I have been an active member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs since I was elected to Congress thirteen years ago. At the beginning of the 116th Congress I was appointed Chairman of the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade Subcommittee. In this role, I have worked to build closer relationships with our regional allies to advance our shared economic and security interests and promote the values of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.
The United States must be a leader in the international arena through investments in diplomacy, economic and social development, political stability, and democratic representation. Not only are these efforts critical to a comprehensive national security strategy, they also have a strong correlation to our security, stability, and prosperity here at home.
Foreign Affairs Committee
I am proud to be a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. As a Committee, we are responsible for creating and maintaining an overarching strategy that complements our existing programs and ensures they fit with the democratic and humanitarian goals and ideals of the United States. We also exercise our oversight role in ensuring foreign aid and policies are implemented in the best interest of our country.
As Chairman of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, it is my duty to engage with leaders in the region to ensure that the United States is a good partner to our allies, committed to prosperity and security in the region. It is an honor to serve as the head of a Subcommittee that oversees a portion of the world that is not only strategically critical for our foreign agenda, but a part of the world that is deeply personal to me and many of my constituents. The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over issues pertaining to the countries in South America, North America, and the Caribbean.
I am also a member of the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and the Environment. This Subcommittee has jurisdiction over matters affecting the relations between the United States and countries in the region.
I have introduced several bills aimed at exercising this oversight role, including:
- H.Res.546, disapproving of Russia’s inclusion in future G-7 summits until it respects the territorial integrity of its neighbors and adheres to the standards of democratic societies.
- H.Res.426, supporting the U.S.’ continued engagement with the people and governments of the Northern Triangle to improve security in the region and address the root causes of migration.
- H.Res.649, supporting the work of the Inter-American Foundation.
You can stay up to date with the Committee’s work here.
I believe that basic human rights and fundamental freedoms must be upheld and respected around the world, in every nation and in every community. I continue to advocate for the rights of minority communities, who too often suffer targeted persecution and violence. It is unacceptable that thousands of people are threatened, attacked, and silenced simply for standing up for what they believe. Below are just a few examples of human rights legislation I have cosponsored in the 116th Congress:
- H.R. 649, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, requires expanded reporting by several U.S. agencies on the Chinese treatment of the Uyghur minority.
- H.R. 3190, the BURMA Act of 2019, as passed by the House, imposes sanctions against officials responsible for human rights abuses in Burma and authorizes aid for Burma and the surrounding region, including those ethnic minorities targeted by Burma’s military.
- H.R. 3252, the Global Respect Act, would impose sanctions against people responsible for violating the human rights of LTBTI individuals.
- H.Res.49, Supporting Coptic Christians in Egypt, urges the Egyptian government to ensure that Coptic Christians have the same rights as other Egyptians and work towards ending the culture of impunity for attacks on Christians.
Each year, millions of people throughout the world are left to suffer without access to quality health care and resources. Every year millions of lives are lost due to infectious disease, malnutrition, and complications of pregnancy and childbirth, many of which are treatable or completely preventable with the right investment. Last Congress, my bill, the Global Health Innovation Act of 2017, was signed into law. This bill provides the oversight needed to gain a clearer understanding of USAID’s global health research and development. I believe in the importance of funding initiatives aimed at expanding global health programs, which is why each year I request comprehensive funding for global health in the annual appropriations process. I have also cosponsored H.Res.517, supporting the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and its Sixth Replenishment.
The United States should act like the global leader that it is and be a reliable partner to our allies as well as a staunch defender of human rights. To promote global security and prosperity, we must support the basic tenants of shared humanity, equal rights, and democracy to foster genuine relationships with international actors. I have been, and will continue to be, an advocate for the use of our foreign assistance as an integral part of our overall national security strategy and foreign policy. For more information on the foreign affairs legislation I have cosponsored, visit congress.gov
More on Foreign Affairs
This week, I participated in virtual hearings for the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the House Budget Committee, and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. I also signed onto legislation to help ensure the short and long-term accessibility, safety, and affordability of housing. Additionally, I signed onto letters to promote clean air in communities across the country, extend the payroll support program, and to direct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during our current public health emergency.
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) released the following statement after reports that Belarusian opposition leader, Maria Kolesnikova, has gone missing after challenging President Alexander Lukashenko and protests following the election. Lukashenko is a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has been trying to crush protests that arose after the August election in which there have been serious accusations of vote-rigging in favor of the incumbent.
This week, I signed onto legislation to stop harmful image exploitation and distribution of non-consenting individuals. I also signed onto letters to oppose harmful environmental law erosions proposed by the Administration, support the inclusion of protections against harmful pesticides in the final National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and to demand accountability for vehicle inspections across the country.
(Washington, D.C.) – Hoy, el congresista Albio Sires (D-NJ), presidente del Subcomité de Asuntos Exteriores de la Cámara sobre el Hemisferio Occidental, Seguridad Civil y Comercio, y la congresista Donna Shalala (D-FL), enviaron una carta junto con cinco de sus colegas al presidente Donald J. Trump, condenando la expulsión de solicitantes de asilo nicaragüenses por parte de su administración e pidiéndole que su administración deje de colaborar con el régimen de Ortega para deportar a los nicaragüenses:
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, and Congresswoman Donna Shalala (D-FL), sent a letter along with five of their colleagues to President Donald J. Trump, condemning his administration’s expulsion of Nicaraguan asylum-seekers and urging his administration to stop collaborating with the Ortega regime to deport Nicaraguans:
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), Vice Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, and Congressman Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, urged President Iván Duque of Colombia to ensure full investigations into the recent killings of five Afro-Colombian teenagers.
Over the weekend, the House was back in session to vote on legislation to curb the Administration’s preposterous attacks on the United States Postal Service (USPS). I also signed onto the Supporting Connectivity for Higher Education Students in Need Act and legislation to ensure the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) could provide funeral assistance to undocumented immigrants dealing with the fallout of COVID-19.
Last week, I signed onto legislation to help support small independent restaurants impacted by COVID-19. I also signed onto letters asking the Census Bureau for an explanation on why they would end data collection early, opposing the President’s order for the federal government to not cover the cost of National Guard stationed in states, and to include immigrants in any future COVID-19 relief legislation.
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.