Washington Review, June 16, 2017
It was a difficult week in Washington this week as members of Congress came under attack during a routine practice for a bipartisan annual tradition, the Congressional baseball game. However, our important work must continue. This week, I introduced legislation to grow America’s workforce, called for the creation of an American Latino Museum, questioned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the viability of President Trump’s proposed budget cuts, and held a number of meetings.
- Shooting at Congressional Baseball Practice
- H.R. 2865, the BEST for America’s Workforce Act
- National Museum of the American Latino
- Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing
On Wednesday morning, an armed shooter attacked the Republican Congressional baseball team practice. The attack injured five individuals, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), who remains in critical condition. I am appalled by the attack on my colleagues and hope that now more than ever, Americans will unite to achieve greater cooperation towards progress in our country. My thoughts are with those injured in Wednesday’s incident, and I wish them a quick recovery.
On June 8, 2017, I introduced H.R. 2865, the Better Education and Skills Training (BEST) for America’s workforce Act. This legislation would create a competitive, $1 billion tax-credit program to foster job training partnerships between community colleges and local businesses. This legislation would also provide local businesses a $4,000 tax credit towards community college tuition to obtain special certificate or training credentials for new hires. This bill addresses the growing skills gap in our nation and invests in communities by creating needed jobs and providing needed skill sets. I am pleased to be working with Senator Menendez on this important legislation.
On Thursday, I joined my colleagues and New Jersey-born actress Diane Guerrero, to urge Congress to build a National Museum of the American Latino that tells the stories, adversity, achievements and legacy of Latino-Americans and their important contribution to the diversity of our country. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Smithsonian American Latino Museum Act, which will enable these important stories to be told.
This week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the fiscal year (FY) 2018 international affairs budget. A strong foreign assistance strategy that builds global partnerships, alleviates poverty, and promotes human rights is vital to our national security and President Trump’s proposed cuts to the international affairs program threatens that security. I questioned Secretary Tillerson about the Administration’s refusal to take punitive action towards Russia in light of their interference in our democratic processes.
At the beginning of this week, I welcomed members of AIPAC to my Washington D.C. office. As Iran continues to exercise hostile behavior in the Middle East by testing ballistic missiles and funding terrorism in the region, it is important that the United States continue its strong relationship with Israel to act as a stronghold against regional aggressors.
Later, I met with Jason Pollard of GSE Dedicated Truckload and the Transportation Intermediary Association. Jason is a transportation and logistics professional and, as a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, I appreciated the opportunity to hear how our work in Congress affects his work in the industry.
I also spoke with Dean Mon and New Jersey members of the National Association of Home Builders on how Congress can improve the transparency, accountability, and cost-benefit analysis of the housing industry. We discussed how Congress can protect homeowners through programs like the National Flood Insurance Program.
Additionally, I met with the Airline Pilots Association, who shared with me their concerns for maintaining and improving airline safety. Finally, I spoke with Dr. Victor Dzau of the National Academy of Medicine, on the importance of providing health care around the globe. We discussed the Global Health Innovation Act, which I introduced, and he shared his insight on how we can continue to advance global health initiatives.