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The Beginning of the 114th Congress

Jan 6, 2015
Washington Review

Today I was honored to once again be sworn into office, representing the 8th District of the great state of New Jersey in the 114th Congress. Serving as a Member of Congress is a tremendous privilege and responsibility, and I do not take this commitment lightly. Members of Congress have a critical obligation to their constituents to advocate for their interests on their behalf, and I look forward to serving you over the next two years.

As we enter a new Congress, our economy is showing major signs of improvement. Unemployment has dropped to 5.8 percent. The uninsured rate is approaching an all-time low, gas prices are at their lowest levels since 2009, and renewable power is up. Over the next two years during my tenure in Congress, I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass important legislation that will continue to benefit New Jerseyeans and the American people.

Unfortunately, during the 113th Congress, critical legislation that was introduced was not afforded the opportunity to come to the House Floor for a vote. Congress did not pass a long-term surface transportation bill to finance road and transit infrastructure. Additionally, Congress failed to reauthorize both the Federal Aviation Administration and Amtrak. These bills will need to be prioritized in the 114th Congress in order to put transportation policy back on the Congressional agenda. As such, I plan to reintroduce many legislative priorities in the 114th Congress that will cover various issues.

First, I will reintroduce the CARE for Tourette Syndrome Act. This legislation would assist individuals and their families living with Tourette syndrome, as well as expand and further coordinate efforts towards research for Tourette syndrome at the National Institutes of Health. Through expanded and collaborative research, we can learn more about the cause and treatment of the disorder to help improve the lives of those individuals, particularly children, impacted by Tourette syndrome.

Each year, millions of people in the developing world die of infectious diseases, malnutrition, and complications of pregnancy and childbirth. To improve the United States’ leadership in global health care, we must consider legislation to promote the development of affordable, culturally appropriate, and easy-to-use health technologies. The 21st Century Global Health Technology Act would help to address health care needs around the world and reduce the threat of pandemic diseases.

I will also reintroduce the Community Parks Revitalization Act, which would provide matching funds and institute a new loan program to assist our communities in developing or redeveloping parks and recreational facilities. This legislation would not only stimulate our local economic development, but would also help to fix our crumbling infrastructure as well as improve public health and recreational opportunities for children and adults.

Finally, the New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act would create a new tool for communities to finance much-needed bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure without adding any spending to the deficit. With more bicycle users on the road, we must consider the growing role of bicyclists and pedestrians in sustainable transportation networks.

In the 114th Congress, Democrats and Republicans must come together to work on comprehensive immigration reform, responsible fiscal spending, job creation, expanding middle-class opportunities, and development in transportation and infrastructure. We must not waste time and taxpayer dollars on partisan legislation when there are significant opportunities for both parties to work together to achieve real results on the issues that matter most.

Thank you for taking the time to read this legislative update as we head into the 114th Congress. I provide regular updates on the work being done through my website and social media sites, and will continue to work on your behalf during my time in Congress. Please stay in touch by visiting my Facebook, Twitter, and website.