Incremento en Número de Cubanos Llegando al Sur de la Florida es Resultado de Política Fallida de Administración Obama Hacia Cuba, Dice Ros-Lehtinen
“Los cubanos en la isla han visto al Presidente Obama estrechar la mano de nuestra nación en apoyo a la dictadura de Castro y el pueblo cubano ha concluido que esto extenderá la tiranía y por eso están escapando de cualquier manera que pueden.”
(Miami, FL) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) hizo la siguiente declaración sobre el incremento de cubanos llegando a los Estados Unidos.
“Muchos cubanos están arriesgando sus vidas cruzando el peligroso estrecho de la Florida o por otras vías en una jornada incierta hacia nuestra comunidad desde la apertura desaconsejada de la administración Obama hacia el régimen de Castro. Los cubanos en la isla han visto al Presidente Obama estrechar la mano de nuestra nación en apoyo a la dictadura de Castro y el pueblo cubano ha concluido que esto extenderá la tiranía y por eso están escapando de cualquier manera que pueden. Este incremento es testimonio que la vida de los cubanos en la isla no está mejorando, sino siguen sufriendo a mano del régimen represivo de Castro que sofoca las libertades políticas y económicas y por el cambio desastroso de política de Obama.”
Increasing Number of Cubans Arriving In South Florida a Result of Failed Obama Administration Cuba Policy, Says Ros-Lehtinen
“Cubans on the island have seen President Obama stretch our nation’s hand of support to the Castro dictatorship and the Cuban people have concluded that this will extend the life of the tyranny so they are escaping in any way they are able.”
(Miami, FL) – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) made the following statement regarding the increase in Cubans arriving to the United States.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"Many Cubans are risking their lives to cross the dangerous Florida Straits or through routes on land in an uncertain journey to our community since the Obama administration’s ill-advised opening to the Castro regime. Cubans on the island have seen President Obama stretch our nation’s hand of support out to the Castro dictatorship and the Cuban people have concluded that this will extend the life of the tyranny so they are escaping in any way they are able. This increase is a testament that the lives of everyday Cubans are not improving due to Castro’s repressive regime which stifles any political or economic freedom or due to President Obama’s disastrous shift in policy.”
Ros-Lehtinen Initiated GAO Review Of U.S. Humanitarian Assistance In Syria Finds That The State Department And USAID Need To Do More to Combat Waste, Fraud, and Abuse
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement at a hearing entitled U.S. Humanitarian Assistance to Syria: Minimizing Risks and Improving Oversight focusing on a GAO review she initiated regarding the use of U.S. taxpayer funds for humanitarian assistance programs in Syria.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“I’d first like to thank all of the individuals and organizations involved in providing humanitarian assistance for the Syrian crisis.
Working in an active conflict zone is incredibly dangerous but also desperately needed – so we thank you and we support you.
Today’s hearing is this subcommittee’s fourth that focuses specifically on the Syrian humanitarian crisis.
It has been an issue we have been following closely since the fighting in Syria began over five years ago, and until the administration gets serious about developing a comprehensive plan to end the conflict, it will unfortunately be an issue we will continue to revisit.
The numbers are truly staggering:
• By most estimates, there have been at least a quarter of a million Syrians killed, and possibly as much as nearly half a million;
• Nearly 5 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries like Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan;
• There are nearly 7 million internally displaced Syrians; and
• More than 13.5 million people are in need of assistance, with about 5.5. million people in besieged and hard-to-reach areas.
We’ve convened this hearing today to see how we can maximize our efforts and limit risks when providing humanitarian assistance.
In addition to the $5 billion already provided, Secretary Kerry announced earlier this week $439 million in additional humanitarian assistance, and the President’s budget request for FY2017 seeks nearly $2.1 billion through accounts that address the humanitarian impact of this crisis.
This is a lot to ask of the U.S. taxpayer, especially when we know that there is no end in sight to this terrible crisis.
That is why Congress must conduct oversight to ensure that this assistance is being used as effectively and efficiently as possible.
And that is why I was pleased to be joined by Ranking Member Deutch, Gerry Connolly and Ron DeSantis in requesting a GAO review of our Syrian humanitarian assistance programs.
This report focuses solely on our programs inside Syria.
With the U.S. no longer having a presence in the country, we have to rely on remote programs and coordinating with implementing partners.
We recognize this brings challenges, but these challenges also make it more important for our agencies to mitigate all risk, because situations like these make our efforts more vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse and diversion.
And that is precisely what GAO and USAID’s Inspector General have found – that we have weaknesses in our humanitarian aid programs in Syria and both State and USAID could improve their fraud oversight.
GAO’s review found that most implementing partners that we work with to provide humanitarian assistance into Syria do not assess the risk of fraud.
Why is this important? Well we will hear from the Inspector General that her office has opened 25 cases to investigate allegations of abuse of USAID funds, with three common fraud schemes.
This obviously raises concerns not only with how USAID and State oversee our assistance programs, but it raises concerns regarding the checks and balances our implementing partners have in place as well.
