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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

Sep 7, 2018
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and Rep. Paul Cook (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, issued the following statement on Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales’ recent announcement that he would not renew CICIG’s mandate, the abuse of U.S.-donated military grade vehicles, decision to prevent the return of the CICIG Commissioner to Guatemala, and deteriorating investment climate conditions.
Sep 4, 2018
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Representative Albio Sires, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, made the following statement on the Guatemalan government’s decision to deny International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) Commissioner Ivan Velasquez re-entry into the country:
Aug 31, 2018
Representative Albio Sires, Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement on Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales’s announcement that he will not renew the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) when it’s current mandate expires:
Aug 21, 2018

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires responded to El Salvador's decision to cut ties with Taiwan in favor of diplomatic ties with Beijing:

Aug 2, 2018
(Washington, D.C.) –Today, Congressman Sires, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, joined a bipartisan group of members of Congress in urging the Trump Administration to use its authority under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act to sanction six individuals from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico for their involvement in corruption and organized crime.
Jul 30, 2018

In Washington last week, I managed a resolution on the House Floor condemning the violence in Nicaragua. The House of Representatives passed a bill extending the National Flood Insurance Program and legislation to support palliative care and hospice education centers. Attempts to pass legislation to hold individuals accountable for election interference ultimately failed on the Floor last week as well. Additionally, I met with foreign delegations and announced a grant for a dry dock in Bayonne.

Jul 20, 2018

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Ranking Member Albio Sires (NJ-08) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Chairman Paul Cook (CA-08) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Chairman Emeritus Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (NY-17) of the House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced H.Res.1006 to condemn the deteriorating situation in Venezuela and the regional humanitarian crisis it has caused, affirm support for the legitimate National Ass

Jul 20, 2018

This week, the President met with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki despite ongoing confirmations by the Intelligence Community that Russia has and will likely continue to target American elections. In Washington, I spoke with local business owners at the Indian Business Association and met constituents who work with ACCSES NJ. Later, I attended a Subcommittee hearing on hurricane and disaster recovery and held a number of meetings.

 

Jul 16, 2018

(Washington, D.C.) –Today, Congressman Sires released the following statement condemning President Trump’s closed-door meeting and press conference with Vladimir Putin that took place in Finland this morning: 

Jul 16, 2018

In Washington last week, the President announced his nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court and I participated in a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing examining how the United States can advance U.S. interested in the Western Hemisphere. The Western Hemisphere Subcommittee also held a hearing to receive updates on the crisis ongoing in Nicaragua, then considered a resolution which I cosponsored that denounced this violence.

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