A Coachella Valley congressman Tuesday introduced a bill that would authorize millions of dollars in annual funding for a federal program aimed at attracting and expanding foreign business and investment in the United States.

The legislation by Rep. Raul Ruiz, D-Palm Desert, would reauthorize the SelectUSA Initiative, which his office described as “the only federal program that helps connect American-owned businesses with foreign investors to grow our local economy.”

The program, which promotes foreign investment and assists foreign companies in navigating the federal regulatory system, helped sustain more than 700,000 California jobs supported by foreign investment and facilitated more than $30 billion in investment nationwide, according to Ruiz’s office.

The GROW American Jobs Act of 2018 would authorize pumping $15 million per year in federal funding into the program over the next four years.

“The United States is a global leader at the forefront of innovation and ingenuity, which is why so many people continue to invest in U.S. businesses,” Ruiz said. “SelectUSA is critical because it imports foreign investment in order to create American jobs in our community and export American goods. We can’t afford to let other countries that invest hundreds of millions of dollars in similar programs to take these investments overseas and the jobs that come along with them.”

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