We rely heavily on our partners, as does the UN – where 75% of all of our assistance is funneled through – and if they are lax in their oversight, we run the risk of wider loss due to waste, fraud, abuse and diversion.
What GAO also found is that not only do most implementing partners not assess the risk of fraud, but their controls for mitigating the risks of fraud and loss were not informed by a risk assessment, so it’s likely that they either don’t know what they are looking for or looking in the wrong place.
And this is why GAO has recommended that USAID and State strengthen their fraud oversight themselves, but they must also require our implementing partners to conduct fraud risk assessments and to ensure monitors are properly trained.
These are common sense recommendations for our efforts in Syria, but they are also common sense for State and USAID across the board.
We provide large sums of money in assistance every year and administer very large programs – we need to be doing everything we can to minimize the risks of waste, fraud, abuse and diversion.
It’s also important because we do send most of our assistance through the UN, and from there, we have less oversight and transparency.
If we can work with our implementing partners to strengthen how they assess the risk of fraud and how they improve their oversight, we have a better chance of maximizing the humanitarian assistance response across the board.
State and USAID are doing a good job with its humanitarian response – but we can always seek to do better.
We all want to ensure we are being proper stewards of American taxpayer dollars, but that we are also promoting our core ideals and values as Americans by doing what we can to help those suffering from the ongoing conflict in Syria.
So I am eager to hear from our witnesses on how we can accomplish both objectives without sacrificing our ability to assist those in dire need.”
Working to Restore South Florida’s Coral Reefs, Ros-Lehtinen and Curbelo Introduce the bipartisan CORAL Act
“Our community faces a stark choice: we can continue to view sea level rise and ocean change as insurmountable threats that will engulf our livelihoods, or we can focus on the opportunity that South Florida has to revitalize our coral reefs, our coastal economy, and our unique, seaside lifestyle by meeting these challenges head on. My CORAL Act charts a course to tackle the real problems impacting our reefs and incentivizes research to develop the cutting edge techniques and tools that will be needed to restore our coral reefs for the benefit of generations of South Floridians to come.”
(Washington, DC) – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) introduced the Conserving Our Reefs And Livelihoods (CORAL) Act (H.R. 5771), which she authored, along with original co-sponsors Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (AS-AL), Pedro R. Pierluisi (PR-AL) to amend and reauthorize the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000. Ros-Lehtinen’s bipartisan CORAL Act acknowledges that the environmental and economic benefits of coral reefs are intertwined and gives all stakeholders a place at the table to help develop consensus-based and scientifically-rigorous conservation and restoration efforts in U.S. waters.
South Florida is home to the third largest barrier reef in the world, but coral cover has declined on the Florida Reef Tract and on many other Caribbean reefs by up to 80% since the 1980s. At least one recent scientific study has demonstrated that coral cover declined as fast in no-take reserves as in fished areas of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, suggesting that recent efforts to simply cordon off areas from fishing and other recreational activities in the hopes that corals will grow back are woefully insufficient solutions. Poor water quality, warming seas, ocean acidification, coral diseases, and invasive species do not respect marine reserve boundaries, and scientists regularly acknowledge these factors as the greatest threats to our reefs.
Despite the ongoing decline of our coral reefs, they remain an important economic engine in South Florida, contributing to billions in additional revenue generated in our region each year.
The CORAL Act will also promote active restoration activities throughout South Florida and other tropical U.S. waters. Restored reefs will further increase economic activity through better fishing, diving, recreation, and tourism. And healthy coral growth will allow reefs to keep pace with rising seas to limit the potentially devastating impacts of storm surge on our coasts in the future.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I authored the CORAL Act and am proud to introduce it along with my friend, Carlos, to begin to solve these largescale and long-term problems and develop effective solutions that improve our coastal environment and buoy our local economy through better fishing, diving, snorkeling, other recreational opportunities, and tourism. Our community faces a stark choice: we can continue to view sea level rise and ocean change as insurmountable threats that will engulf our livelihoods, or we can focus on the opportunity that South Florida has to revitalize our coral reefs, our coastal economy, and our unique, seaside lifestyle by meeting these challenges head on. My CORAL Act charts a course to tackle the real problems impacting our reefs and incentivizes research to develop the cutting edge techniques and tools that will be needed to restore our coral reefs for the benefit of generations of South Floridians to come.”
Statement by Curbelo:
“Amidst significant disease outbreaks, coupled with coral bleaching events, the health of our coral reef ecosystems are being threatened on a constant basis. Rising sea levels are only amplifying these complications and continue to impose a threat to South Florida’s community and way of life. The CORAL Act works to build upon and amend the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 by restoring our coral reefs through revitalization projects. I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation with my friend and colleague Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. This bill serves as an excellent catalyst to ensuring the safety of our South Florida aquatic plants and animals.”
The following organizations have expressed support for the Conserving Our Reefs And Livelihoods Act (listed by alphabetical order):
"Coral reefs are treasured by anglers as critically important fish habitat, but they face numerous serious threats. These valuable, but vulnerable, systems help support Florida's $9.3 billion recreational fishing economy. We support the efforts of Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Curbelo to modernize and enhance efforts to conserve coral reefs."
