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Congressman Albio Sires

Representing the 8th District of New Jersey

Washington Review, May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017
Washington Review

This week in Washington, I spoke out against the President’s budget proposal and the CBO score of the Republican health care bill, attended markups in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, and held a number of meetings.

FY 2018 Budget Proposal

On Tuesday, the President released his fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget proposal. This proposal calls for almost $3.6 trillion in cuts over the next ten years, which includes devastating cuts to essential job-creation programs, affordable education initiatives, and benefit programs such as Medicaid. The proposed cuts threaten the ability of low- and middle- income American families to access services such as student loan financing, tax credits, SNAP (food stamps), and Social Security Disability Benefits.

This budget prioritizes the wealthiest individuals at the expense of the lower and middle class families, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to protect funding for programs that are critical to my constituents and the rest of the country. Congress must work together to ensure that this unreasonable budget does not become law.

CBO Score

On May 24, 2017, the Congressional Budget Office released their assessment of the Republican health care bill which confirms that this new health care legislation will take away coverage from nearly 23 million people over the next ten years. Additionally, the bill will cause premiums to increase by 20% in the next two years, making communities who need health care the most to be unable to afford critical services. While the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, I believe it is a step in the right direction for ensuring that all Americans have access to the health care they need.

Transportation Committee Markup

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a markup this week reviewing legislation that would reauthorize the United States Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), authorize funding for the Federal Maritime Commission, and provide disaster assistance support. It is important that critical services like the Coast Guard, and federal agencies such as FEMA, have the financial support they need to continue protecting our communities and help them respond to disasters. Both these bills were passed out of Committee with broad support and now await further action in the House of Representatives.

Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Markup

On Wednesday, the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee considered several resolutions of which I was an original cosponsor. These resolutions express support for the U.S.-Mexico partnership, support for Argentina’s investigation of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy, and condemn the continuing crisis in Venezuela. I am also the lead Democrat on H.R.1918, the Nicaraguan Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2017, which we reviewed in this markup. The NICA Act would hold the Ortega regime accountable by imposing conditions on loans to Nicaragua, similar to existing conditions on other countries in the region. H.R. 1918 and the resolutions were passed out of Committee by voice vote and now await further action in the House of Representatives.

 Foreign Affairs Committee Markup

The House Foreign Affairs Committee reviewed several resolutions that condemned violence in Chechnya and attacks on protesters outside the Turkish Ambassador’s residence, a bill promoting women in peace negotiation, and a senate bill on the Department of State’s authorities. In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester, United Kingdom, the Committee also supported H.Res. 355, which strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Manchester on May 22, 2017 and offered the House of Representatives’ condolences. All of the resolutions and bills were passed out of Committee by voice vote and now await further action in the House of Representatives.

Meetings

At the beginning of the week, I welcomed members of the New Jersey Rural Letter Carriers Association who stopped by to discuss upcoming legislation and the importance of restoring delivery service standards. Later in the week, I met with representatives of Celgene to learn more about their patient services, research, and how they expand access to lifesaving treatments.

On Wednesday, I met with Angela LaGrasta, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, to discuss the important work that air traffic controllers do to keep U.S. airways safe and reliable. Finally, I met with members of the American Association for Justice. We discussed legislation impacting medical malpractice lawsuits.

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