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Washington Review, June 9, 2017

Jun 9, 2017
Washington Review

While in Washington this week, I discussed the need for ongoing transparency in the Russia investigation, attended a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing on energy opportunities in North America, participated in a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Federal Aviation Administration authorization, and held a number of meetings.

Russia Investigation

On Thursday, former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding his conversations with President Trump about the ongoing FBI investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Mr. Comey’s testimony was a critical step in getting all the facts out in the open, as I discussed with CNN en Español. It is crucial that Americans have ongoing transparency in the investigation, and Mr. Comey’s testimony on Thursday underscores the urgent need for an independent investigation into potential collusion with the Russian government.  I support special prosecutor Robert Mueller as he directs this critical investigation to get the American people the truth they deserve. I urge for continued cooperation with the appropriate Committees and the special prosecutor as the investigation progresses.

Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Hearing

On Wednesday, I attended a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing that examined the relationship, prospective opportunities, and upcoming challenges in energy cooperation between the United States, Mexico, and Canada. I questioned the experts on how the United States can partner with our neighbors to ensure that the increased energy integration between our countries is beneficial to all parties involved. It is in the interest of both the United States and the entire region to work cooperatively towards continued investment in clean and renewable energy opportunities.

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Hearing

On Thursday, I participated in a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, which  examined the authorization of the FAA and President Trump’s plan to privatize the air traffic control (ATC) system.  I asked Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao how privatizing the ATC would affect the hardworking air traffic controllers such as those in New Jersey’s 8th District.


Earlier this week, I spoke with Dean Lucas from Montclair State University’s College of Education, to discuss the importance of teacher education programs in developing quality educators. It is important that state and local school systems have the resources they need to continue to attract, recruit, and retain talented teachers who are molding the generation of the future.

Featured Legislation

At the beginning of this week, the House of Representatives voted on resolutions condemning the violence against protestors outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence, condemning the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, United Kingdom, and on legislation providing emergency relief for victims of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which all passed the House of Representatives unanimously.

On May 16, 2017, pro-Erdogan supporters and Turkish embassy personnel clashed with peaceful protestors outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador. H.Res. 354, introduced by Rep. Edward Royce (R-CA), expressed the House of Representative’s condemnation of these clashes, and called for those Turkish security officials involved to be held accountable. Additionally, H.Res.355, introduced by Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), expressed the House’s condemnation of the terrorist attacks that occurred in Manchester, UK on May 22, 2017 and in London, UK on June 3, 2017 and reaffirms America’s support for its partnership with the United Kingdom.

Additionally, it is well documented that ISIS continues to victimize civilians, particularly targeting communities that are religious and ethnic minorities. H.R. 390, the Iraq and Syria Genocide Emergency Relief and Accountability Act, was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), to provide financial assistance to entities who are promoting accountability against crimes committed against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria.

On Thursday, the House also voted on H.R. 10, the Financial CHOICE Act. This legislation, introduced by Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), would repeal portions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and the Consumer Protection Act which was put in place to prevent the risky financial practices that led to the 2008 financial crisis. H.R. 10 would reduce consumer protections and weaken regulatory institutions, such as eliminating the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and reducing the efficacy of the Securities and Exchange Commission. I voted against the Financial CHOICE Act because I believe it gives Wall Street too much leeway and puts American consumers at risk. The American people cannot afford another financial crisis, and it is important that the institutions established to protect taxpayers and investors can effectively do their job.  Unfortunately, H.R. 10 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 223 to 186 and awaits further action in the Senate.

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