I was pleased to see that on February 21, 2016, Somali President Hassan Mohamud signed the Anti-Money laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism bill that the Somali Parliament passed in December 2015. This legislation was crafted with the helpful guidance and technical assistance from the Treasury Department, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. On February 23, 2016, I signed a letter, alongside Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and other Members of Congress, to President Mohamud applauding Somalia for their constructive efforts.
I am grateful for the continued input from the constituents of the 9th District. I know that that remittances are a vital component of the Somali economy and they help many families pay for every day necessities such as food, medicine, education, as well as help expand economic and business opportunities in Somalia. We need to make it easier for residents of the 9th District and Somali-Americans everywhere to send money back to their families in Somalia.
In recognition of this important issue, I have cosponsored legislation and met with numerous government officials in attempts to find ways to continue U.S. remittances to Somalia. Additionally, on January 4, 2016, I wrote a letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office(GAO) expressing concerns regarding reduced access to banking services, especially remittances providers. Noting the challenges this presents to Somalis and Somali-Americans, I asked the GAO to analyze the effects that de-risking has had on money service providers, the State Department, USAID, and NGOs. Among other requests, I also asked that the GAO report on other options for sending remittances to Somalia.
I am encouraged by the Somali government’s recent actions and will continue to look for ways for the U.S. government to take steps to cooperate and support Somalia and its people whenever possible. I remain ready to help in any way I can.