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Congressman Albio Sires

Representing the 8th District of New Jersey

Washington Review, June 24, 2019

Jun 24, 2019
Washington Review

Last week in Washington, the House passed the first appropriation bills for fiscal year (FY) 2020 to provide a secure, prosperous future for the American people. I convened with all three committees I sit on to tackle issues ranging from transit workforce safety to the current state of poverty in America.

Legislation

Last week, I voted in favor of passage of H.R. 2740, the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Defense, State and Foreign Operations, Energy and Water Appropriations Act, 2020. This bill included an increase to $24.9 billion for Federal student aid programs, a 3.1% military pay raise, $2.65 billion for clean and secure energy, and a ban on any funds being made available for a Southern border wall. H.R. 2740 passed the House by a vote of 226-203 and now awaits consideration by the Senate.

Also this week, the House began consideration of H.R. 3055, an appropriations package for the Departments of Justice, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Interior, and more.

Transportation

On Thursday, I attended a Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials hearing focused on the workforce in the rail industry. The men and women working to keep our transit system safe deserve a swift, thorough review of current safety measures. We also discussed updates on the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) and any changes to the current size of the Amtrak Police force. 

Budget

The House Committee on the Budget convened on Tuesday to hold a hearing on the current state of poverty in America and policy solutions to address economic inequality. Over 40 million Americans, and nearly 1 in 5 children, currently live in poverty. I This number does not consider the current reality for a family that may be enduring hardships but doesn’t fall below the official poverty line. The National Center for Children in Poverty estimates a family requires an income of twice the poverty level to support their needs. I remain committed to programs like Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and more.

Foreign Affairs

On Wednesday, I met with the José Tomás Pérez, Ambassador from the Dominican Republic, to speak about the concerning recent deaths of American tourists. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) joined me to ensure Americans traveling abroad are safe and to continue dialogue with our partner the Dominican Republic.  The next day, I attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on a number of bills to fight for global human rights, from addressing the violence of the Rohingya genocide to the rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world. Included was H.Res. 441, introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), which condemned the attack on the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in July 1994. It is unacceptable that 25 years later there has still been no accountability for this attack. Later, I then met with Assistant Administrator of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) John Barsa to speak about continued engagement in Latin America.

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 FacebookTwitter, and website.