted Deutch (D-FL) joined as original cosponsors. The legislation was originally introduced in the Senate by Senators Menendez (D-NJ), Rubio (R-FL), Kaine (D-VA), Durbin (D-IL), Cardin (D-MD), and Murphy (D-CT). 

Rep. Sires: “The United States Government must use every foreign policy tool available to ensure free, fair, and competitive elections in Nicaragua. We should implement a results-oriented diplomatic strategy, in coordination with our allies, that aligns sanctions with specific outcomes in order to counter the Ortega regime’s efforts to use repression, persecution, and fear to prevent the Nicaraguan people from expressing their will at the ballot box. I am proud to join colleagues on both sides of the aisle in introducing this legislation, which builds on the NICA Act that I wrote with my good friend Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and which was passed into law in 2018. As with the NICA Act, this bill conveys to the Nicaraguan people that we will never stop fighting for them until their voices are heard.”

Rep. Salazar: “The brutal Ortega regime is harassing, persecuting, and repressing the Nicaraguan people to prevent a free and fair presidential election this November. I am so proud to join my colleague, Chairman Albio Sires, in introducing the RENACER Act to increase pressure on the Ortega regime and hold them accountable for their heinous actions. We must always stand with brave men and women fighting for freedom, democracy, and Human Rights in Nicaragua!”

Rep. Green: “As Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, I’m honored to join Chairman Sires in cosponsoring this bipartisan bill. The United States stands with the people of Nicaragua and condemns the repressive Ortega regime’s continued efforts to silence their voices. We must ensure U.S. foreign policy priorities reflect support of fair and free elections in Nicaragua.”

Rep. Wasserman Schultz: “In the three years since massive protests against the brutal Ortega regime began, the people of Nicaragua have been continually met with unspeakable acts of state-sanctioned violence. As the November election approaches, it is clear Ortega and his allies will not allow a fair race. We stand with Nicaraguans and the international community in calling for free and fair, multi-party, internationally observed elections in Nicaragua and a return to true democracy.”

Rep. Murphy: “What happens in Nicaragua matters to the United States, especially to the 160,000 Floridians who were born in Nicaragua or are of Nicaraguan heritage. I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan bill because it is critical for the United States, acting in close coordination with our partners in Latin America and other regions, to craft and execute a strategy to promote free and fair elections in Nicaragua and to hold accountable those Nicaraguan officials who seek to frustrate the democratic aspirations of the Nicaraguan people.”

Rep. Diaz-Balart: “I commend my dear friend Rep. Albio Sires, a hero in opposing tyranny throughout our hemisphere, for introducing this important legislation. This bipartisan bill builds on the solidarity that the United States has extended to Nicaraguan people through the NICA Act by authorizing additional tough sanctions against the Ortega regime. We continue to stand with the Nicaraguan people in their struggle for freedom, human rights, and genuine democracy.”

Rep. Soto: “No government will suppress the voices of their citizens without repercussions from the United States. The people of Nicaragua deserve to vote without fear of persecution, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that they are able to freely express themselves.”

Rep. Vargas: “I’m pleased to be joining Rep. Sires in introducing his bill, the Reinforcing Nicaragua’s Adherence to Conditions for Electoral Reform Act of 2021, as an original co-sponsor. Nicaraguan people have a right to fair and free elections. This bill will help ensure that their voices are heard.”

Rep. Deutch: “The democratic situation in Nicaragua is deteriorating, with the Ortega regime increasingly using repressive tactics and violating human rights and basic liberties. This legislation sends an important bipartisan and bicameral message that our policy seeks to empower the Nicaraguan people, support their right to a free and fair election, and address Ortega’s corruption and oppression.”

The RENACER Act builds on the text of H.R. 1918, the Nicaragua Human Rights and Anticorruption Act of 2018 by requiring targeted sanctions to advance elections scheduled for November 2021; coordinating sanctions with Canada and the European Union; reinforcing humanitarian and human rights exceptions in loans from international financial institutions; and expanding oversight mechanisms for lending from international financial institutions. The bill also requires classified reports on corruption in the Ortega family and Russian involvement in Nicaragua and unclassified reports on human rights abuses and the Ortega regime’s persecution of independent media in Nicaragua. Finally, the bill continues longstanding U.S. support for independent news media and freedom of information in Nicaragua.