Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Albio Sires (8th District of New Jersey)
Last week, I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing several important pieces of legislation to address the Russian invasion of Ukraine, show U.S. support for democracies that border Ukraine, seize the assets of Russian oligarchs, address global malnutrition, foster natural disaster resiliency in the Caribbean basin, and assert Taiwan’s place as an observer member of the World Health Organization
Last week, the House passed several pieces of legislation to provide greater support to Ukraine, and hinder Putin’s illegal invasion of the country. I was proud to vote in support of S.3522, the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act, which enhances the authority of the President to lend or lease defense articles to Ukraine or governments of other Eastern European countries to defend their territory and civilian populations from Russia’s illegal invasion. This legislation passed by a large bipartisan majority in a 417-10 vote and will be sent to President Biden for review and enactment. The House also passed H.Res.833, a resolution expressing support for Moldova’s democracy, independence, and territorial integrity. As a border state to Ukraine, there have been reports that Russia is considering an invasion into Moldovan territory. This resolution, introduced by Rep. David Price (D-NC), emphasizes the United States’ support for Moldovan sovereignty and for strengthening US-Moldova relations.
To counter Russia’s ruthless war effort, I also joined my colleagues in passing H.R. 6930, the Asset Seizure for Ukraine Reconstruction Act, introduced by Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ). This bill would allow the U.S. government to seize the assets of corrupt Russian oligarchs and elites who support Putin’s war effort and use the funds to support the reconstruction of Ukraine. Images from Ukraine show the devastation that the invasion has caused to residential areas and cities. These funds will be essential to rebuilding normal life in Ukraine. In addition, H.R. 7311, the Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act, passed with my support in a 415-9 vote. Russia has repeatedly involved themselves in conflicts across the African continent in order to gain leverage in extracting the region’s natural resources, and ultimately fund their war effort. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) introduced this bill to direct the State Department to address this issue and create a united front in support of Ukraine. The bill also passed by a large bipartisan majority in a 415-9 vote to move on for consideration in the Senate.
I also voted pass legislation which further addresses Russian influence on global supply chains and international relations. H.R. 7372, the Protecting Semiconductor Supply Chain Materials from Authoritarians Act, introduced by Rep. Dina Titus (D-TX), would establish an interagency working group to consider the impact of Russia’s attack on Ukraine on the supply chains of several key materials, such as semiconductors. This working group would provide essential information which could help the U.S. become more resilient to global supply chain issues and the influence of authoritarian regimes on the global economy. H.R. 7372 passed in a nearly unanimous 414-9 vote.
I was also proud to vote in support of H.R. 4133, the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative Authorization Act, which was sent to the Senate after a 340-86 vote. This legislation, introduced by Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), would direct the State Department to address the need for disaster response and resilience in the Caribbean. As a close neighbor, it is critical that the U.S. work to support the safety and resilience of the Caribbean basin from natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes which can take a devastating toll.
As a co-chair of the House Taiwan Caucus, I was glad to support S. 812, a measure to support Taiwan’s observer status in the World Health Organization (WHO). Taiwan has been a close ally to the U.S. in the fight against COVID-19. While Taiwan’s engagement with WHO has faced increasing resistance from China, the United States must continue to support Taiwan to regain observer status. This legislation, introduced by Sen. Rob Menendez (D-NJ), would direct the Secretary of State to develop a strategy to regain observer status for Taiwan in the World Health Organization (WHO). This legislation passed the House unanimously and will be sent to President Biden for consideration.
Lastly, I voted for H.R. 4693, the Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act, to address the growing public health issue of malnutrition around the world. Especially for hard hit regions, such as Latin America, the pandemic has exacerbated extreme poverty and malnutrition. In order to fully recover globally, the US must take greater action to address global malnutrition. This legislation, introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), would empower the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to add greater resources to its Global Nutrition Coordination Plan, an interagency task force made to guide U.S. policy on global nutrition.
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