Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith

NEW JERSEY's 4th DISTRICT

<span class ="kicker">***How to Protect Preligious Minorities in Iraq & Syria from Ongoing Atrocities***</span>The ISIS Genocide Declaration: What Next?

2016/05/26

The ongoing and grave threats continually faced by religious minorities in Iraq and Syria was the central focus at a Capitol hearing entitled “The ISIS Genocide Declaration: What Next?”

     Convened by U.S. Rep Chris Smith (NJ-04), chairman of a congressional panel that oversees global human rights, the hearing reviewed compelling testimony from expert witnesses who voiced safety concerns and a need to identify an enduring resolution for the displaced persons.  The chairman also stressed President Obama’s lack of action following a genocide declaration that the Administration, after much prodding, finally issued in March of this year.

     “In 2014 as ISIS moved north, taking more territory and conducting its genocidal campaign against Christians, Yezidis, and other religious minorities, it soon became clear that the Obama Administration had no comprehensive plan to prevent ISIS from continuing to commit genocide, mass atrocities, and war crimes, or to roll ISIS back,” said the senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

     “The world knew that ISIS was committing genocide,” asserted Smith. “Yet the Administration had still not acknowledged it and still had no strategy to prevent it.” After listing concerns about the Administration repeating mistakes even after its March, 2016 genocide determination, Smith emphasized that “there is no easy, single solution to the threats to religious and ethnic minorities, and other civilians, in Iraq and Syria. Complexity must never be an excuse for indifference and inaction.

     “Unless key issues that preceded the genocide are addressed, the genocide may be perpetrated again. I plan to introduce comprehensive legislation to help beleaguered religious minorities, in Iraq and Syria,” he said. Click here to read Smith’s statement.

     The subcommittee heard testimony from an array of expert witnesses, including Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, which supplied the 280-page report that documented the genocide of Christians and helped prompt the Administration’s genocide determination. Anderson testified that “the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II is unfolding now in the Middle East.” Yet, he said, there is “an unparalleled opportunity for the United States, and for all those opposed to ISIS’ radical vision–Muslims and non-Muslims alike–to advance an agenda of equality, justice, peace, and accountability in the region.” He proposed promoting the establishment of internationally agreed upon standards of human rights and religious freedom as conditions for humanitarian and military assistance as “a necessary first step to prevent genocide is to overcome the social and legal inequality that is its breeding ground.” Click here to read Anderson’s statement.

     Naomi Kikoler, Deputy Director, Simon Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, recently returned from Iraq and testified that if the label of genocide is truly going to have meaning for the victims of that crime, it is necessary to “secure justice and accountability for the victims.” She stressed that “to ensure the survival of these communities… civilian protection and the prevention of atrocities should be at the core of the strategy” of the U.S. government. Click here to read Kikoler’s statement.

     David Crane, Former Chief Prosecutor of the United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone, emphasized that “we can take realistic steps to start an accountability mechanism for the region, particularly as it relates to ISIS atrocity. If we have the political will we can establish a truth commission, a domestic court or an internationalized domestic court, and a hybrid regional court.” He noted that in March, the House overwhelmingly passed House Concurrent Resolution 121, authored by Smith, calling for “the establishment of a war crimes tribunal where these crimes could be addressed.” Click here to read Krane’s statement.

     Sarhang Hamasaeed, Senior Program Officer of Middle East and Africa Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace, testified that “the most certain way to protect and preserve the future of religious minorities in Iraq is to resolve the larger conflicts of Iraq and their international supporters. At their core, a resolution of these conflicts will require political processes and solutions, supplemented by security and economic measures. Such efforts require an active and leading role from the United States to facilitate peace processes and provide technical and resource assistance to implement agreements.” Click here to read Hamasaeed’s statement.

     Focusing on integration of refugees from religious minorities from Iraq and Syria after they are admitted to the United States, Johnny Oram, Executive Director of the Michigan-based Chaldean Assyrian Business Alliance, testified about how some educators in the U.S. “help kids adjust and integrate into American culture while maintaining their heritage in a meaningful way.” Click here to read Oram’s statement.

     This is the third hearing that Rep. Smith has held on the genocide. He co-chaired “Genocidal Attacks Against Christian and Other Religious Minorities in Syria and Iraq” (September 10, 2014) and chaired “Fulfilling the Humanitarian Imperative: Assisting Victims of ISIS Violence” (December 9, 2015). 

