Washington Review, November 4, 2019
Last week in Washington, the House voted on guidelines and rules for the official impeachment inquiry and the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed my bipartisan resolution. I sought answers from Boeing executives on the lack of oversight and accountability that caused the 737 MAX tragedies and met with representatives of United Steelworkers.
On Thursday, I voted in favor of H.Res.660, introduced by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), to formalize the impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives. H.Res.660 establishes the essential procedures and rules that will govern the next stage of the ongoing investigation into alleged actions by the President. It is imperative to our democracy that no American is above the law and any abuses of power in our government should be swiftly remediated. H.Res.660 passed by a vote of 232-196.
On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed my bipartisan resolution H.Res.546, which disapproves of Russia’s inclusion in future Group of Seven (G7) summits until it respects the sovereignty of its neighboring countries and adheres to standards of democratic societies. Russia was expelled in 2014 as a direct result of its aggressive actions in Ukraine. In August 2019, the President announced his intention to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the 2020 summit even though Russia has become even more aggressive towards Ukraine and has undermined democratic institutions around the world, including here in the United States. International democratic standards cannot be compromised. I thank my colleagues for their support and call for a vote on H.Res.546 on the House floor.
During the same markup, the House Foreign Affairs Committee also passed my bipartisan resolution with Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), H.Res.649, which recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Inter-American Foundation (IAF). Founded by Congress in 1969, the IAF is an independent government agency that channels development assistance directly to marginalized and underserved communities in the Western Hemisphere. Providing over 5,000 community-led grants, the IAF has been an indispensable resource for small-scale entrepreneurship and the economic development in the region for the past five decades.
Members of United Steelworkers met with me on Wednesday to discuss current issues in labor rights. They thanked me for cosponsoring H.R. 2474, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), which strengthens protections for collective bargaining. I emphasized my support for the hard working men and women of the steel industry and my commitment to fair employment for all Americans.
The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee convened on Wednesday to receive answers from Boeing on the recent 737 MAX disasters. As a member of the committee, I asked President and CEO of the Boeing Company, Dennis Muilenburg, directly about his decision to ignore dramatic warnings from his own employees about the safety of these aircraft. With the families of the victims in the chamber, it cannot be overstated the duty our travel industry has to uphold the highest safety standards for consumers.
In one email to a senior manager desperately cautioned his supervisors, “schedule pressure is creating a culture where employees are either deliberately or unconsciously circumventing established processes.” And yet his warnings went ignored. Profits cannot be valued over human lives and Boeing must take every measure possible to establish safety and accountability moving forward.
On Tuesday, I met with Alfonso Silva, the Ambassador from Chile, to discuss the recent reports of excessive violence against peaceful protestors. I expressed to him my concern for the people of Chile and emphasized my support for efforts to bolster democracy. My colleagues and I on the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee will continue to monitor the situation. The following day, I met with Julio Borges and Carlos Vecchio, representatives of the interim government of Venezuela President Juan Guaidó, along with members of Venezuela’s National Assembly. The world cannot lose sight of the crisis in Venezuela and must remain vigilant until human rights and the rule of law are restored. Over 4.5 million Venezuelans have been forced to leave their homes as the Maduro regime continues to plunder resources. We cannot look away from this humanitarian crisis.
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.