Washington Review, March 24, 2016
This week in Washington I held several meetings, attended a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing, and voted on important legislation.
This week, I met with the Mayor of Marañón Province in Peru, Anibal Valverde, to discuss the relationship between our two countries. We also reviewed a number of transportation and infrastructure issues that are important in his region and impact the entire country of Peru.
Next, I had the opportunity to welcome Dr. Esther Hess, the Executive Director of the Center for the Developing Mind, and Allen Samson to my office. They came by to discuss their work on autism spectrum disorder and Tourette syndrome (TS). TS is a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics. In the first session of the 114th Congress, I reintroduced the Collaborative Academic Research Efforts (CARE) for Tourette Syndrome Act (H.R. 619) with Senator Menendez, to expand and further coordinate efforts towards research for TS. This legislation would support research that can help to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by Tourette syndrome.
I also met with members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) from New Jersey, who were in Washington, DC for their annual national conference. We discussed the U.S.-Israel relationship and how recent events might affect the stability of the region.
Finally, I joined my colleague, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and met with representatives from the office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), to discuss unaccompanied children who are fleeing Central America. We had the opportunity to review the UNHCR’s work in the region and initiatives that are aimed at addressing the root cause of child migration from Central America, including high levels of poverty and violent crime, and low economic growth rates.
On Tuesday, I attended the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere’s hearing on potential terrorist threats posed by border security challenges in Latin America and the Caribbean. While the majority of those who are apprehended by border security come from countries in the Western Hemisphere and are seeking asylum in the United States, recently, authorities are increasingly apprehending individuals from outside the region at the U.S. - Mexico border. The United States is in a unique position to work with our neighbors in the region and help them create effective patrolling and screening processes that will increase regional security.
Finally, this week, I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass H.Res. 658, Condemning in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks in Brussels on March 22, 2016. These attacks are, unfortunately, another example of how militant extremists will stop at nothing to terrorize innocent civilians around the world. My condolences go out to the victims as well as their families and loved ones. We stand with our Belgian allies and remain committed to finding those who are responsible for these vicious attacks and bringing them to justice.