House of Representatives Passes Resolution Denouncing the Use of Human Shields by Hamas, Stands in Solidarity with Israel
“Hamas stores its rockets and weapons underneath the homes of Palestinians and in now at least three schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency and it has been using the Palestinian men, women and children as human shields, in violation of international humanitarian law, by placing its missile batteries in densely populated areas and near schools, hospitals and mosques.”
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement regarding the passage of H. Con. Res. 107, denouncing the use of civilians as human shields by Hamas and other terrorist organizations in violation of international humanitarian law. The measure was passed by unanimous consent by the House of Representatives. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I want to thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel, for their continued efforts in support of human rights and Israel’s right to defend herself.
Mr. Speaker, this resolution condemning Hamas’s use of human shields in violation of international humanitarian law is an extremely important and timely measure given the current situation in Israel and Gaza.
I want to first thank my colleague from South Florida, Ted Deutch, for joining me introducing this legislation. It was at an official fact finding trip that Ted and I took to the Middle East earlier this month where Ted and I realized how important this resolution is. While we were there, Hamas had already begun to increase the frequency of its indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel.
Prime Minister Netanyahu was compelled to respond but made it clear from the very beginning that the objective was to restore peace and security for the people of Israel, and that quiet would be met with quiet.
But Hamas would not relent and only increased its attacks. While Hamas was firing rockets at innocent Israeli civilians, Israel was taking every step imaginable to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas’ response was to intentionally place the Palestinians in harm’s way. It stores its rockets and weapons underneath the homes of Palestinians and even in at least three schools run by the UN Relief and Works Agency, and it uses Palestinian men, women and children as human shields in violation of international humanitarian law by placing its missile batteries in densely populated areas and near schools, near hospitals, near mosques.
Mr. Speaker, the contrast between Israel, a legitimate sovereign state, and Hamas, a terrorist organization, could not be any clearer. Israel values and goes to great lengths to protect human life, while Hamas has no respect for human life and goes to great lengths to sacrifice anyone, including the Palestinian people, in the name of its war against Israel. Israel has accepted repeated cease-fire offers, while Hamas has rejected them. And while Israel seeks to combat terrorism, Hamas is an internationally recognized terror organization that is being supported by countries like Qatar in its war against our true democratic ally, Israel. Yet it is Israel that wrongfully faces international condemnation for exercising its right to protect its citizens and defend herself and gets singled out when the world should be condemning Hamas.
Last week, Mr. Speaker, the UN Human Rights Council – an institution that has been leading the anti-Israel charge for years now, and has since lost any legitimacy that it might have had – passed a resolution to investigate what it calls ‘war crimes’ and ‘human rights’ violations by Israel, not by Hamas. There wasn’t even a word about Hamas’ attacks against innocent Israeli civilians nor about Hamas’s use of Palestinians as human shields. And of the 47-members on this council, you would think that there would be many voices of reason, some voices of reason, to speak out against this obvious anti-Israel bias; But the United States was the lone voice of dissent. Our so-called European allies – they lacked the courage of their convictions and couldn’t even muster the resolve to vote for or against the resolution; instead they abstained.
This is a disgrace, and it is a shame. So if the UN Security Council will not act and not use its voice, that is why it is so important for the House of Representatives to pass this resolution, to not only stand up for the Palestinian people who have been made pawns in Hamas’ mission to destroy Israel, to their detriment, but for Israel, in the face of this biased anti-Israel agenda;
We must be the counter balance, Mr. Speaker; we must send the message to the world that we will continue to stand alongside Israel and that we will condemn Hamas and its use of human shields.
I urge my colleagues to support this resolution to stand up for our ally Israel, and to stand up for human rights and American ideals and principles.
And again I thank the Chairman Mr. Royce and the Ranking Member Mr. Engel as well as my South Florida colleague, Mr. Deutch, for their help.
I yield back.”
