Washington Review, January 4, 2019
This week, the 116th Congress opened session in Washington, D.C., marking a return of control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats. The first order of business was to end the partial government shutdown and provide stability for hundreds of thousands of federal employees. A number of other legislative issues were addressed and I was proud to swear-in a former legislative aide to the Morris Township Committee.
On Wednesday, as the new Congress began, I voted in favor of a legislative package that would end the partial shutdown and completely reopen the federal government. The first bill, H.J.Res. 1, would authorize funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), without money for a southern border wall, through February 8, 2019 and passed by a vote of 239 – 192. The second bill, H.R. 21, would fully fund the remaining agencies through the entirety of fiscal year (FY) 2019 and passed by a vote of 241 – 190. Both bills now await a vote before the Senate.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees have had their lives disrupted since before the holidays. American businesses need the stability of a functioning federal government to continue growing our economy. It is unacceptable to welcome more chaos when the country needs a fully open federal government. The Senate unanimously passed a clean continuing resolution just two weeks ago and I call on my Senate colleagues to pass this legislative package for the country.
My bill from the 115th Congress, the Global Health Innovation Act of 2017, was signed into law by the President on January 3, 2019. Increased transparency, oversight, and alignment with modern technology for programs at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will increase the effectiveness of our foreign policy and investment in global health. Research and development programs covered by this bill bring us closer to an AIDS-free generation, an end to preventable maternal and childhood deaths, and cures for lethal global epidemics.
A bill I am proud to be an original cosponsor for, H.R. 141, the Social Security Fairness Act, was officially introduced in the 116th Congress by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL). This bipartisan legislation eliminates the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) to protect the benefits earned by government employees. Our teachers, firefighters, police officers, and others who have dedicated their careers to public service do not deserve increased burdens on their eventual retirement.
With the new year arrives new opportunity for dedicated service to our communities – a chance to improve the daily lives of our friends and families. I was proud to be sworn in for the 116th Congress by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and represent the 8th District of New Jersey. It is my privilege to serve you in Washington, D.C. and fight for the future of our community.
I also had the honor of swearing in Mark Gyorfy, a former Legislative Assistant in my Washington, D.C. office, to his new position on the Morris Township Committee. Mark worked tirelessly on legislation to help veterans, small businesses, and the homeless in the 8th District. He always put the needs of New Jerseyans first and I know he will be a passionate public servant for his hometown.
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.