Press Releases

Representatives Annie Kuster and Blake Moore Reintroduce Legislation in Support of BridgeUSA Programs

WASHINGTON – Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Blake Moore (R-UT) reintroduced a resolution for the 118th Congress expressing congressional support for BridgeUSA programs—formerly the Exchange Visitor J-1 Visa Program—which are vital to the economy and national interests of the United States. Across the nation, and in states like Utah and New Hampshire, participants in these programs fill vital workforce needs, strengthen America’s tourism industry and cultural diversity, and advance our important diplomatic efforts domestically and abroad. Approximately 300,000 participants from over 200 countries and territories visit the United States on a J-1 cultural exchange visa each year. 


“The BridgeUSA program plays a critical role in New Hampshire’s tourism economy and our communities. The work-and study-based exchange visa program attracts foreign visitors, students, and workers to our state and strengthens cultural understanding,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “We must invest in the BridgeUSA program to bolster our economy and enrich our communities for years to come. I am proud to join with my colleagues from across the aisle to ensure that is the case.”


“Communities across Utah take advantage of the BridgeUSA programs with great success, and they deserve Congress’s full support,” said Congressman Blake Moore. “These work and study exchange programs have opened up amazing opportunities and experiences in America for hundreds of thousands of foreigners while also supplementing our workforce and supporting our businesses. States like Utah that rely on a seasonal workforce to fuel local tourism need programs like these to ensure economic growth, and I am thrilled to once again lead this Resolution with my colleague Representative Kuster.”


“New Hampshire employers rely on programs like BridgeUSA to meet their workforce needs and run their small businesses,” said Congressman Chris Pappas. “BridgeUSA ensures our small businesses can meet the demand of their customers, strengthens our diplomatic efforts, and bolsters our tourism industry. I’m pleased to join this bipartisan effort in support of this program, and I will continue working to support our tourism industry, strengthen our local economy, and address the needs of our small businesses.”


“I want to thank Reps. Moore and Kuster for their strong support of Department of State international exchange programs,” said Mark Overmann, Executive Director of the Alliance for International Exchange. “BridgeUSA exchanges are a win-win for the U.S. They bolster our national security and foreign policy by creating lasting relationships with students and young leaders from around the world. They also support American businesses, camps, universities, and families and contribute more than $1.2 billion to the U.S. economy each year. All of this is why BridgeUSA programs continue to have broad bipartisan support."


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. 


The resolution text can be found by clicking HERE.


Click HERE to view the full list of supporting groups.