Washington Review, June 13, 2014
This week in Washington and New Jersey, I had a series of meetings with constituents, spoke on the Floor of the House, announced a grant for the city of Hoboken, and voted on legislation.
First and foremost, I am proud to announce that the city of Hoboken was one of six winners of the Rebuild by Design competition established by the U.S. Department of Urban Housing and Development and the Presidential Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, and will receive $230 million in awarded grant funding. The winning proposal titled “Resist, Delay, Store, Discharge: A Comprehensive Strategy for Hoboken,” will help to protect Hoboken and the surrounding parts of Weehawken and Jersey City from future flooding. These dense, urban communities along the Hudson River are increasingly vulnerable to coastal flooding as well as flash flooding. It is critical that we protect this area, which is a major economic driver for the state and includes critical infrastructure. This proposal will establish a comprehensive urban water management strategy for addressing flooding that could then be replicated in other urban areas. I wrote to Secretary Donovan in March of 2014 in strong support of this proposal to protect Hoboken, Weehawken, and Jersey City as part of the Rebuild by Design competition, and am pleased to see $230 million awarded to the region for disaster preparedness. You can read the entire press release here.
Earlier this week, I was pleased to meet with members of YWCA, the Young Women's Christian Association. We discussed immigration, gun violence issues, and H.R. 11, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), of which I am a cosponsor.
I also spoke on the Floor of the House in support of the continuation of the United States Postal Service six-day mail delivery service. The most recent proposal to pay for the Highway Trust Fund by reducing mail service is unprecedented and irresponsible. Not only would this proposal have a negative effect on the postal service’s standard of service, but it could result in the loss of over 80 thousand postal jobs, according to the National Association of Letter Carriers. Furthermore, it would take ten years to generate enough money to fund current highway spending for just one year by cutting six-day mail delivery. You can see the full speech here.
I later voted to support our veterans by joining my colleagues in passing H.R. 2072, the Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act of 2013. This legislation would give the VA Inspector General a new tool to assist the VA in identifying those responsible for fixing the medical claims and service backlog problem, and to hold those individuals accountable. H.R. 2072 was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on June 9, 2014.
Additionally, I voted against H.R. 4745, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015, which passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 229 to 192. While this legislation would provide a total of $105.5 billion for the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) departments, this proposal also includes significant and debilitating cuts to public transportation and housing programs, such as the TIGER Discretionary Grant program and Section 8 project-based rental assistance vouchers. The bill fails to make needed investments in critical infrastructure projects and does not provide sufficient support for critical housing programs for low-income families and the homeless. While this bill included many favorable provisions, I ultimately could not, in good conscious, vote in favor of legislation that does not promote economic growth, opportunity, and national security. We must address our transportation and housing needs with a bill that adequately funds the critical programs that many Americans depend on. You can read the entire press release here.