Washington Review, June 7, 2019
This week in Washington, the House of Representatives tackled long standing priorities of the Democratic majority including DACA, disaster relief, and the environment. I met with groups ranging from the Anti-Defamation League to the National Association of Home Builders to align my work with our community’s priorities. I also introduced legislation to push back against the Administration’s misguided approach to foreign policy and attended a hearing on human rights in China.
On September 5, 2017, the Trump Administration repealed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, throwing thousands of young people into a future of fear and uncertainty. Since then, we have fought for almost two years to protect our DREAMers, proud and successful Americans who are a part of our communities. On Tuesday, I voted in favor of the passage of H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, introduced by Rep. Roybal-Allard (D-CA), which includes a pathway to citizenship and protections for individuals under the DACA, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) programs. H.R. 6 passed by a vote of 237–187.
On Monday, the House considered H.R. 2157, a bill providing long overdue relief for communities impacted by natural disasters over the past two years. Included in this $19.1 billion package was $1.4 billion specifically set aside for Puerto Rico, $3 billion in payments to farmers for crop and livestock losses due to hurricanes, typhoons, floods, or wildfires, and extension of the National Flood Insurance Program through September 2019. Additionally, no funds in this bill could be designated for the construction of a border wall. H.R. 2157 passed the House by a vote of 354–58.
On Wednesday, the House unanimously passed legislation to address ocean acidification and help communities cope with its environmental impact. H.R. 1237, the COAST Research Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR). This bill reauthorizes the Federal Ocean Acidification Research and Monitoring (FOARAM) Act of 2009 to invest in coastal acidification research and establishes an independent Ocean Acidification Advisory Board. H.R. 1716, Coastal Communities Ocean Acidification Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Pingree (D-ME) directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct socioeconomic studies into the impacts of ocean acidification and utilize this research to help coastal communities across the United States.
H.R. 6, H.R. 2157, H.R. 1237, and H.R. 1716 now await consideration before the Senate.
This week, I met with the Anti-Defamation League to speak about the rise of anti-Semitism across the United States, the U.S.-Israel relationship, and their support for H.R. 6. I met with representatives of the New York Jets to discuss priorities for our community and stopped by the Cyprus and Hellenic Leadership Conference to emphasize my support for the Eastern Mediterranean partnership between the U.S., Israel, Cyprus, and Greece. I also met with the National Association of Home Builders to speak about the consequences of the SALT repeal that was included in the GOP tax bill and examine ways to address the affordable housing crisis.
On Monday, I introduced a bipartisan House Resolution along with Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) emphasizing the need for continuing engagement and support with the Northern Triangle countries in order to address the root causes of migration to the United States. On Friday, March 29, 2019, the State Department confirmed the suspension of approximately $450 million of funds that Congress had already appropriated for Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. I led a letter with Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) and over 101 other Members of Congress to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding he reverse the department’s decision. This resolution, H.Res.426, is another step towards pushing back against the Trump Administration’s misguided approach to immigration and our foreign partnerships.
Then, on Tuesday, I attended a Congressional Executive Commission on China hearing to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Tianamen Square. We spoke with experts on the current state of human rights in China, the country’s treatment of activists, and how Congress can best support the people of China against oppression. Later that day, I met with Argentina Senator Esteban Bullrich to receive updates on Argentina’s current political climate, the country’s response to the Venezuelan humanitarian and political crisis, and learn how we can continue to strengthen the U.S.-Argentina relationship.
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.