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Rep. Chris Smith, former chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs issued the following statement on the Faster Care for Veterans Act:

2016/05/26

“Today, I cosponsored bipartisan legislation that would force the VA to adopt already available technologies that allow veterans to self-schedule open slots at VA medical centers.  The Faster Care for Veterans Act will require the VA to implement a pilot program to test commercially available technologies for veterans to schedule and confirm medical appointments themselves. This bill is not a panacea that will eliminate the problems at the VA, but it will challenge the VA to innovate and reform the bureaucratic and cumbersome process that creates barriers for veterans seeking access to care.

Earlier this week, VA Secretary Bob McDonald made horribly insensitive and out-of-touch comments comparing wait time for veterans seeking an appointment to receive medical care to tourist waiting in line for Space Mountain: ‘The days to an appointment are really not what we should be measuring. What we should be measuring is a veterans’ satisfaction... When you go to Disney, do they measure the number of hours you wait in line?’

Wait times at the VA matter, Mr. Secretary—veterans have died waiting for appointments—and you need to do something about it.  

I have long argued that institutional reforms, real accountability, and a culture change are necessary for the VA to get back on track. But as these major reforms are fully implemented, there are simple steps that the VA can take to mitigate wait times.  

A 2008 report by the VA Inspector General estimated that 18 percent of outpatient appointment slots went unfilled due to no-shows or because facility personnel did not refill the cancelled appointments.   

As we continue to implement the systematic reforms contained in the broader Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, we should look toward solutions, like those envisioned in the Faster Care for Veterans Act, that will leverage existing technologies to help ensure veterans can see their doctors when they need to.

Veterans need healthcare; and they have earned the best quality care available and no administration official should make light of the current, unacceptable wait times." Read More

<span class ="kicker">***House Committee Finishes Work on Senate Foreign Policy bill***</span>Three Smith Amendments Approved and Advanced to House Floor

2016/05/26

     For the first time in nearly a decade, U.S. foreign policy lawmakers are cautiously optimistic that legislation directing State Department actions and influencing State Department policy will be passed by Congress and sent to the President’s desk.

 

     “Passage of this legislation allows this Committee to get back into the business of shaping more foreign policy and guiding the State Department,” said Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs at today’s legislative mark-up of S. 1635, the Department of State Operations Authorization and Embassy Security Act, Fiscal Year 2016

 

     “I am pleased that the base bill also includes three key amendments I offered to strengthen whistleblower protection policies; to push the State Department to work harder at extraditing serious criminals who have escaped the U.S. to enjoy safe harbor in other countries; and to call on the Secretary of State to ensure coverage and access to evidence based interventions for children of Foreign Service officers who have autism,” Smith said.

 

     Smith’s autism amendment is supported by Autism Speaks and the Autism Society, two leading advocacy groups who, along with Smith, have noted gaps in coverage, the lack of real access to treatments for State Department dependents with autism, whose treatment options are limited due to deployment overseas.

 

     “I have met several foreign service officers, working for us overseas whose children with autism don’t have access to evidence based therapeutic treatments they need.   It is time the State Department ensures availability to the most effective therapies to help these children reach their full potential,” said Smith, co-founder of the Congressional Autism Caucus and author of three major autism laws to boost research funding, services and support for families impacted by autism.

 

     A powerful advocate for human rights in the Congress, Smith said the State Department must also do more to bring international fugitives to justice in the United States.

 

     The New Jersey Republican cited the example of a killer named George Wright who was convicted of murder of Walter Patterson, a WWII decorated veteran from Smith’s district.  Wright escaped from prison in 1970, hijacked a plane bound for Miami in 1972 and disappeared in Algeria.  In 2012 the convicted murder resurfaced in Portugal. 

 

     “Members of the Patterson family have testified before our committee and they are rightfully shocked that a Portuguese court rejected the United States’ extradition request and that little has been done on the case since.  My amendment underscores Congressional expectation that the State Department reprioritize the return of fugitives and do a better job securing justice for American victims and their surviving family members,” he said. 

 

     Smith’s whistleblower protection amendment ensures provisions in the base text of the bill will be extended to those who have come forward with information on illicit technology transfers to rogue states such as North Korea and Iran. 

 

     “Some UN employees may have already been retaliated against by the World Intellectual Property Organization or WIPO and its Director General for the courageous actions they have taken in uncovering serious security breaches and corruption at the organization.  All UN whistleblowers need our support and protection,” he said.

 

     The current chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, Smith is the author of the landmark Embassy Security Act and 2000-2001 foreign relations authorization bill (Public Law 106-113; appendix G) and two State Department authorities’ laws (the 2007 PL 109-472 and the 2005 PL 109-140)—all of which provided Congress a greater say in U.S. foreign policy during the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations. 

 

     “Especially in these times, Congress—indeed our committee—must do more to give direction and fill in the leadership gaps created by a weak and feckless Obama Administration,” he said.  

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<span class ="kicker">***Following Administration ISIS genocide declaration, hearing set for Thurs., May 26***</span>Protecting Religious Minorities in Iraq and Syria from ISIS Genocide Focus of Congressional Hearing

2016/05/25

“The ISIS Genocide Declaration: What Next?” is the title of a congressional hearing on Thursday to be held by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), chairman of the Africa and Global Human Rights Subcommittee.

   “Now that the Administration has determined that religious minorities in Iraq and Syria are victims of genocide by ISIS, the question is ‘what next?’” said Smith. “At our hearing, experts will recommend steps the Administration can take to protect these vulnerable communities and to seek justice in Iraq and Syria.”

   Following the May 26 hearing, Smith hopes to convene a second hearing featuring witnesses from the Administration who can clearly articulate what the Administration intends to do to put its words into action.

WHAT:      Congressional hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee

WHO:        Smith, members of the Subcommittee on Africa and global human rights, and witnesses:

  • Carl A. Anderson, Supreme Knight, Knights of Columbus

  • Sarhang Hamasaeed, Senior Program Officer, Middle East and Africa Programs, U.S. Institute of Peace

  • Johnny Oram, Executive Director, Chaldean Assyrian Business Alliance

  • David M. Crane, Professor of Practice, Syracuse University College of Law (Former Chief Prosecutor, United Nations Special Court for Sierra Leone)

  • Naomi Kikoler, Deputy Director, Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

WHEN:      Thursday, May 26 at 12 PM.

WHERE:   Room 2172 in the Rayburn House Office Building (first floor).

    This will be the third hearing that Rep. Smith has held on the genocide. He co-chaired “Genocidal Attacks Against Christian and Other Religious Minorities in Syria and Iraq” (September 10, 2014) and chaired “Fulfilling the Humanitarian Imperative: Assisting Victims of ISIS Violence” (December 9, 2015). “I and others have been raising the alarm about ISIS’s genocidal campaign of mass murder since it began almost two years ago,” said Smith. If the U.S. government now walks away from these people it has declared are genocide victims, it will be re-victimizing them with indifference. We–and the suffering people of Iraq and Syria–need to know what has to be done and what will be done.”

For the updates to this advisory, click here:

http://chrissmith.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=398990

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Smith Chairs Hearing Investigating China’s Global Efforts to Silence Critics

2016/05/24

At a hearing today of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), CECC Chairman U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) and CECC Co-Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio examined evidence of the Chinese government’s global efforts to stifle discussion of its human rights record and repressive policies. Entitled “The Long Arm of China: Global Efforts to Silence Critics from Tiananmen To Today,” the hearing looked specifically at methods employed by the Chinese government to intimidate, harass, imprison and censor the work of journalists, rights advocates and human rights lawyers living outside of China. 

   “China is not only interested in containing the spread of ‘Western values and ideas’ within China, but is actively engaged in trying to roll back democracy and human rights norms globally,” said Chairman Smith. “It would be fitting to have an empty chair at the witness table today representing every dissident fearful of sharing their story, every writer whose work has been censored or edited by Chinese authorities without their knowledge and every journalist whose critical reporting has been blocked or tempered—not just in China, but in the West.” Click here to read Chairman Smith’s Statement.

   Recent efforts by China include pushing Thailand to crackdown on dissidents critical of Beijing or to forcibly repatriate Muslim Uyghur refugees and Chinese asylum seekers; the disappearances and alleged abductions of five Hong Kong booksellers to China; clandestine efforts to discredit the Dalai Lama through a Communist Party-supported rival Buddhist sect; harassment of family members of foreign journalists and human rights advocates; and threats to the operations of non-governmental organizations engaged in work in human rights and rule of law work in China.