Trabajando Para Mejorar el Cuidado de Nuestros Veteranos, Ros-Lehtinen Apoya Proyecto de Ley Para Reformar el Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos
“Nuestros veteranos han sacrificado mucho por nuestra nación, lo mínimo que podemos hacer es asegurar que nuestros héroes reciban el cuidado que merecen.”
Miami, Florida – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen anunció su apoyo para el proyecto de ley Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. Este proyecto de ley trabaja para mejorar los servicios de veteranos en los hospitales del Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos (conocida por sus siglas en inglés “VA”) y ayuda a expandir acceso al cuidado. El proyecto de ley:
· Permite que veteranos que esperan más de 30 días para una cita o viven a más de 40 millas de un centro de cuidado de veteranos sean atendidos en facilidades médicas que no pertenecen al VA;
· Provee mas de 5 mil millones para aumentar la cantidad de médicos y personal médico y para mejorar las facilidades del VA;
· Otorga el poder al VA para despedir empleados de cierta categoría que no están cumpliendo con su trabajo o han tenido mala conducta; y
· Requiere que veteranos que van a universidades públicas paguen el precio de estudiantes residentes del estado.
Ros-Lehtinen tiene un largo historial de trabajar para asegurar que nuestros veteranos reciban el cuidado que merecen. Ella entiende las necesidades de los veteranos porque su esposo, Dexter, es un veterano de combate quien se presentó voluntario para el servicio y fue severamente herido sirviendo a nuestro país en la Guerra de Vietnam. Actualmente en la Reserva de la Marina, su hijastro, Doug, y su nuera, Lindsay, sirvieron a nuestro país como oficiales de la Marina en Irak y Lindsay también sirvió en Afganistán.
“Aunque este proyecto de ley es un paso positivo para nuestros veteranos, es desafortunado que una reforma, especialmente una llena de cambios de sentido común, sea requerida en primer lugar. Después de años de mal manejo, estoy complacida que el VA tenga el poder de despedir empleados que no cumplen con sus trabajos y asegura que veteranos que tienen que esperar más de 30 días para una cita tengan una alternativa. No obstante, tenemos que asegurar que el Miami VA y el VA nacional sean responsabilizados por sus fallos de cuidado y de liderazgo. Nuestros veteranos han sacrificado mucho por nuestra nación, lo mínimo que podemos hacer es asegurar que nuestros héroes reciban el cuidado que merecen.”Read More
Working to Improve Veteran Care, Ros-Lehtinen Supports VA Reform Bill
“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation, the very least we can do is ensure our heroes receive the care they deserve.”
Miami, Florida – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced her support of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. This bill will work to improve veterans’ services at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and help expand access to care by:
· Allowing veterans who must wait more than 30 days for an appointment or are more than 40 miles away from VA care to be treated by non-VA medical facilities;
· Disbursing more than $5 billion to increase the amount of doctors and medical staff hired and to improve VA facilities;
· Empowering the VA to fire Senior Executive Service (SES) employees who have engaged in misconduct or have below standard performance; and
· Requiring in-state tuition be provided to veterans who attend public colleges or universities.
Ros-Lehtinen has a long record working to ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve. She understands the needs of veterans because her husband, Dexter, is a combat veteran who volunteered for service and sustained serious injuries while serving our country in Vietnam. Currently Marine Reservists, her step-son, Doug, and daughter-in-law, Lindsay, served our nation as Marine officers in Iraq and Lindsay also served in Afghanistan.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“While this bill is a positive step forward for our veterans, it is unfortunate that any reform package, especially one full of commonsense reforms, was needed in the first place. After years of mismanagement, I am pleased the VA will have the power to fire deficient employees and ensure veterans have an alternative to longer than 30 day wait times for an appointment. However, we must ensure that the Miami VA and the national VA are consistently held accountable for their failure in care and leadership. Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation, the very least we can do is ensure our heroes receive the care they deserve.”
Ros-Lehtinen: Negación de Visas a Funcionarios Venezolanos Responsables por Violaciones de Derechos Humanos no es Suficiente; Administración debe Implementar Sanciones Completas Contra Secuaces de Maduro
(Washington, DC) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Presidenta del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, hizo la siguiente declaración referente al anuncio por el Departamento de Estado que a funcionarios del régimen venezolano serán negadas visas para entrar a los Estados Unidos. Dijo Ros-Lehtinen:
"Negar visas a funcionarios venezolanos es un buen paso, pero esta acción llega muy tarde y no va suficientemente lejos. No sólo debemos negar visas a los secuaces de Maduro sino también debemos expandir esas restricciones de visas a familiares inmediatos de violadores de derechos humanos y congelar sus bienes y propiedades en los E.E.U.U. Poco después de que el régimen venezolano hizo todo lo posible para proteger y dar refugio seguro a un narcotraficante notorio, es decepcionante que la Administración de Obama todavía no ha implementado sanciones fuertes contra el régimen de Maduro. Sólo a través de golpear a estos criminales del régimen de Maduro en sus bolsillos habrá una verdadera oportunidad para ayudar a fomentar una nueva era en Venezuela donde se respeten los derechos del pueblo venezolano."
NOTA: La Congresista Ros-Lehtinen es la autora de H.R. 4587 – la Ley Protección de Derechos Humanos y Democracia Venezolana – que fue aprobada por consentimiento unánime por la Cámara de Representantes el 28 de mayo del 2014. La ley implementa sanciones comprensivas contra miembros del régimen de Maduro que han cometido graves violaciones contra los derechos humanos de los ciudadanos de Venezuela.Read More
Ros-Lehtinen: Visa Denials of Venezuelan Officials Responsible for Human Rights Violations is Not Enough; Administration Must Enact Full Penalties Against Maduro Thugs
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement on the announcement by the State Department that Venezuelan regime officials will be denied visas to enter the United States. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Denying visas to Venezuelan officials is a good step forward but this action is long overdue and does not go far enough. Not only should we deny visas to Maduro’s cronies but we should also expand those visa restrictions to immediate family members of human rights violators and freeze their assets and property in the U.S. In the aftermath of the Venezuelan regime pulling out all the stops to protect and give a safe haven to a notorious narco-trafficker, it’s disappointing that the Obama Administration has yet to implement strong sanctions against the Maduro regime. Only by hitting the thugs of the Maduro regime in their pocketbooks will there be a real opportunity to help foster a new era in Venezuela aimed to respect the rights of the Venezuelan people."
NOTE: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen is the author of H.R. 4587 – The Venezuelan Human Rights and Democracy Protection Act – which was passed by unanimous consent by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 28, 2014. The bill enacts comprehensive sanctions against Venezuelan officials responsible for the commission of serious human rights abuses against the citizens of Venezuela.Read More
Falla del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas al no Responsabilizar a Funcionarios Cubanos por su Rol en el Embarque Ilegal de Armas Chong Chon Gang es Cobarde
Embajadora Power Debe Iniciar Proceso de Designación y Presentar Nombres para Inclusión
(Washington, DC) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Presidenta del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, hizo la siguiente declaración referente a la falla del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU al no responsabilizar a funcionarios cubanos por su rol en el embarque ilegal de armas Chong Chon Gang a pesar de que hay pruebas abrumadoras que Cuba ayudó a Norcorea en un intento de evitar varias resoluciones del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU. Ros-Lehtinen instó a la Embajadora de los E.E.U.U. ante la ONU Samantha Power a trabajar para asegurar que funcionarios cubanos sean designados violadores de sanciones. Dijo Ros-Lehtinen:
“Es inaceptable que mientras el Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU sancionó a la empresa norcoreana que operaba el buque llevando armas ilegales desde Cuba, falló en similarmente responsabilizar al régimen cubano por su rol en esta flagrante violación de sanciones de las Naciones Unidas. El Grupo de Expertos responsable por investigar esta violación, así como la Embajadora Power, han hecho claro que Cuba era una parte integral en esta transgresión. Pero algunas palabras de condena no son suficientes. La Administración de Obama debe ser proactiva y presentar todas las entidades cubanas conocidas que participaron en este incidente para ser designadas como violadores de sanciones de resoluciones del Consejo de Seguridad y tiene que trabajar para ganar el apoyo de otros miembros del Consejo para esta inclusión. El embarque ilegal de armas Chong Chon Gang es otro ejemplo de la amenaza que representa el régimen cubano no solamente a nosotros y nuestra seguridad nacional, sino a la seguridad global.”
