In June 2015, our Nation took a step forward when the Supreme Court decided that it was unconstitutional for states to ban same-sex marriage. Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is intolerable and is not in line with our American values. While this decision was a milestone for the LGBT community, it is clear more must be done to ensure all Americans are treated equally under the law. I have continuously supported legislation that protects those in the LGBT community and works to end discrimination.
I was an original cosponsor of H.R. 3185, the Equality Act, introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), during the 114th Congress. The Equality Act would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Specifically, this legislation would have extended anti-discrimination protections in public accommodations, housing, employment, federal funding, education, credit, and jury service. I look forward to cosponsoring this legislation again when it is reintroduced during the 115th Congress.
Similarly, I was also a cosponsor of H.R. 5586, the Customer Non-Discrimination Act, during the 114th Congress. H.R. 5586, introduced by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), would have amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation. This bill would have expanded the categories of public accommodations to include places or establishments that provide: exhibitions, recreation, exercise, amusement, gatherings, or displays; goods, services, or programs; or transportation services. This bill has yet to be reintroduced in the 115th Congress and I look forward to cosponsoring it again.
It is our responsibility as Americans to treat our neighbors equally and with respect. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to advance legislation that promotes fairness, justice, and equality under the law.
More on Equal Rights
Last week, the House voted on the Conference Report to accompany the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) funding bill and a crucial stopgap funding bill to help avert a government shutdown while a larger package is negotiated. On Wednesday, I was honored to receive the In Defense of Christian’s 2020 Congressional Champion Award. I cosponsored legislation to protect providers from Medicare cuts in the midst of the pandemic, help those people facing eviction, support children with disabilities, and supporting human rights across the globe.
Last week, I joined the Congressional Labor Caucus, and cosponsored legislation to raise the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) monthly benefits, help ensure children do not go hungry during the pandemic, raise the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2021, help students refinance their student loans, and ensure humane treatment of animals in any research and testing.
This week, I joined the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey to discuss affordable housing in the 8th District. I introduced legislation to support our economic partners in Latin America and the Caribbean and cosponsored legislation to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to schools, get surplus computers to our nation’s veterans and students, and reaffirm our commitment to marriage equality.
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) has introduced the House companion to Senator Menendez’s Equal Access to Information Act. This legislation would require federal agencies to ensure language access and multilingual resources for all communities regardless of English proficiency.
This week, the House was in session in Washington, D.C. to extend funding of the federal government. The House also voted on legislation to protect benefits for veterans, condemn the forced labor of Uyghurs in China, and reinvigorate our economy with more clean jobs and innovation. I attended hearings focused on Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, and the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
Last week, I was back in Washington to vote on important legislation to appropriate funds to the government, expand and protect access to child care, create a National Museum of American Latinos, and we commemorated the late John Lewis. I also attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee review and consideration of several bills and wrote an op-ed on the Ortega regime’s continued abuse of human rights in Nicaragua.
This week, I attended a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee vote on an important water infrastructure bill and submitted public comments opposing the Administration’s proposal to rewrite asylum rules. I also signed onto letters opposing the Administration’s recent attempted rule on international students, urging the Administration to extend the current public health emergency, pushing for protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence, and encouraging the Administration to keep protections in place for Medicaid beneficiaries.
Last week, I was in Jersey City to announce more CARES Act funding to assist small businesses in the area. A long-time Jersey City resident returned to the United States after being wrongly imprisoned in Egypt. I also attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing focused on the Administration’s response to reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops.