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Washington Review, November 6, 2015

Nov 6, 2015
Washington Review

Representing the 8th District in Washington this week, I voted on important legislation, completed Foreign Affairs Committee work, and met with students from the District.

Featured Legislation

Earlier this year, I introduced H.R. 2241, the Global Health Innovation Act. This bill would improve the United States’ leadership in global health care and promote the development of health products that are affordable, culturally appropriate, and easy to use in low-resource health systems.

This week, the Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed H.R. 2241. This legislation would provide the oversight needed to gain a clearer picture of United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) global health research and development. Over the years, research and development projects have greatly expanded at USAID, which search for advancements towards an HIV and AIDS-free generation, preventable maternal and childhood deaths, and preventable infectious diseases. My legislation would support the development of much needed health technologies such as safe injection devices, rapid diagnostics for diseases, technologies for safe delivery, and other innovative health solutions. I am proud to sponsor this legislation and grateful for the support of my colleagues in passing the bill in committee. I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring H.R. 2241 to the House Floor for a vote.

Additionally, this week the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3763, the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform (STRR) Act of 2015 with language from my Commute Leveraging Employer Suggestions and Successes (LESS) Act. The inclusion of this language in the transportation bill will expand transportation options for commuters in New Jersey and across the country and encourage employers to create and expand commuter benefit programs.

While I am pleased that this bill includes Commute LESS provisions in addition to authorizing highway, bridge, transportation safety, and public transit projects for six years, I am concerned with language that would threaten crucial transit funds for New Jersey. With a last-minute amendment attached to the House bill, New Jersey and its neighboring states are at risk of losing critical funding that invests in our urban transit systems. Our Nation and our region’s transportation infrastructure are in dire need of investment, but the funding levels authorized in this bill are not adequate to address these needs. Investing in our transportation infrastructure creates jobs, boosts our economy, and enhances our quality of life, and I look forward to addressing these important issues with members of the House of Representatives and Senate as an appointed member of the Highway Bill Conference Committee.

Foreign Affairs

Continuing my work on the Foreign Affairs Committee this week, I participated in a Subcommittee hearing and met with students from the 8th District. The Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, held a hearing this week to assess the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe. This surge of migrants and refugees has significantly challenged and divided European countries and the European Union. In addition to the Administration’s announcement to accept Syrian refugees, I believe we can draw from our own experiences and challenges regarding border security and provide assistance and increased coordination to our European allies to help them cope with the number of migrants and refugees.

This week, it was a pleasure meeting with two students who go to school in Elizabeth during their visit to Washington, DC to attend the Schusterman Advocacy Institute High School Summit. They gave their insight on security assistance to Israel and expressed their opinions on the nuclear agreement with Iran. I wish both students the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Special Events

I was honored to be recognized as a Champion of Healthcare Innovation by the Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC). HLC is a coalition comprised of representatives from all disciplines within the American healthcare system; they work to develop policies, plans, and programs. I received this distinction while attending the Healthcare Innovation Expo on Capitol Hill, where I learned about new technologies, techniques, and ideas that are at the forefront of medicine.

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