Para ver la carta, por favor haga clic aquí
NOTA: La semana pasada, la Congresista Ros-Lehtinen, junto al Cong. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), escribió a la Embajadora Power instando que presente para designación los nombres de funcionarios del régimen cubano conectados al incidente Chong Chon Gang. La carta de Ros-Lehtinen y Díaz-Balart también fue firmada por los Congs. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), y Sean Duffy (R-WI).Read More
It’s Folly to Extend Nuclear Negotiations; Iran has Deceived the West at Every Turn and Remains Intent on Acquiring Nukes, Says Ros-Lehtinen
Ros-Lehtinen Questions Administration Negotiator on Iran's Illicit Activities, Oil to Syria
(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement at a full committee hearing titled: “Iran Nuclear Negotiations: From Extension to Final Agreement?” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Thank you so much Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador Sherman, last year before this Committee you testified that “the ultimate goal of any negotiations is that Iran come into full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions.” Those Security Council resolutions demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities and that Iran ratify and implement the IAEA’s Additional Protocols to strengthen safeguard measures.
This morning in front of the Senate Foreign Relations, you said the Administration’s preference is that Iran not have enrichment capabilities, but then conceded that President Obama and your team have admitted that there is likely going to be an enrichment program. Has Iran come into compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions, including the implementation of the Additional Protocols? Will it be in compliance when a comprehensive agreement is reached? If they don’t, have U.S. negotiators failed to meet our goal as you stated it was last year?
You also said that this is also about verification, monitoring and assurances to the international community. Of course that is all based upon the assumption that Iran has fully disclosed its program – a program it kept covert for two decades – and that is what will likely prove to be a fatal and faulty assumption in these talks.
DoD has assessed earlier this year that the U.S. isn’t able to detect or locate undeclared or covert nuclear activities. So how confident can we be that this regime – that has operated a covert nuclear program for decades, that has ignored UN Security Council resolutions, that has openly bragged about deceiving the West while in nuclear negotiations – has declared all of its facilities, activities and programs to us, specifically its suspected military programs? And would any potential comprehensive agreement encompass anything that may be disclosed or detected after an agreement is signed, or are we just dealing with these very specific facilities?
As part of the extension agreement, we have agreed to another $2.8 billion in sanctions relief for Iran, as well as allowing Iran to continue to export oil at a restricted level. At our subcommittee hearing last month with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Diplomacy, Amos Hochstein, I had asked him about reports that Iran was sending hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil to Assad to keep that thug and his war running, yet we were not counting this against Iran’s restricted levels.
We were all shocked to hear that we don’t count that against Iran’s limits because Syria isn’t actually paying for the oil, and you repeated that this morning in the Senate, but what I had suggested to Mr. Hochstein was that this issue was bigger than just Iran sending oil to Assad and us not counting it for the JPOA. It goes to the heart of our policies as they relate to Iran and Syria, and it’s about our U.S. national security interests.