   Witnesses included: Dr. Teng Biao, a prominent human rights lawyer who spoke about the cancelation of his book project with the American Bar Association (ABA) because of fears the Chinese government would cancel the ABA’s programs in China; Angela Gui, the daughter of abducted Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai; Su Yutong, a journalist who lost her job at a German radio station because she criticized the station’s lack of human rights coverage on China, and; Ilshat Hussein, President of the Uyghur-American Foundation whose family is harassed and detained because of his global human rights work. Witness testimony and an archived webcast of the hearing will be posted here.

   “China’s efforts present real strategic implications for the U.S. and the international community,” said the long-term congressional human rights leader who has held more than 50 hearings on human rights abuses in China. “The Congress will continue to press the Administration to advance human rights in China. But we must also look ahead and make a compelling case for the next Administration about the centrality of human rights to U.S. interests in Asia. It is increasingly clear that there is direct link between China’s domestic human rights problems and the security and prosperity of the United States. Losing sight of these facts leads to bad policy, bad diplomacy and the needless juxtaposition of values and interests. It also sends the wrong message to those in China standing courageously for greater freedoms, human rights and the rule of law.”

   The CECC, established by the U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000 as China prepared to enter the WTO, is mandated by U.S. law to monitor human rights, including worker rights, and the development of the rule of law in China. Its members are a bipartisan combination of Congress and White House appointees.

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<span class ="kicker">Smith, Vietnam Human Rights Advocates Hold Press Conf.</span>Obama Abandons Human Rights and Democracy Advocates in Vietnam

2016/05/24

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) made the following remarks at a bipartisan press conference he held on the steps of the Capitol today with other House members and Vietnamese rights advocates:

President Obama gave up one of the few remaining leverage points that the United States has in exchange for vague promises of expanded port use by the U.S. Navy. This was an epic failure of diplomacy. It was shortsighted, misguided, and failed to advance long-term U.S. interests.  

Vietnam needs the U.S. markets and security commitments much more than the U.S. needs Vietnam’s markets and security cooperation. 

Vietnam would have offered the U.S. Navy port access without condition, given China’s advances in the South China Sea. Thus, the President got nothing for lifting the arms embargo and nothing for including Vietnam in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

However, the American people get to continue subsidizing the repression of democracy advocates and religious groups. That is the definition of a bad deal.    

Over 100 prisoners of conscience remain detained, including human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai. I met with Nguyen Van Dai in 2005 and his courageous wife Vu Minh Khanh testified at a subcommittee hearing two weeks ago. 

I also met Fr. Nguyen Van Ly on trip to Vietnam in 2005. His release, only a couple months prior to his sentence ending, should not be considered a human rights breakthrough. Fr. Ly went into prison healthy and vigorous, but emerged sickly and broken. 

Before his trip, Members of Congress urged the President to condition further expansion of trade benefits and security partnerships on significant, verifiable, and irreversible improvements in human rights in Vietnam.  

We argued repeatedly that failure to condition Vietnam’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2007 lead to the a massive crackdown on dissidents, labor activists, and religious leaders and introduced sweeping new laws restricting freedom of association, assembly and the Internet.

In short, Vietnam’s WTO membership allowed the Communist government free license to jail, torture and abuse.    

Why would we expect Vietnam to act differently now?  

The President’s visits to Cuba and Vietnam share the same sad pattern. He is more interested in photo-ops with dictators than standing up for persecuted individuals who share our values of freedom and human rights.

He touts the benefits of engagement, but offers economic and security benefits without conditions, giving dictators unwarranted legitimacy.

This is not smart diplomacy, it is surrender of U.S. interests and values. Sadly, the President’s legacy will be the propping up of a Communist old guard when he should be standing with the new generation of freedom advocates seeking our rights and freedoms more than our trade. 

That is why I’m making a push again to pass the Vietnam Human Rights Act. This bill passed four times in the House, only to be stalled in the Senate. 

The bipartisan Vietnam Human Rights Act will restore the right priorities to U.S. policy toward Vietnam and will limit U.S. non-humanitarian assistance that goes to Vietnam until there are concrete human rights protection. 

Vietnam should also be designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for religious freedom violations. This designation carries with it potential sanctions and visa denials for Vietnamese government officials complicit in religious freedom abuses. 

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended that Vietnam be given this dubious distinction it its newly released Annual Report. That report provides compelling evidence of egregious and ongoing religious freedom violations in Vietnam.

The President should follow USCIRF’s recommendation and immediately designate Vietnam as a CPC. 

