Washington Review, January 8, 2016
This week marked the beginning of the New Year. While in Washington, I attended a Foreign Affairs Committee markup, met with the Costa Rican Ambassador to the United States, and sent a letter to President Obama regarding Iran's recent missile tests.
This week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee began its work for the second session of the 114th Congress. I attended a markup of three bills and look forward to working with my colleagues to craft meaningful legislation.
Costa Rican Ambassador, Roman Macaya, visited my office to continue discussing relationships in the Western Hemisphere. He provided me with information on recent developments in the ongoing efforts to help Cuban migrants stranded in Central America.
I joined with various colleagues and sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to sanction Iran for recent violations of international law. In October and November 2015, Iran test fired medium-range ballistic missiles, destabilizing the already delicate relationships in the region. Furthermore, during military exercises, a rocket fired by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran's Armed Forces, came within 1,500 feet of the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. These actions, preceding the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), pose a threat to our national security and demand a U.S. response.
In the last decade, over 100,000 people have been killed in the United States as a result of gun violence. This week, President Obama introduced executive actions to combat this continued gun violence in our nation. These actions will facilitate the reporting of mental illnesses into the background check system and expand the use of background checks by those who sell guns in stores, on the Internet, or at gun shows. They will also make the background check system more effective, increase mental health treatment across the nation, and will support new research into gun safety measures. While I support the Second Amendment, I am frustrated that both the House and the Senate failed to consider gun safety measures thus far this Congress. It is our responsibility to pass long-term reforms that are aimed at reducing gun violence, which is why I have cosponsored key measures that will help to accomplish this goal and keep Americans safe. To read more about my stance on gun violence, visit my Gun Violence Prevention Page.
On December 12th, the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) came to a close in Paris, France with an agreement among the 195 nations that participated. The Paris Agreement is a pact to reduce global carbon emissions, with a goal of zero net emissions, by the second half of the century. Participants also agreed to work to keep global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius. The COP21 also resulted in the private sector joining with the public sector to capitalize on newly funded research into clean energy and improve reliable, affordable, non-carbon producing energy through technological innovations. This marks a global readiness to invest in climate change research and the development of alternative energy sources that will help combat climate change. I am encouraged by the results of COP21 and look forward to working with my colleagues to facilitate the implementation of the Paris Agreement. To read more about COP21, visit my Climate Change Page.