Washington Review, January 31, 2019
This week, the House of Representatives took up reforms to our nation’s credit system and passed legislation restricting authorization for conflict with Iran. I attended a Budget Committee hearing on the economic outlook of the next decade and an Europe and Eurasia Subcommittee hearing on stopping the rise of antisemitism. I also met with students from Elizabeth, NJ and activists on the crisis in Syria.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives debated legislation to reform credit access for the average American. H.R. 3621, the Comprehensive Credit Reporting Enhancement, Disclosure, Innovation, and Transparency (CREDIT) ACT, introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), encompasses multiple bills to amend current credit reporting practices. Among the innovations are expanded consumer rights to contest adverse or mistaken credit reporting, credit restoration for victims of predatory financial practices, increased transparency in credit scoring, and more. I voted in favor of this measure which passed the House by a vote of 221-189. H.R. 3621 now awaits consideration before the Senate.
The following day, the House passed two measures to limit the unauthorized use of military force against Iran: H.R. 5543, the No War Against Iran Act, introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and H.R. 2456, to repeal the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). These bills were incorporated as amendments to another legislative vehicle. Rep. Lee’s amendment would repeal the 2002 AUMF, which has been used to justify military action in the region for almost two decades. Rep. Khanna’s amendment explicitly blocks federal funds for unauthorized, non-defense military force against Iran. I voted in favor of both amendments, which passed by votes of 228-175 and 236-166, respectively. This legislation now awaits consideration before the Senate.
On Wednesday, I discussed the Syrian conflict with filmmakers Edward Watts and Waad Al-Kateab. We discussed the ongoing humanitarian tragedy now entering its 9th year of conflict and Waad’s experience living in Aleppo during the war.
Later that day, I met with 8th District students from Elizabeth, NJ. We discussed issues that were important to them, topics that concern their classmates, and what their plans are for after school. I was inspired by how closely they follow issues impacting our community and their thoughtful reflections. I look forward to everything they will go on to accomplish.
Youth Mentoring Advocates also stopped by my Washington, D.C. office to discuss indicators that students may dropout, such as chronic absenteeism, and the ways youth mentoring programs can combat risk factors.
The House Committee on the Budget met Wednesday morning to receive testimony from Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Phillip Swagel. My colleagues and I reviewed the CBO’s recently released “Budget and Economic Outlook” for the next decade. Much of the analysis deserves the immediate attention of Congress including the forecast that the national debt will be 180 times our GDP by the year 2050.
I attended a Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy, and Environment, hearing on Wednesday which focused on combatting anti-semitism and intolerance in Europe. Since 2016, governments have recorded an increase of physical assaults towards Jewish individuals, vandalism of Jewish institutions, and harassment of the Jewish community across the continent. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also has reported data that suggests hate crimes against Muslims in Europe increase following terrorist attacks or on the anniversaries of such attacks. Hate and intolerance cannot be tolerated anywhere and Congress must work with our allies to promote human rights and safety.
Thank you for reading the Washington Review. Again, hearing from my constituents enables me to be a better representative of the 8th District. For regular updates, you may stay in touch by leaving comments on my Facebook, Twitter, and website.