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Washington Review, November 21, 2014

Nov 21, 2014
Washington Review

Over the past two weeks in Washington, I participated in a subcommittee hearing and committee markup session for several important pieces of legislation, spoke with airline pilots about the aviation industry, reflected on the importance of Veterans Day, and attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Bayonne Fire Department’s new firehouse.

Last week our nation celebrated Veterans Day to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve. Just as the military pledges to leave no soldier behind on the battlefield, we will leave no veteran behind when they return home. You can read my full statement on Veterans Day here.

It was a pleasure to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Bayonne Fire Department’s new fire house. This state-of-the-art facility, funded by a $3.5 million federal grant, will give the City of Bayonne the financial means to increase the capabilities of Bayonne’s fire department and to protect communities and local residents from fire hazards. I supported Bayonne’s application for this grant and was honored to attend this ceremony.

This week in Washington, I participated in a Foreign Affairs Committee markup session for several very important bills, including the Paul Simon Water for the World Act (H.R. 2901), of which I am a cosponsor. This bill would improve water development programs and support safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives around the globe. We also discussed a bill that would prohibit the United States from recognizing the Russian annexation of Crimea (H.R. 5241), of which I am also a cosponsor, as well as the Ebola Emergency Response Act (H.R. 5710), which would provide for U.S. as well as U.N. coordination and assistance in Africa in managing the Ebola outbreak. Hopefully, these pieces of legislation will be brought before the full House of Representatives for a vote soon.

As the Ranking Member, I also participated in the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere hearing on the unaccompanied child migrants crossing the U.S. border from the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. More than 68,500 unaccompanied minors were taken into custody between October 2013 and September 2014, and this spike has strained U.S. government resources, created a complex crisis with humanitarian implications, and raised concerns about the safety and protection of the children. It was encouraging to hear from officials within the State Department, USAID, and the Inter-American Foundation on the status of these children and how we are managing this crisis.

Finally, I was pleased to speak with the Airline Pilots Association this week on the importance of maintaining a strong U.S. aviation workforce. New Jersey is home to three commercial airports that employ thousands of employees from the 8th Congressional District. The Norwegian Air International’s foreign air carrier permit exception application would threaten U.S. domestic airlines by putting them at a competitive disadvantage. As such, I will continue to promote U.S. aviation workers, the rule of law, and policies that make sense and support good jobs.

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