The Communist Party is not Vietnam’s future, that future lies with Nguyen Van Dai and the many other advocates of political reform and human rights who seek our freedoms more than our trade. 

U.S. policy must send the unmistakable message to the Government of Vietnam that human rights improvements are fundamental to better relations, critically linked to our mutual economic and security interests, and will not be ignored or bargained away.

The President failed to send this message. It is up to the Congress, and the next Administration, to restore the right priorities to U.S.-Vietnam relations.

 

 

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<span class ="kicker">Success of President’s Vietnam Visit Should Be Measured by How Many Human Rights Prisoners Are Released Unconditionally</span>Smith Says Lifting of Vietnam Arms Embargo Should Be Linked to Improvements in Religious Freedom & Release of All Prisoners of Conscience

2016/05/21

As President Obama prepares for his first trip to Vietnam, the chairman of a congressional panel that oversees international human rights urged the President to emphasize the release of prisoners of conscience and the fundamental right of religious freedom during meetings with Vietnam’s Communist leaders.

     Chairman Chris Smith (NJ-04), the author of the Vietnam Human Rights Act, H.R. 2140, also urged the President to meet with religious and civil society leaders, bloggers and journalists, and labor and democracy activists during his visit. 

    “The President may give a speech that makes reference to human right concerns, but his words must be matched with deeds or Vietnam’s Communist Party leaders will expect and receive lucrative trade benefits and arms sales,” Smith said. “Without establishing human rights conditions, nothing will change in Vietnam, and the American people will continue to subsidize the repression of democracy advocates and religious groups. We should judge the success of the President’s trip by how many of the 100-plus religious and political prisoners are released, such as human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, Buddhist leader Thich Quang Do and others from Vietnam’s diverse religious and ethnic communities—Buddhist, Christian, Khmer Krom, Montagnard, Hmong, Hoa Hao and Cao Dai.” 

     Smith and Vietnamese human rights activists are planning to hold a press conference Tuesday, May 24, when the President’s trip concludes.

    Vu Minh Kanh, the wife of Nguyen Van Dai, testified at a recent House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing chaired by Smith. The hearing can be viewed here.

     Smith noted the release of Catholic priest Father Nguyen Van Ly today, but said the release of the veteran human rights advocate should not be considered a major improvement. “Fr. Ly was released a couple months before his sentence ended, and it is certainly better to be free than in a Vietnamese prison, but his release should not be considered a major human rights breakthrough. Hopefully, this courageous advocate will be able to exercise his freedom of speech and movement and is not exchanging one prison for another.” 

     Citing the findings of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2016 Annual Report, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Global Human Rights asked the President to send a clear message that stronger U.S.-Vietnam relations, including the lifting of an arms embargo, will depend on concrete improvements in religious freedom, and related human rights. Regarding Vietnam, the USCIRF report concluded that “the government’s continuing heavy-handed management of religion continues to lead not only to restrictions and discrimination, but also to individuals being outright harassed, detained, and targeted with physical violence.” The USCIRF’s chapter on Vietnam can be read here.

     “The connections between the protection of religious freedom, economic freedom, democracy, and the rule of law are so compelling it should be one of the President’s top priorities in Vietnam, but if past is prologue, it won’t be,” Smith said. “Regrettably the Obama Administration has shown only occasional interest in advancing this fundamental freedom. New trade benefits and arms sales are unwarranted until Vietnam advances concrete legal protections for independent religious groups and releases all religious prisoners. Failure to take these steps should lead the President to designate Vietnam as a ‘Country of Particular Concern’ adding the one-party communist state to the list of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom.”

     On Monday, May 16, 2016, the House unanimously passed H.R. 1150, the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, a bill authored by Rep. Smith that gives the State Department new tools and resources to help combat the worldwide escalation of religious persecution in places like Vietnam, China and the Middle East. Information about H.R. 1150 can be found here.

     “The visits to Cuba and Vietnam share the same sad pattern,” Smith said. “The President is more interested in photo-ops with dictators than standing up for persecuted individuals who share our values of freedom and human rights. He touts the benefits of engagement, but offers economic and security benefits without conditions, giving dictators unwarranted legitimacy. Ask any American outside the Washington beltway whether Vietnam belongs in the Trans-Pacific Partnership or deserves to have the arms embargo lifted—the answer would be a resounding no. Ask them if the U.S. can trust the Castro brothers and the answer would be the same. This is not smart diplomacy, it is surrender of U.S. interests and values. The President’s legacy will be the propping up of a Communist old guard when he should be standing with the new generation of freedom advocates seeking our rights and freedoms more than our trade.  There is no future in the repressive rule of the Communist Party, losing sight of this fact is a serious mistake.”

