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Foreign Affairs

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.

Human Rights

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.

Global Health

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

Jul 27, 2017

(Washington, DC) – Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman Emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs made the following statement today after H.R. 1918, the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2017, was unanimously passed by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs by voice vote.

Jul 26, 2017

(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Sires voted in favor of legislation to increase and strengthen sanctions against Iran, North Korea, and Russia. H.R. 3364, the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 419 to 3. This legislation would expand and reinforce sanctions against entities who engage with countries that have perpetrated acts of aggression against the United States, its allies, or its interests.

Jul 21, 2017

While in Washington this week, I expressed my concerns about the lack of infrastructure investment at a Highways and Transit Subcommittee Hearing, spent time with American heroes at the Congressional Charity Golf Classic, discussed the importance of engaging with the Caribbean at a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing, and held a number of meetings.

Jul 14, 2017

This week in Washington, I discussed microfinance and the importance of international diplomacy at a Foreign Affairs Hearing and at a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing, spoke with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly about President Trump’s immigration reforms, voted on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and held a number of meetings.

Jul 5, 2017

While in Washington last week, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee marked up the 21st Century AIRR Act, I questioned UN Ambassador Nikki Haley at a Foreign Affairs Committee Meeting, and held a number of meetings.

Jun 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.

May 26, 2017

(Washington, D.C.)-  Congressman Sires issued the following statement condemning the attack in Egypt that targeted Coptic Christians traveling to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor:

May 25, 2017

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.

May 19, 2017

This week in Washington, I pushed for a special prosecutor and independent commission to investigate the Administration’s ties to Russia, attended a hearing on air traffic control (ATC) privatization and energy opportunities in South America, and held a number of meetings.

May 5, 2017

While in Washington this week, I voted against legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act and voted for an Omnibus appropriations package to fund the government through fiscal year (FY) 2017. I also attended a hearing on airline customer service, participated in a House Foreign Affairs Committee markup, and held a number of meetings.

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