Washington Review, October 5, 2015
Representing the 8th District in Washington last week, I completed Foreign Affairs Committee work, met with several constituent groups, and cast important votes.
Last week, a delegation from the Chilean Parliament visited to meet with members of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. During this meeting, which I co-hosted, members of the Subcommittee and the delegation discussed bilateral relations and how to bring about greater regional cooperation in Latin America.
I also met with individuals from Greece who visited to brief me on the current migrant crisis in their country. Europe is currently experiencing its most challenging migration and refugee crisis since World War II. The recent surge of refugees and migrants in Greece has been overwhelming. During our meeting, we examined steps that the U.S. can take to support our partners in Europe.
The Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats held a hearing last week to assess the threat of Islamic extremism in Russia and cooperation between the U.S. and Russia. In recent weeks, Russia's strategy to combat Islamic extremism has materialized into a clear effort to contradict U.S. diplomatic goals in Syria and to support the struggling Syrian regime. During this hearing, the Subcommittee heard testimony from a panel of experts who explained how recent developments in the region may impact U.S. foreign policy.
Several groups who represent residents of the 8th District met with me last week. The New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers (NJ CAR) visited to inform me of the issues affecting their members. Founded in 1918, NJ CAR serves franchised new car and truck retailers throughout the Garden State. Also visiting last week were representatives of the American Cancer Society. During our meeting, we talked about the importance of protecting crucial cancer research funding at the National Institutes of Health.
Finally, last week I voted in favor of the continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government open. I am committed to preventing another government shutdown. As we learned in October of 2013, government shutdowns disrupt the economy, cost billions of dollars in lost output, and prevent the America people from accessing important services. This short-term CR funds the government through December 11th of this year and provides important authorization for programs such as the Small Business Loan Guarantee program and security programs within the Department of Homeland Security.
While it is crucial to keep the government open, Congress has a responsibility to pass long-term funding measures rather than short-term patches. I believe it is irresponsible to govern deadline-to-deadline. Congress has the ability to incite investment, create jobs, provide stability, and restore confidence. It is my hope that the House of Representatives will be able to come together in a bipartisan manner to develop a long-term solution to funding our federal programs before the December deadline.