      Last month, Smith and a bipartisan group of House members sent a congressional letter to the President urging him to link better bilateral relations with human rights improvements.

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<span class ="kicker">***Press Conf. Set for Tues., May 24 @ 3 p.m.***</span> Human Rights Leaders to Speak Out on Abuses in Vietnam, President’s Visit

2016/05/20

Human rights and congressional leaders advocating for victims of widespread abuses, religious persecution and political repression at the hands of the Vietnamese Government will gather for a press conference Tuesday in response to President Obama visiting Vietnam. The press conference participants will call for an end to Vietnam’s instruments of repression and the release of all prisoners of conscience. 

Who:  

  • Chairman Chris Smith, (R-NJ) Senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chair of its subcommittee on global human rights, and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA);
  • Nguyen Dinh Thang, Ph.D., Executive Director, Boat People SOS

  • Vietnamese human rights advocates

What:   Press conf. on human rights and President Obama’s trip to Vietnam

When:    Tues., May 24, 2016 @ 3 p.m.

Where:  The House Triangle, pictured here, is located in the grassy triangle area on the Capitol Building's East Front lawn, just off Independence Ave. near New Jersey Ave. RAIN LOCATION: TBA.

 

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Unified Zip Code Survey from USPS Headed to Robbinsville Township Residents

2016/05/20

Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried has submitted a formal request to the United States Postal Service for a unified zip code exclusive to Robbinsville Township.

The offices of U.S. Congressman Chris Smith and D-14 Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, along with Robbinsville Township Business Administrator Joy Tozzi, also have been instrumental throughout the nearly three-year process.

An official survey detailing the unified zip code will be mailed to residents of Robbinsville, Windsor and any other Robbinsville taxpayer beginning Friday, May 20, 2016. The survey must be completed and returned to USPS no later than June 10, 2016.

“We’ve heard our residents loud and clear regarding their desire to have “Robbinsville, 08691” be their official postal designation,’’ Mayor Fried said. “I would to thank Congressman Smith for his work on this issue, both in Washington and locally, along with Assemblyman DeAngelo and his staff. This is by no means a done deal. Our residents must respond to the survey in order for this measure to be considered any further.”

According to the USPS, in order for the survey to be considered valid 80 percent of affected residents must reply. In order for the zip code change to be considered, 75 percent of respondents must be in favor. Once the completed surveys have been received and processed by USPS, the results will be shared with Mayor Fried and other government officials.

“Residents have expressed their desire to put Robbinsville on the map with a unified zip code for years,’’ Assemblyman DeAngelo said. “Now is the time for our town to come together to let their voice be heard by the postal service and say 'yes' to a single zip code for all of Robbinsville."

U.S. Rep. Smith’s fourth Congressional District includes Robbinsville and its population of approximately 14,500.

“The confusion and problems that often result for people when their hometown has multiple postal identities has led to this opportunity for residents to be heard by participating in the U.S. Postal Service survey,” Rep. Smith said. “I look forward to the results and continuing working with Assemblyman DeAngelo and Mayor Fried, who has led the effort.”

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House Approves Measure to Fight Zika Spread

2016/05/19

The House of Representatives late last night approved an emergency spending package to provide $622.1 million to prevent the spread of the Zika virus both in the U.S. and abroad.

    “Currently no therapeutics exist to treat Zika virus nor is there a vaccine – but that gap need not be forever,” said Rep. Chris Smith, Chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees global health issues.  “Lessons learned from years of malaria mosquito control have applicability to Zika and can prove helpful if resources and expertise are made available.”

    The New Jersey Republican who has held hearings on the Zika virus and other vector borne diseases (viruses and bacteria transmitted by such carriers as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas) supported today’s funding package and noted that it will enhance vaccine research and increase support for domestic mosquito control, prenatal care, delivery and postpartum care, newborn health assessments and care for infants with special needs. He said the package also provides funding for international mosquito control and other efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to the Zika virus.

    “In addition to boosting vaccine research for worldwide outbreaks, we must step up our domestic efforts to control mosquitoes before warmer weather leads to an explosion of the mosquito population in the homeland,” Smith said.

