Washington Review, December 1, 2017
This week in Washington, I cosponsored a resolution mandating anti-sexual harassment training in the House, attended a Transportation and Infrastructure markup on bills related to disaster recovery and combating human trafficking, met with a former Venezuelan mayor, and met with members of JP Morgan Chase. I also cosponsored a resolution to retain the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction.
On Wednesday, the House voted on a resolution which I cosponsored, H.Res. 630. Introduced by Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), this resolution would mandate the yearly completion of anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training by all members and employees of the House of Representatives. Additionally, this resolution would require that all offices post the rights and protections afforded to House employees under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (CAA). There is no place for harassment or discrimination in Congress, and H.Res. 630 is a long overdue and good first step in creating a safe work environment and changing the culture in Congress. H.Res. 630 passed the House unanimously.
Earlier this week, I participated in a Transportation and Infrastructure full committee markup which examined several bills relating to disaster recovery and combatting human trafficking. First, H.R. 4460, the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2017, would reform disaster assistance by incentivizing pre-disaster mitigation and smarter building practices. Additionally, the Committee reviewed two bills seeking to combat human trafficking. H.R. 3814, the No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act, would make any individual who uses a commercial motor vehicle for the purpose of human trafficking to lose their qualification for operating such vehicles for life. The Committee also considered H.R. 3814, the Combating Human Trafficking in Commercial Vehicles Act. This bill would designate an official within the Department of Transportation to coordinate human trafficking prevention agencies across the Department and authorizes funding under existing programs to support the recognition, prevention, and reporting of human trafficking. All three bills passed the Committee, and now await further action on the House Floor.
This week, I also met with Mr. Antonio Ledezma, a former mayor of Caracas and political prisoner who has recently escaped from Venezuela after standing up to President Maduro. Mr. Ledezma has worked tirelessly to restore civil rights and democracy to Venezuela, and visited D.C. to update Congress on the rapidly deteriorating situation there. It is important that the United States support efforts to restore human rights to the Venezuelan people.
On Thursday, I met with New Jersey representatives of JP Morgan Chase to discuss the business’s operations and philanthropic efforts. They updated me on their programs to enhance workforce development in the 8th District.
Lastly, this week I cosponsored H.Res. 587, introduced by Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT). This resolution expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions are beneficial to Americans, and should remain intact. As it passed the House, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), would eliminate these critical deductions which nearly 41% of New Jersey residents claim. These eliminations would cause a proportion of New Jerseyans to see a sizable tax increase while the top 1% are given tax cuts. As I have said before, I cannot and will not support any proposal that jeopardizes so many of my constituents and American families. I hope that as Congress continues to consider tax reform, my colleagues will reconsider the harmful effects of eliminating SALT.