Washington Review, May 1, 2015
It was a busy week in New Jersey and in Washington with events in the 8th District, meetings with groups from New Jersey, and committee hearings.
Before traveling to Washington this week, I participated in a press conference with the West New York Housing Authority. The Housing Authority was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to participate in the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD). This program represents the future of housing rehabilitation; West New York is one of the first New Jersey towns to take advantage of this opportunity. This is an exciting initiative: it will ensure access to safe and affordable housing for many New Jersey families.
I also was honored to receive the 21st Annual Newark Councilman at Large Louis Quintana's Man of the Year award. I will continue to fight for the priorities that are important to Newark, including paving the way toward immigration reform along with making improvements to local police departments and health care facilities.
After arriving in Washington on Tuesday, I met with members of the Humane Society to receive the Humane Advocate award. This award is given to Members of Congress who demonstrate leadership on animal protection legislation. I will continue to stand up for animal rights and welfare as new legislation is introduced during the 114th Congress.
It was great meeting with the New Jersey AARP in Washington this week. Members from New Jersey visited to discuss the issues that are affecting retirees across the country. I continue to be a steadfast advocate for America’s retirees and the issues they care about; including retirement security, the health of Medicare, Social Security, and the high cost of prescription drugs.
Additionally, I met with Colonel Michael Underkofler from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst this week. Colonel Underkofler came to give a briefing on the 514th Mobility Wing stationed at the Joint Base. The 514th Air Mobility Wing is an associate reserve wing comprised of 24 subordinate units that support airlift, air refueling, and aeromedical evacuation missions using KC-10 Extender and C-17 Globemaster III aircrafts. It is always great to meet with our men and women in uniform who are stationed in the Garden State.
Later in the week, the House of Representatives held a joint session of Congress for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. I appreciated the Prime Minister’s condolences for the American lives lost during World War II. I look forward to working with Japan to foster cooperation between our two countries through my capacity as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
I also attended several Foreign Affairs Committee hearings this week. Earlier in the week, the Europe and Eurasia Subcommittee held a hearing on the status of the Balkans. Later in the week I participated in the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee’s hearing to examine the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2016 foreign aid budget request for Central America. Conditions in Central America and the effectiveness of the U.S. response to the migration crisis were among the topics discussed during this important hearing.
During the past few weeks in Washington, transportation has been a recurring, yet important topic; this week was no exception. First, I took part in a Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015. During this markup, I voted on key amendments that are critical to the funding of the Coast Guard. This bill will provide an effective level of funding for the Coast Guard to protect our waters for the next two fiscal years.
Later, New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner Jamie Fox visited to give a briefing on the state of New Jersey’s transportation infrastructure. Every day, New Jerseyans drive on roads in need of repair, pass over bridges that are structurally deficient, and travel through tunnels that are over a century old. I agree with Commissioner Fox that New Jersey, and the rest of the country, are in desperate need of a robust, long-term transportation funding solution. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Washington and in New Jersey to ensure that our federal and state governments are making infrastructure investments that are long overdue.