Washington Review, May 22, 2015
This week I attended several committee hearings and met with multiple groups from New Jersey. I also took time to take part in a USO project to send snacks to U.S. troops serving abroad.
Earlier in the week, I joined my colleagues on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in meeting with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Anthony Foxx. During this meeting, we discussed the GROW AMERICA Act, of which I am an original cosponsor. The GROW AMERICA Act includes a long-term surface transportation reauthorization bill that provides robust funding and sustainable solutions to our nation’s infrastructure crisis. This bill would benefit people in New Jersey and across the country.
Continuing Transportation and Infrastructure Committee work, I attended a hearing assessing the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) role in earthquake hazard preparedness, mitigation, response, and recovery. Later in the week, I attended a Committee markup and supported the General Service Administration (GSA) reform bill. This bill would increase accountability and oversight, streamline leasing programs, and enhance building security.
The Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats held a hearing this week to assess current U.S. – Hungarian relations. As a NATO ally, Hungary partners with the United States in promoting democracy and stability in the region and has also deployed troops to help fight ISIS. During the hearing, I asked several questions regarding Hungary’s energy strategy and how the United States can reduce Russia’s influence on their energy sector.
Several groups traveled from New Jersey this week to meet with me in Washington. Members of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) came to discuss current issues impacting the industry. During the meeting we discussed the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization, and the effects sequestration has had on the FAA. The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local #28 from Newark also visited this week. The Boilermakers primarily work in nuclear and fossil power plants, however they also work in shipyards, refineries and chemical plants. The group discussed EPA regulations and protecting American jobs.
Also visiting from the Garden State were members of both the New Jersey Rural Letter Carriers’ Association and the Jersey City Letter Carriers’ Association. During our meetings, we discussed the importance of preserving door-to-door delivery, six-day delivery, and reviving previous mail delivery standards. Our district has over 2,000 postal service employees and houses over 40 separate postal facilities. These employees work hard every day to deliver the mail we depend on and I will continue to be a strong advocate for them.
Students and deans from Dorman Honors College at NJIT in Newark visited during their trip this week to Capitol Hill. The goal of the group’s visit was to give technology students the experience of meeting with policy makers and to learn the legislative process. I am always excited to meet with students when they travel to Washington and enjoyed discussing important topics in education with them.
I was happy to help assemble healthy snack packs for our troops with colleagues at a USO event on Capitol Hill this week. The dedicated people of the USO do great work in supporting our troops and facilitating civilian involvement. I always look forward to taking part in USO’s events as a small way to give thanks to our brave men and women in uniform.
Recently, I had the privilege of accepting the U.S. Representative of the Year Award from the New Jersey Conference of Mayors. As a former mayor, I understand how valuable the members of the Conference of Mayors are in developing local, state, and federal policy. Continuing my work in Congress, I will keep using the perspectives of the Conference to work on policies that benefit New Jersey and the 8th District.