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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 1, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, released the following statement regarding the death of Capitán de Corbeta Rafael Acosta Arévalo, Venezuelan Naval Officer captured and tortured by the Maduro regime:

Jun 25, 2019
(Washington, D.C.)- Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.3456), with bipartisan support. The bill’s original cosponsors include Representatives Albio Sires (D-NJ), Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), and Donna E. Shalala (D-FL,) and Representatives Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA) and Garret Graves (R-LA)—co-chairs of the Congressional Peace Corps Caucus with Congressman Garamendi.
Jun 24, 2019

Last week in Washington, the House passed the first appropriation bills for fiscal year (FY) 2020 to provide a secure, prosperous future for the American people. I convened with all three committees I sit on to tackle issues ranging from transit workforce safety to the current state of poverty in America.

Jun 20, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Congressman Sires, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Civilian Security, and Trade, released the following statement regarding the Nicaraguan government’s failure to meet a June 18 deadline that had been agreed to with opposition groups and the Organization of American States for the release of all political prisoners.

Jun 19, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires released the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s decision to move ahead with funding cuts to foreign assistance programs intended to address the root causes of migration from Central America:

Jun 17, 2019

Last week in Washington, Congress considered the first appropriations package to fund our nation’s government through fiscal year (FY) 2020. I attended the rededication of the Bayonne Bridge, sent a letter to Secretary Chao about the Gateway Project, and met with a New Jersey family to discuss bus safety legislation.  

Jun 7, 2019

This week in Washington, the House of Representatives tackled long standing priorities of the Democratic majority including DACA, disaster relief, and the environment. I met with groups ranging from the Anti-Defamation League to the National Association of Home Builders to align my work with our community’s priorities. I also introduced legislation to push back against the Administration’s misguided approach to foreign policy and attended a hearing on human rights in China.

Jun 4, 2019

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Sires introduced a House Resolution with bipartisan support from Congressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) promising to continue engagement and support for the people of the Northern Triangle countries in order to address the root causes of migration to the United States.

Increasingly, violence and forced gang recruitment, poverty and food insecurity, absence of rule of law, and corruption have devastated Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, driving their people to migrate to find respite from these ills.

May 28, 2019

Last week in Washington, the House considered remedies to veteran’s services, consumer protection, and retirement savings. I met with community groups focused on youth job training, postal services, and disaster relief in Puerto Rico. I also attended a post office dedication in Belleville and executed my Budget and Foreign Affairs Committee duties.

May 17, 2019

This week in Washington, the House moved forward legislation to progress LGBTQ+ rights and protect access to health care. I met with the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, and the U.S.-Guatemala Business Council. Additionally, I voiced concerns about the future security of our nation’s infrastructure at a hearing held by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

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