    “By funding mosquito control efforts we take an important step to protect people from the threat of Zika including unborn and newborn babies for whom the impact is most severe,” he said.

    In the last few years, the United States has had to deal with new diseases such as Ebola and West Nile Virus and the resurgence in this country of diseases like chikungunya and dengue fever.  Smith is the author of a separate bill, the End Neglected Tropical Diseases Act (HR 1797) which will enhance current research–not just on one disease but tropical diseases generally. 

    With the Zika virus now joining the ranks of previously little-known diseases that have created global alarm, the time has come for a more consistent policy before the next explosive health crisis appears. HR 1797, which has been reported from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, will create Centers of Excellence to study every aspect of these dreaded diseases before the an outbreak becomes the next epidemic.

    Among the hearings Smith has chaired is the Feb. 10, 2016 session entitled “The Global Zika Epidemic,” featuring top American health officials on the topic of Zika, including Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and; Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez, M.D., Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).


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Rep. Chris Smith on Jobs for Individuals with Autism and Special Needs

2016-05-19 21:48:57


Rep. Chris Smith at the passage of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act

2016-05-16 22:54:37


Rep. Chris Smith on America's Human Rights Leadership in Asia

2016-04-28 16:34:27


Rep. Chris Smith Takes Aim at Global Hunger

2016-04-13 13:44:56


Chris Smith on BBC World News: ISIS Genocide Against Christians and Yazidis

2016-03-21 19:34:19


Rep. Chris Smith condemning organ harvesting from prisoners in China

2016-03-16 20:29:00


Chris Smith on stopping President Obama's handover of Guantanamo Bay

2016-03-16 20:18:10


Establish a Syrian War Crimes Tribunal

2016-03-16 07:09:39


U.S. House Passes Bill Urging New Syrian War Crimes Tribunal

2016-03-15 21:06:23


Top Obama Admin Official Doesn’t Know Where Iran’s Enriched Uranium has been sent

2016-02-12 20:52:18


Rep. Chris Smith on International Megan's Law at final passage

2016-02-02 20:37:48


Congressman Chris Smith on the Electrify Africa Act

2016-02-02 20:21:28


Planned Parenthood Has Killed 7 Million Babies

2016-01-06 22:40:49


Support the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Authorization Act

2015-12-16 18:42:06


Rep. Smith: Support H.Res.354

2015-11-03 21:50:40


Support the PACE Innovation Act

2015-11-03 21:44:45


Support H.Res.354 to Protect Jewish Communities in Europe

2015-11-03 17:59:53


Support the Adoptive Family Relief Act

2015-10-06 22:01:11


Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act

2015-10-01 16:56:24


Rep. Smith Remarks on Key Legislation for Veterans Programs

2015-09-30 18:59:34


Contact Information

2373 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3765
Fax 202-225-7768
chrissmith.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Foreign Affairs

Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville, N.J.) is currently in his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 60, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. In 2011-2012 he chaired both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and as an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.

Smith has long chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses (working groups) including the Pro-life (31 years), Autism (15 years), Alzheimer’s (13 years), Lyme Disease (nineyears), Spina Bifida (nine years), Human Trafficking (nine years), Refugees (nine years), and Combating Anti-Semitism caucuses, and serves on caucuses on Bosnia, Uganda and Vietnam.

According to the independent watchdog organization Govtrack, as of January 2014 Smith ranks fourth among all 435 Members of the House over the last two decades in the number of laws authored.

He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers, as well as more than a dozen veterans health, education and homeless benefits laws, and laws to boost embassy security, promote democracy, religious freedom, and health care.

Smith is the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 which established a nationwide program for ethical research and treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. That landmark law was reauthorized in September 2010 for another five years.
In October 2011, Smith’s bill, HR 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011, was signed into law (Public Law PL112-32), a follow-up to his Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act (ASSURE) of 2000.

A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in business administration. Prior to being elected to Congress, he helped run a small business– his family’s wholesale sporting goods corporation. He is also the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.

The congressman is married to his wife of 35 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.


Serving With

Frank LoBiondo

NEW JERSEY's 2nd DISTRICT

Tom MacArthur

NEW JERSEY's 3rd DISTRICT

Scott Garrett

NEW JERSEY's 5th DISTRICT

Leonard Lance

NEW JERSEY's 7th DISTRICT

Rodney Frelinghuysen

NEW JERSEY's 11th DISTRICT

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