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Congressman Albio Sires

Representing the 8th District of New Jersey

Washington Review, May 22, 2018

May 22, 2018
Washington Review

Last week in Washington, the House passed a damaging Farm Bill, I introduced a resolution honoring victims of the Katyn Massacre, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee marked up several bills relating to the Peace Corps, anti-semitism, the massacre of Rohingya in Burma, and genocide. Additionally, I met with several groups from the District and around the country.

2018 Farm Bill

On Friday, the House voted on the disastrous Farm Bill, H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. Every five years, the Farm Bill presents an opportunity for Congress to work in a bipartisan manner to authorize programs and proposals that guarantee security and prosperity for farmers and consumers. Yet the GOP instead insists on crippling some of America’s most vulnerable communities by targeting nutrition assistance. Not only does this fail farmers by failing to adequately address farm programs in a turbulent farm economy, it goes after children, the elderly, veterans, and the disabled by cutting $23.3 billion in nutritional benefits. The loss in these benefits will in turn cause an estimated 1 million households to be kicked off the program and 265,000 children will lose access to free school meals.

This is not a farm bill, but rather a last-ditch effort for the GOP to weaken nutrition assistance. I will continue to fight for nutrition assistance programs and the critical benefits they provide to our communities, which is why I voted against the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill failed the House of Representatives by a vote of 198 to 213.

Katyn Massacre Resolution

Last week, I introduced a resolution with my colleague Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), to recognize the memorials and monuments of the Katyn Massacre as important historical reminders of the tragic incident which took the lives of an estimated 22,000 Polish prisoners of war under Joseph Stalin. Memorials of this tragedy, such as the one located in Jersey City, New Jersey, are stark reminders that these lives were not lost in vain and are irreplaceable monuments to the Polish community. Poland is a valued ally with nearly 10 million Americans claiming Polish ancestry, so it is vital that we contribute to the memory of such a historically significant event for not only Polish Americans, but many World War II veterans as well. H. Res. 893 is currently under consideration by the House Natural Resources Committee.

Foreign Affairs Markup

Last week, the House Foreign Affairs Committee considered several bills relating to genocide prevention, anti-semitism, and the Rohingya crisis in Burma. I am proud to be a cosponsor of three of these bills that were under review. I am a cosponsor of H.R. 1911, the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2017, which would create an Ambassador level position to combat anti-semitism. I am also a cosponsor of H.R. 3030, the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act, which would make preventing genocide and similar atrocities a component of U.S. national security. Furthermore, this bill would train Foreign Service Officers to recognize patterns and warning signs of mass atrocities. Lastly, I have cosponsored H.R. 5819, the BURMA Act. This bill would sanction the Burmese military and security forces related to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya. All of the bills reviewed in last week’s markup were reported favorably out of Committee and await further action on the House Floor.

Meetings

At the beginning of the week, I met with Mr. Jorge Casimiro, the President of the Nike Foundation, to discuss their foundation’s work to keep the children in our communities active, and healthy.

Later, I discussed the importance of America’s space program with Don Tuong, a Belleville constituent and student at Stevens Institute of Technology, and the Citizens for Space Exploration. As NASA aims to return humans to the moon and beyond, it is important that Congress continue to support our space program, which is why I sent appropriations requests for fiscal year (FY) 2019 requesting the necessary funding to meet the SKS/Orion EM-1 and EM-2 lauch schedules and funding for NASA’s National Space Grant Program.

Finally, I welcomed representatives of the Coalition for America’s Gateways and Trade Corridors to my Washington office. We talked about the importance of continued funding in freight transportation systems. I hope that Congress will work together to pass critical funding for our crumbling national infrastructure.

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 FacebookTwitter, and website.