Washington/District Review, May 30, 2014
This week in Washington and New Jersey, I had a series of meetings with constituents, spoke on the Floor of the House, attended a Foreign Affairs Committee markup session, and voted on legislation.
Earlier in the week in New Jersey, I enjoyed celebrating the retirement of my good friend Susan Mearns, the Hudson County Division Chief of Housing and Community Development. While I was there I had the opportunity to speak with the new Hudson County Director of Health and Human Services, Darice Toon, regarding my legislation, the “New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act.” I look forward to working with Darice in the future and wish Susan all the best in her retirement.
I also attended the West New York Memorial Day Parade with my constituents to honor our service men and women, past and present, who work to protect our freedom every day. On this day, I was humbled to remember those in our armed forces who have died while serving our country.
I then had the opportunity to meet HG Bishop Benyamin and Father Tawadros of the Coptic Diocese of Monousia, who were visiting from Egypt.
Back in Washington, I participated in a Foreign Affairs Committee markup session regarding three important pieces of legislation. First, we discussed H.R. 1771, the North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Act of 2013, of which I am a cosponsor. This bill would authorize the President to impose targeted sanctions on those worldwide who directly assist North Korea in WMD, arms trafficking, money laundering, or human rights abuses. We then evaluated H.R. 4449, the Human Trafficking Prevention Act, which would require enhanced training for various federal government personnel related to human trafficking. Lastly, we deliberated over H.Res. 600, a resolution urging the Afghan government to pursue a transparent, credible, and inclusive run-off presidential election on June 14, 2014, while ensuring the safety of voters, candidates, poll workers, and election observers. I am hopeful that these important pieces of legislation will soon be brought to the Floor for a vote.
I also met with members of the National Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) this week. We discussed the Safe Skies Act (H.R. 182) and the Saracini Aviation Safety Act (H.R. 1775). I am a strong supporter of both of these pieces of legislation to improve airline safety. We also discussed the Norwegian Air International’s application for exemption authority and a foreign air carrier permit from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). In applying for this permit, Norwegian is seeking to evade labor laws and circumvent international labor agreements, thus harming fair wages and working conditions and putting U.S. carriers at a competitive disadvantage. As such, I have written to DOT Secretary Foxx, urging him not to grant the permit.
I then spoke on the House Floor in order to thank the Capitol Visitors Center staff for their hard work during this popular tourist season at the U.S. Capitol. I know many of my constituents from New Jersey’s 8th District have visited Washington, DC over the past few months and I certainly appreciate the work of the Capitol Visitors Center staff to help make their visits more enjoyable and informative. You can watch my entire speech here and find more information about visiting Washington, DC here.
Lastly, I voted in favor of H.R. 4681, the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 and FY 2015, which passed in the House by a vote of 345-59. This bipartisan bill includes provisions to ensure that U.S. intelligence professionals have the resources, capabilities, and authorities necessary to keep our country and our allies safe. Specifically, it provides policy guidance and authorizes classified funding levels for various components of the Intelligence Community, including the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.