Washington Review, September 30, 2019
Last week in Washington, I met with local leaders in education, supported an impeachment inquiry and drew attention in Congress to our local transportation issues. I held a hearing on the Administration’s disastrous cuts to Latin America and attended a House Foreign Affairs Committee on our country’s relationship with the Indo-Pacific region.
On Tuesday, I called for the House of Representatives to move forward with an impeachment inquiry into the actions of President Trump. I do not take this responsibility lightly and have closely monitored the investigations undertaken by various House Committees based on the Mueller report. Taken with the President’s alleged conduct in the whistleblower’s report, it is apparent that the House of Representatives must uphold its duty in our system of checks and balances. Any instance of intimidation or abuse of executive power cannot be accepted. Any instance of threatening our national security for political gain cannot be accepted. It is our duty to ensure the conduct of our public office holders does not undermine the integrity of our democracy.
On Thursday, I discussed the current state of our school systems with the Board of Directors from the New Jersey branch of the National Education Association. Federal legislation must continually consider the input of stakeholders to create the most successful environment for our children to learn. Our country’s future depends on a public school system that empowers every child to reach their full potential.
Communities across America are united by a desperate need for infrastructure investment. Our problems vary by region, but we all suffer from the same startling lack of urgency by Congress to address the pending crisis. I spoke at the House Budget Committee’s hearing on Wednesday about on of the most pressing infrastructure needs: the Gateway Project, including the Hudson River Tunnels and Portal North Bridge. New Jersey has already committed $620 million to the Portal Bridge project and we need our federal government to step up too. I will continue to impart the urgency of these projects on my colleagues, experts, and stakeholders every opportunity I have in Washington.
On Thursday, I recognized Jersey City native, former Representative Frank Guarini on the House Floor. A former naval officer, state senator, Representative to the General Assembly of the United Nations, and member of the House of Representatives, Frank Guarini is a dedicated public servant who was a driven advocate for our community on numerous issues, including education. Since retiring, he has been a champion for St. Peter’s University, New Jersey City University, and other educational institutions in the 8th District. Thank you, Frank Guarini, for your generosity and passion for your hometown.
On September 23rd, I welcomed Colombian President Ivan Duque to Elizabeth, New Jersey to celebrate the accomplishments of Colombian-Americans in our district. This vibrant community has been essential to the economic success of the 8th District and has helped further strengthen the relationship between the United States and Colombia.
The Trump Administration’s $400 million cut in assistance to Central America undermines our ability to successfully engage in the region. On Wednesday, I chaired a Western Hemisphere Subcommittee hearing to draw attention to this disastrous policy and press for the restoration of these funds. These cuts hamper our ability to effectively address the root causes of migration.
Later that day, I joined Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) to welcome members of the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce to Washington. I spoke about the importance of diplomatic and economic engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean.
On Thursday, I attended a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Natural Resources Committee. My colleagues and I focused on the mutual security and economic interests our country shares with nations in the Indo-Pacific region.
On Friday, I convened a meeting with a delegation of political and social leaders from Nicaragua and my colleagues, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL). We reiterated our support for Nicaraguans’ efforts to restore democracy in their country and called on President Daniel Ortega to cease his repression against peaceful protesters and the political opposition.