On February 2, Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) introduced House Resolution 901, which reaffirms bipartisan congressional support of the U.S. Department of State BridgeUSA programs – formerly the Exchange Visitor J-1 Visa Program – and confirms that these programs are vital to the economy and national interests of the United States. The resolution also states that Congress should prioritize robust support for these programs to ensure equitable opportunities for Americans and people from other countries.
In the press release shared by his Congressional office, Rep. Blake Moore stated: “As I have traveled across Utah’s First Congressional District, the message I have heard from community and business leaders alike is that these programs simply work. Not only do they deepen ties between our communities and our allies abroad, but they allow our employers to fill important vacancies and address the challenging workforce shortages that exist here in Utah and across the nation.”
In her meeting with local NH businesses, Rep. Annie Kuster stated that “New Hampshire’s hospitality and tourism businesses are the backbone of our economy, and it is essential they have the workforce needed to staff their operations throughout our busy tourism seasons… I will continue working across the aisle to bolster BridgeUSA programs.”
“Bridge USA’s Camp Counselor and Summer Work Travel programs provide millions of American children with the opportunity to meet people from other countries, learn about their cultures, and share what it is like to be a child growing up in the USA,” said Scott Brody, National Board Chair, American Camp Association, and Owner of Camps Kenwood & Evergreen.
InterExchange thanks Rep. Annie Kuster and Rep. Blake Moore for their continuous engagement and support of BridgeUSA educational and cultural exchange programs, and for their direct engagement with InterExchange and our Summer Work Travel and Camp Counselor host employers in their districts.
InterExchange signed on as an external supporter of the Resolution along with more than 130 organizations, including The Alliance for International Exchange, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the National Ski Areas Association and many others.
The BridgeUSA programs were created alongside the Peace Corps and U.S. Agency for International Development during the Cold War to promote the diplomatic and foreign affairs goals of the United States, which the State Department still advances in administering BridgeUSA as federal cultural exchange programs. The programs make travel to the United States possible for a broad and diverse group of international students and young people.