How much is Iran sending? How do we allow this to continue while we still negotiate a comprehensive agreement? How do we justify allowing Iran to send oil to Assad to keep his brutal regime afloat? And what else is Iran sending that we are ignoring? And if this were against the terms, and Iran was caught in violation – who is in charge, and what mechanism do we have to enforce the terms?”Read More
United Nations Security Council Failure to Hold Cuban Officials Accountable for Their Role in Illegal Chong Chon Gang Arms Shipment is Spineless
Ambassador Power Must Initiate Process for Designation and Submit Names for Inclusion
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement on the failure of the UN Security Council to hold Cuban officials accountable for their role in the illegal Chong Chon Gang arms shipment despite overwhelming evidence that Cuba assisted North Korea in an attempt to circumvent several UN Security Council resolutions. Ros-Lehtinen urged U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to work to ensure that Cuban officials are designated sanctions violators. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“It’s unacceptable that even as the UN Security Council sanctioned the North Korean firm that operated the vessel carrying illegal arms from Cuba, it failed to similarly hold the Cuban regime accountable for its role in this flagrant violation of UN sanctions. The Panel of Experts responsible for investigating this violation, as well as Ambassador Power, have made clear that Cuba had an integral role in this transgression. But mere words of condemnation are not enough. The Obama administration should be proactive and submit all known Cuban entities involved in this incident to be designated as violators of several Security Council resolutions and it must work to garner support from other Council members for this inclusion. The illegal Chong Chon Gang arms shipment is yet another example of the threat the Cuban regime poses not just to us and our national security, but to global security.”
To read the letter, please click here
NOTE: Last week, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, joined by Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), wrote to Ambassador Power urging her to submit for designation the names of Cuban regime and military officials connected to the Chong Chon Gang incident. Ros-Lehtinen and Díaz-Balart were joined by Reps. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Sean Duffy (R-WI).Read More
Ros-Lehtinen Issues Statement on Hugo Carvajal’s Violation of US Drug Trafficking Law
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, issued the following statement on the return of Hugo Carvajal to Venezuela after being arrested in Aruba for drug trafficking in violation of U.S. law. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“It’s incredible that Carvajal has walked away from being held accountable for his role in trafficking drugs into the United States. Carvajal faces serious accusations and should have been brought to justice since he has flagrantly violated our laws. The Obama administration, whose inattentiveness to Latin America has allowed the Venezuelan regime to bully other countries as it seeks to undermine our security interests, should finally decide to get serious about the region and not only do more to ensure that those who violate our laws are brought to justice but also that Venezuelan officials responsible for human rights abuses face sanctions. This incident also shows that under Maduro, Venezuela continues to act as a safe haven for narcotraffickers and others who wish to do the United States harm."
Ros-Lehtinen, Díaz-Balart Encabezan Carta a la Embajadora Power Instando que la Misión de E.E.U.U. en la ONU Presione al Consejo de Seguridad Añadir a la Lista de Violadores de Sanciones a Funcionarios del Régimen Cubano Conectados al Incidente Chong Chon Gang
“Aunque no es sorprendente que el régimen castrista tiránico continue ignorando las resoluciones más básicas de la ONU, darle a la Habana un pase libre enviaría un mensaje equivocado a otros países. Cuando una persona ayuda al régimen norcoreano a violar el embargo internacional de armas, tenemos que asegurar que sean responsabilizados por poner nuestra seguridad colectiva en peligro.”
Washington, DC – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Presidenta del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, y el Congresista Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), encabezaron una carta a la Embajadora de los E.E.U.U. para las Naciones Unidas Samantha Power. La carta pide que Power presente para designación los nombres de funcionarios militares cubanos que estuvieron involucrados en el incidente Chong Chon Gang, donde un buque norcoreano fue descubierto cargando armas de orígen cubano de un puerto cubano destinado a Norcorea, y quienes consecuentemente violaron resoluciones del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU 1718, 1874, y 2094. La carta de Ros-Lehtinen y Díaz-Balart también fue firmada por los Congs. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), y Sean Duffy (R-WI).
“Ahora que el Grupo de Expertos ha determinado que el régimen cubano era una parte integral a la violación de un embargo de armas de la ONU contra Norcorea, no podemos dejar que esta conducta siga sin consecuencias. Tenemos que tomar acción contra las personas que participaron en el incidente del Chong Chon Gang a través de facilitar, procurar, o de otra manera promover la violación de este embargo de armas. Dejar esta flagrante violación de resoluciones del Consejo de Seguridad de la ONU sin respuesta plantea serias dudas sobre la capacidad de la comunidad internacional de asegurarse a si misma cuando regímenes criminales hacen burla de las reglas.
