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Washington Review, December 18, 2015

Dec 18, 2015
Washington Review

This week in Washington, I voted on important legislation including the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill to fund the government.

Featured Legislation

This week, H.Res. 536, a resolution I introduced condemning attacks on freedom of the press in the Western Hemisphere, passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 399 to 2.  This bipartisan resolution calls attention to the increasing deterioration of press freedoms in Latin America and the Caribbean.  It condemns violence against journalists, bloggers, and individuals exercising their right to freedom of speech.  H.Res. 536 urges countries in the region to implement the recommendations made by the Organization of American States, Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, and urges the United States Agency for International Development and the Department of State to assist the media in closed societies to promote an open and free press.  I am eager to continue working with my colleagues to preserve values that are key foundations of any democracy as we continue to engage with our neighbors in the Western Hemisphere.

Legislation I introduced earlier this year, H.R. 2241, the Global Innovation Act, was unanimously passed in the House of Representatives by a voice vote.  Every year, millions of people in developing countries die from preventable causes such as infectious disease, malnutrition, and complications of pregnancy and childbirth. This legislation seeks to improve the United States’ leadership in global health by promoting the development of health products that are affordable, culturally appropriate, and easy to use in low-resource health systems.  The Global Health Innovation Act directs the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to submit a report on the development and use of global health innovations to Congress.  This report will help ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently and effectively in USAID programs, projects, and research by providing the oversight needed to clarify USAID’s health research and development program.  I am proud to sponsor this bipartisan legislation and look forward to H.R. 2241 being brought before the Senate for consideration.

Funding the Government

Finally, I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives and voted to adopt the fiscal year (FY) 2016 Omnibus Appropriations bill which passed by a vote of 316 to 113.  It was later passed by the Senate and now awaits President Obama’s signature.  While imperfect, this bill will bring stability to middle class families and prevent another unnecessary and costly government shutdown. I am particularly pleased that the omnibus reauthorizes the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, providing services and support for the victims and families of 9/11.  Furthermore, the bill increases funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and programs that many American families benefit from, including the Child Care Development Block Grant and Head Start.  As we enter into the New Year I hope that Republicans and Democrats can continue working together to pass timely legislation that provides stability and benefits our economy.   

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