Washington Review, April 16,2018
While in Washington last week, the Republicans introduced a hypocritical amendment to balance the budget which would have devastated the American economy. I also attended a Foreign Affairs Hearing on funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a Transportation and Infrastructure markup, and held a number of meetings.
After exploding the national deficit by passing a destructive tax bill that would devastate many middle class Americans, on Thursday the GOP tried to contain the fallout with a balanced budget amendment. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently updated their analysis on the GOP tax scam, citing that the tax bill’s giveaways to wealthy elite and corporations would skyrocket the deficit to nearly $2 trillion. In response, the GOP offered H.J.Res. 2, which would not only require that outlays equal revenue each year, but also would lead to drastic cuts in Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. Fortunately, the resolution failed to achieve the necessary 2/3 votes. I will continue to fight against policies and bills that harm the residents of New Jersey’s 8th District.
Earlier in the week, the Foreign Affairs Committee listened to testimony from Mr. Ray Washburne, the President and CEO of OPIC on the proposed reforms to the agency. I questioned Mr. Washburne on how OPIC has been able to assist in projects that rehabilitate some of the Caribbean island nations hit hardest by the hurricanes this year.
I also participated in a markup of several bills relating to extreme weather preparedness, the opioid crisis and economic development in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. One of these bills, H.R. 4177, the PREPARE Act, would create an Interagency Council charged with identifying and managing risks related to extreme weather events. H.R. 4177 and all the bills marked up in this week’s session were passed out of Committee and await further action on the House Floor.
At the beginning of the week, I met with lawyers from the New Jersey State Bar Association to discuss the importance of continued funding for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). LSC is the largest organization in the nation providing legal aid to individuals or communities below or near the poverty line. President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget proposes eliminating the critical services LSC provides to low income communities and it is important that Congress enable this organization to continue its important work.
Later, I met with members of the Wakefern food corporation and various New Jersey supermarket owners. We discussed how Congress can continue to support the New Jersey food industry.
I also met with New Jersey members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association to hear about the important work they are doing to combat the chaos, discrimination, and distrust sowed by this Administration’s dangerous immigration policies. I commended this group for their tremendous work helping individuals navigate the new policies and talked about how Congress can continue to fight back against unfair and prejudiced immigration policies.
Finally, I welcomed bishops form El Salvador’s Conference of Catholic Bishops to the office to hear about the continued challenges, violence, and poverty facing Salvadorans and the importance of Temporary Protected Status in El Salvador.
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.