“La Embajadora Power tiene que hacer todo lo posible para designar a cualquier funcionario del régimen cubano involucrado en el incidente del Chong Chon Gang como violadores de sanciones de la ONU. Aunque no es sorprendente que el régimen castrista tiránico continue ignorando las resoluciones más básicas de la ONU, dar a la Habana un pase libre enviaría un mensaje equivocado a otros países. Cuando una persona ayuda al régimen norcoreano a violar el embargo internacional de armas, tenemos que asegurar que sean responsabilizados por poner nuestra seguridad colectiva en peligro.”Read More
2206 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
I am proud to represent Florida’s 27th Congressional District, a diverse area which includes Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Hialeah, Key Biscayne, Little Havana, Miami, Pinecrest, South Miami, and Westchester.
I was born in Havana, Cuba on July 1952. At the age of eight, my family and I were forced to flee from the oppressive communist regime of Fidel Castro. We settled in Miami and put down permanent roots in our community. I attended Southside Elementary School in Little Havana, West Miami Junior High, and Southwest High School. In the years following, I earned an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade Community College in 1972, Bachelors and Masters Degree in Education from Florida International University in 1975 and 1985 respectively, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Miami in 2004. I consider education a lifelong journey.
I began my career as a Florida certified teacher. I also founded and served as the principal and teacher of a private bilingual elementary school in Hialeah. I was inspired to enter public service by many of the parents and students; to fight on their behalf for a stronger educational system, lower taxes, and a brighter economic future.
In 1982 I was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives and the Florida Senate in 1986, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in either body. In the state legislature I authored the Florida Prepaid College Plan, which is now the largest pre paid college tuition program in the nation. More than one million Florida families have used this program to send their children to college.
I was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989– the first Hispanic woman to serve in Congress–following a special election to fill the seat held by the late Claude Pepper. I have been strongly returned to Congress since, winning 60% of the vote in 2012.
To this day, I remain committed to improving the lives of my constituents and our beautiful South Florida community. As the economy remains a pressing issue, I support reducing taxes and cutting back unnecessary government spending. I also support plans to balance the federal budget and increase tax incentives for small businesses and middle class families. South Florida has also felt the devastating effects of the housing crisis. I have fought to end predatory lending practices by mortgage companies and extend the first time homebuyers tax credit.
Given my background in education, I have worked to strengthen the Head Start program. I have also supported legislation to increase the availability to student financial aid and revise the cumbersome and complicated Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) process.
I am a strong advocate of programs that address the serious problem of domestic violence against women. I was a lead sponsor of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which increases resources towards the prosecution of domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault. I also support legislation to increase criminal penalties for perpetrators of Medicare fraud. Medicare fraud is a deplorable practice which robs hardworking seniors of the benefits they spent a lifetime earning, while also wasting billions in taxpayer dollars.
As the wife of a Vietnam veteran and step-mother to Marine aviators, I am passionate about improving our nation’s military, safeguarding veteran’s health care, and ensuring that returning veterans have access to a college education. I have been an outspoken critic of the Miami VA’s recent failures to notify veterans who were at risk of infection, due to contaminated colonoscopy equipment. I also authored legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). These women pioneers had been denied recognition for their service during World War II.
I am Chairman emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and am now Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. In this role, I continue to voice my strong support for the state of Israel and human rights, including my opposition to Castro’s dictatorial regime in Cuba. I have also led on pressing foreign policy issues including the fight against Islamist extremism, and support of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.
I also serve as a member of the House Committee on Rules. This Committee decides what legislation makes it to the House floor and its members are chosen by the Speaker of the House. My priorities as a member of this Committee is to get our nation’s economy back on track and ensure passage of legislation that betters the state of our nation.
I am the proud wife to Dexter Lehtinen, mother and step-mother to 4 adult children, and grandmother to two beautiful baby girls – Morgan Elizabeth and Caroline Grace.
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