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US Congress to discuss aid approval for El Salvador


US Congress to discuss aid approval for El Salvador

El Salvador Rebecca Blackwell AP
Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP

US aid due to El Salvador will expire today, but a continuation is likely even as concerns over President Nayib Bukele’s recent authoritarian actions grow.

El Salvador signed a second investment compact in 2014 worth close to $277 million dollars with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent US agency focusing on foreign aid, and the country is expected to ask for a third compact this year.

Nevertheless, a letter delivered to the Bukele administration in May expressed concerns that certain authoritarian measures taken by the government could endanger the aid extension. These concerns emanate primarily from Democratic lawmakers, whose support for the aid extension is necessary given their control of the US House of Representatives.

Any loss in aid could threaten multiple projects that are currently underway including the construction of a coastal highway that will allow increased exports of agricultural products to foreign markets. Although Democrats are likely to push for greater oversight of Bukele’s actions, the aid is likely to be approved given that any collapse in El Salvador’s economy is likely to further the migrant and economic crisis in Central America. Furthermore, Bukele enjoys broad support from President Donald Trump and the Republican Party in exchange for his support for Trump’s immigration policies. Regardless, any compact signed now could face further scrutiny should the November elections in the US give the Democratic Party control over the White House.

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