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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

Nov 21, 2016
While in Washington last week, I held a number of meetings and voted on important legislation.
Sep 23, 2016
Over the last two weeks in Washington, I held a number of meetings, attended a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing, and participated in a markup of legislation.
Sep 22, 2016

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa and Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, made the following statement after H.R. 5708 – the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2016 – was approved by unanimous consent in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Sep 15, 2016

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere passed H.Res. 851, Expressing profound concern about the ongoing political, economic, social, and humanitarian crises in Venezuela, as amended, and H.R. 5708, the Nicaragua Investment Conditionality Act of 2016, as amended. Both pieces of legislation acknowledge the deterioration of democracy, rule of law, and human rights in Venezuela and Nicaragua and achieved wide bipartisan support, passing unanimously by the Subcommittee.

Sep 9, 2016
While in Washington this week I attended a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing and held several meetings.
Jul 15, 2016
These past two weeks in Washington I participated in a number of hearings, held several meetings, and attended an event hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI).
Jun 30, 2016

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sires issued the following statement regarding the Financial Action Task Force’s decision to suspend its countermeasures against Iran for 12 months:

Jun 29, 2016

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sires issued the following statement condemning the terrorist attacks in Istanbul, Turkey.

“Yesterday’s attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport was a cowardly and hideous assault on a key ally in the fight against ISIL. I am disgusted by the terrorist tactics that continuously target innocent men, women, and children. These attacks are unfortunately another example of how militant extremists’ only goal is to instill fear amongst the people for their own twisted satisfaction.

Jun 24, 2016

While in Washington this week I sent a letter to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, attended a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing and CHLI Conference, and participated in the Democratic protest on the House Floor.

Jun 17, 2016
While in Washington this week I held meetings, participated in a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing and markup, and attended an event hosted in honor of the Caribbean.

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