Washington Review, May 11, 2018
While in Washington this week, I listened to experts discuss the Iranian challenge at a Foreign Affairs hearing, and considered several bills related to security assistance and countering foreign propaganda. Additionally, I met with groups from the 8th District and national organizations and reacted to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran Deal.
At a Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing on Tuesday, I questioned the experts about the challenges to quickly implementing sanctions against Iran and how the U.S. can streamline this process. The experts testified as to the current benefits and challenges of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and what decertification of the deal would mean for the safety of the United States and our allies around the world.
On Wednesday, the Foreign Affairs Committee considered a number of bills for markup relating to global development, international security assistance, countering foreign propaganda, and continued support to Israel. One of the bills considered was H.R. 4151, the U.S.-Israel Security Assistance Authorization Act of 2018, which would authorize U.S. security assistance to Israel through 2023 and advance bilateral coordination on issues such as cybersecurity. Additionally, the Committee marked up H.R. 5681, the Global Engagement Center Authorities Act. This bill would enhance the mission of the Global Engagement Center (GEC) to counter terrorist and foreign state propaganda, such as the efforts by Russia during the 2016 Presidential election cycle. All the bills under review this week passed out of Committee and now await further action on the House Floor.
Every week that Congress is in session, I like to meet with groups from the District, and around the country. It is important for me as a Congressman to represent the interests of constituents in my District, while also hearing multiple perspectives on critical issues. In my capacity as a Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Ranking Member of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, I also meet with world leaders and representatives of international groups in order to support Congress’ oversight and diplomatic roles. This oversight role is important for protecting American lives and ensuring that U.S. taxpayer dollars are being used effectively.
Earlier this week, I met with members of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies to discuss the changing landscape of the property insurance industry. Later, I spoke with residents of the 8th District and members of the Anti-Defamation League about the prevalence of hate crimes in our country and best practices for defending the vulnerable.
Additionally, I welcomed members of AIPAC to the office to voice my continued support for our strategic ally Israel, and discuss the importance of our strong bilateral relationship.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association also met with me to discuss the important work of the Legal Services Corporation and the need for immigration reform. In the afternoon, I met Timothy McDonough, a representative of the NY Jets.
I was pleased to welcome faculty from the Stevens Institute of Technology to learn more about their research and discuss the importance of continued federal investment in science research and the National Science Foundation. In the afternoon, I met with Sir Kim Darroch, British Ambassador to the United States and Mr. Vijay Rangaran, British Ambassador to Brazil. We discussed U.S and U.K. relations throughout the Western Hemisphere, the ongoing humanitarian and political crisis in Venezuela, and President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran Nuclear Agreement.
Finally, I welcomed Donna Alexander, from the Urban League of Union County, to discuss their work in our communities to promote economic empowerment, educational opportunities, and guarantee civil rights.
This week, President Trump announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran Nuclear Agreement. This short-sighted decision coupled with a lack of a comprehensive strategy to counter Iran’s malign activities around the world is a mistake. I have been a strong proponent for finding peaceful ways to curb Iran’s nuclear program and, while I was deeply skeptical that the JCPOA was sufficient to prevent Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon, I believe that all parties should do everything possible to strictly enforce this agreement. We must do everything we can to prevent rogue regimes like Iran from posing a greater threat to our allies.
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.