Washington Review May 17th, 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.
Despite recent advancements, rights for LGBTQ+ Americans are not yet equally protected across the country. In some states, a person can still be evicted from their home, fired from their job, or denied critical services because of who they love or how they identify. I was proud to be an original cosponsor of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, and vote on the House Floor in support of this important legislation introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). This bill would update the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation in every community in America. These cornerstone legal protections are one step closer to the full realization of liberty and justice for all. H.R. 5 passed by a vote of 236-173.
Earlier this week, the House also considered H.R. 987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, introduced by Rep. Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-DE). It has been a priority of the Democratic majority in the 116th Congress to tackle the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs and defend access to health care for vulnerable Americans. I voted for this package that promotes bringing generic drugs to the market sooner, rescinds the Administration’s plans to promote the sale of junk insurance plans, and invests in consumer education and outreach activities. H.R. 987 passed by a vote of 234-183
On Tuesday, H.R. 2578, the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), passed the House by a unanimous vote. I continue to support the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and strongly urge my colleagues to quickly take up a long-term reauthorization as well. H.R. 2758 marks the eleventh short-term NFIP reauthorization that Congress has passed since the end of fiscal year (FY) 2017. This instability is unacceptable and puts our real estate and financial markets at undue risk. It is time to modernize and pass long-term authorization for NFIP.
H.R. 5, H.R. 987, and H.R. 2578 now all await further consideration before the Senate.
On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee convened to discuss the impact of foreign government-owned companies interacting with our infrastructure market. Countries like China possess organizations that enjoy massive government subsidies, allowing them to make – and win – ultra-low bids for contracts here in America. I expressed my concerns to the Committee on the deeply troubling security risks this poses. America’s infrastructure must be built and operated with the best interests of our nation in mind, and we must defend against entities that may act as proxies for foreign governments.
On Thursday, I sat down with representative of the Hispanic National Bar Association to discuss my commitment to comprehensive immigration reform and protecting voter rights nationwide. Then, I met with Manuel Vargas, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Dominican Republic, to discuss bilateral relations between our nations. The United States and Dominican Republic are strong partners and can continue to work together on crucial programs like the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. Lastly, I met received updates on the upcoming Guatemalan elections from the U.S.-Guatemala Business Council. It is important more now than ever to continue to uphold free and fair elections and continue to promote democracy in the region.
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