Washington Review, March 18, 2019
Last week in Washington, my Democratic colleagues and I supported the introduction of two bills that are priorities for our majority in the House of Representatives. I voted in support of the public release of the Mueller report and attended hearings on the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget proposal. Additionally, I met with North Hudson Firefighters, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, and the Ambassador from the Dominican Republic.
This week, I voted in favor of H.Con.Res.24, introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), which reiterates the right Americans have to public release of the Mueller report. Americans deserve to know the conclusions reached by the Special Counsel and understand to what extent foreign entities acted to influence the 2016 election.
I was proud to be an original cosponsor of two cornerstone pieces of legislation in the 116th Congress that were introduced last week. H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act, introduced by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), would grant conditional permanent resident status for those enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as well as establish the requirements for a pathway to citizenship. Additionally, I was an original cosponsor of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, introduced by Rep. David Ciccilline (D-RI). This legislation would enshrine comprehensive federal protections for the civil rights of the LGBTQ community – protecting them from discrimination nationwide. These two bills are important steps in the promises our Democratic majority made to the American people.
Last Monday, President Trump released his request to Congress for the fiscal year (FY) 2020 federal government budget. That evening, I met with my Democratic colleagues on the House Committee on the Budget to review these plans and, unfortunately, was left incredibly disappointed in the Administration’s vision. The President’s budget proposal completely disregarded the priorities we have communicated during his Administration and launched more draconian cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, housing programs, and infrastructure. This budget is clearly not a blueprint for a prosperous America.
The next day, the full Committee on the Budget convened to question the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russ Vought, on the Administration’s plan. I questioned Director Vought on his agency’s plans to gut Medicare and Medicaid and the proposal to completely eliminate critical Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) – funds that were critical to our community when I served as Mayor of West New York. I was disappointed in his answers and, as Congress begins the appropriations process, will fight for the priorities of our community.
On Wednesday, I also attended a Subcommittee on Highways & Transit Subcommittee hearing on approaches to implementing surface transportation infrastructure for the 21st century. Every few years, Congress has the responsibility to review and reauthorize critical federal programs that finance road upgrades, bridge repairs, and rail rehabilitation for our cities and states. The Transportation & Infrastructure Committee is responsible for creating the first version of this reauthorization bill and I will be working with my colleagues to support bold investments for the future of New Jersey and the rest of our country.
On Tuesday, I met with Ralph Rossa, President of PSE&G, to discuss the outlook of renewable energy for our community. Later that day, I met with members of the Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey to thank them for their service and understand how I can support them through my work in Congress. Additionally, I sat down with Charles Richman, Executive Director of the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency to receive updates on affordable housing projects and legislative priorities in the new Congress for our state.
I met with José Tomás Pérez, Ambassador from the Dominican Republic, on Tuesday to discuss ways to strengthen bilateral relations and increase awareness of issues facing the Caribbean region. On Thursday, I attended a House Committee on Foreign Affairs markup addressing the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, reducing European dependency on Russian energy, and increasing our defenses against Russian influence.
I then sat down on Thursday with Mayor Lin Yu-Chang of Keelung City to emphasize the importance of accurate news reporting in Taiwan and discuss the U.S.-Taiwan relationship 40 years after the Taiwan Relations Act was signed into law.
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.