Washington Review, June 15, 2018
While in Washington this week, the House passed a number of opioid related bills, I attended a Foreign Affairs Hearing on democracy promotion, and held a number of meetings.
This week, the House considered a number of bipartisan opioid-related bills to address the growing opioid crisis in our country. While these bills make incremental progress on this urgent issue, the bills considered by the House this week are only the start to a larger conversation Congress will be having on real reforms to tackle the opioid epidemic that affects so many American families.
Among the bills considered was legislation that would strengthen the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) seizure powers and enhance its authority to stop illegally imported products. Additionally, other bills would require states to develop safe care plans for infants dependent on drugs and establish an interagency task force to promote a more coordinated approach among federal agencies responding to the opioid crisis. Finally, the House passed H.R. 5788, the STOP Act of 2018. This bill would require the U.S. Postal Service to collect advance electronic data (AED) on 100% of foreign mail in an effort to combat the illicit flow of synthetic drugs through international package shipments. All of these bills passed the House of Representatives, and now await further action in the Senate.
To examine democracies around the world that are under threat, the Foreign Affairs Committee invited experts to testify on the challenges facing global democracy promotion. According to democracy indexes, freedom has declined for the past twelve years with 71 countries suffering from “net declines in civil and political liberties”. It is imperative that the United States continue to support democratic reforms throughout the globe, particularly in the Western Hemisphere, to ensure that human rights are protected for all people.
Earlier this week, I met the President of Costa Rica, Mr. Carlos Alvarado, to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation and engagement between our two countries. I also met Ambassador Katrina Cooper, from Australia. We spoke about the importance of our bilateral relationship.
I welcomed representatives of the Airline Pilots Association visiting from the 8th District to discuss the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization legislation and ways that Congress may continue to address aviation safety.
Later, I welcomed members of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America to discuss recent developments in the Middle East and the importance of the U.S.-Israeli alliance as a stalwart against aggressive actions by Iran. Also, Mr. John Walters of the Hudson Institute visited me in Washington to discuss the importance of continued engagement with the Western Hemisphere to combat the flow of illicit narcotics throughout the region.
It was also my pleasure to meet a group of students visiting the United States from Hong Kong. We discussed my work here in Congress and the opportunities in our country for people from all backgrounds. We also discussed the important role journalists play around the world.
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