-Mike Nussman, President and CEO of the American Sportfishing Association
"We at the Center for Coastal Conservation commend Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Curbelo on the balanced and thoughtful approach to coral reef conservation that their CORAL Act represents. U.S. coral reefs are important environmental and recreational resources. The CORAL Act will ensure that these resources are properly conserved and restored, and available for the continued enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans."
-Jeff Angers, President of the Center for Coastal Conservation
"Citizens’ Climate Lobby applauds U.S. Reps Ros-Lehtinen and Curbelo for their leadership in protecting and restoring our critical coral ecosystems. The CORAL Act would be a smart and useful way for the United States to confront challenges posed by a warming planet and ocean acidification. Responding to a threat requires understanding that threat. This legislation would enable researchers with the scope to ask the right questions as well as the funding to pursue the answers we need.”
-Mark Reynolds, Executive Director for Citizens’ Climate Lobby
“As conservationists and anglers, we appreciate the critical role coral reefs play in the ocean ecosystem and the fragility of these unique environments. We applaud the efforts of Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Curbelo to devise comprehensive solutions to these challenges."
-Ted Venker, National Conservation Director for the Coastal Conservation Association
"The Florida Aquarium is proud to support the CORAL Act. The Aquarium's successful and unique coral restoration program, focused on growing genetically resilient corals in lab and in-situ, is in perfect sync with the bill's goals and we look forward to supporting its passage."
-Thom Stork, Executive Director of the Florida Aquarium
"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission appreciates these thoughtful efforts to understand and address the serious concerns facing Florida's valuable coral reef systems."
-Nick Wiley, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
"As Florida International University embarks on establishing the deepest coral nursery in the world in partnership with the Coral Restoration Foundation at the FIU Aquarius Reef Base, we are grateful to see this legislative effort to provide new tools to help protect and restore our reefs. Aquarius Reef Base has provided a unique opportunity to view the loss of corals along the Florida Reef tract since 1992, despite the fact that it is already under protection within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. It is obvious that this current level of protection has not been adequate to protect the reefs that are the backbone of our tourism and fishing industries in South Florida. We thank our Congressional Champions, Representatives Ros-Lehtinen and Curbelo, for sponsoring this legislation."
-James W. Fourqurean, Professor and Director of Florida International University's Marine Education and Research Initiative
"We applaud the hard work and leadership of Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Curbelo with the development of the CORAL Act for the benefit of the resource and all Americans. Healthy coral reefs are synonymous with a healthy South Florida economy stimulated by recreational and commercial activity. The CORAL Act is a sensible and dynamic approach to real issues such as ocean acidification, sea-level rise and changing climactic conditions through properly applied science and solid management principles."
-Capt. Bill Kelly, Executive Director of the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association
"Mote Marine Laboratory underscores the critical importance of restoring our coral reefs now, and fully supports the Coral Reef Conservation Act. Our Nation and the world depend on healthy coral reefs as a significant foundation for economic vitality, tourism, cultural values, quality of life, and the resiliency of numerous coastal communities. The prevalence of coral bleaching, ocean acidification and coral disease worldwide provide overwhelming evidence that the urgency of implementing new science-based methods for restoring and conserving coral reefs is more vital now than ever before."
-Dr. Michael P. Crosby, President and CEO of the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
“The National Marine Manufacturers Association applauds the efforts of Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo to protect and preserve the country’s coral reef system and South Florida’s coastal economy, both treasures to boaters and anglers – our country’s original conservationists – who experience these waterways firsthand every day.”
-Thom Dammrich, President of the National Marine Manufacturers Association
“We support your work to reauthorize and improve the Coral Reef Conservation Act. South Florida is home to 84 percent of coral reefs in US waters. They are extremely valuable and productive ecosystems that support our fisheries, beaches, and regional economy. Economic studies conducted by NOAA over a decade ago show that Florida’s coral reefs contribute over $6 billion in direct economic impact and support 71,000 jobs. There is an urgent and pressing need for new scientific research to help our federal, state, and local officials properly manage this critical resource. We greatly appreciate your leadership on this important issue and look forward to working with you to pass urgently needed legislation to protect and preserve our valuable coral reef ecosystems.”
-Dr. Richard E. Dodge, Dean of Nova Southeastern University’s Halmos College of Natural Science and Oceanography
“SeaWorld supports the CORAL Act because it recognizes the critical role coral reefs have in sustaining healthy oceans. That’s why we started Rising Tide, a coalition working to find ways to better protect coral reefs, wild fish and their ecosystems from overfishing and human development. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s leadership on this issue is so important because we know it will take all of us – governments, the private sector and concerned individuals to learn about our oceans, be inspired by them and work together to protect them.”
-Jill Kermes, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
“Living in a state whose identity and fortune are inextricably linked to the ocean, we consider coral reef conservation and ocean acidification research a top priority. The University of Miami’s world-class scientific capacity and expertise can help Florida prepare and respond to the impacts of acidification, but more research and funding are needed. We are grateful that the CORAL Act answers this call.”
-Dr. Roni Avissar, Dean of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
NOTE: To view the bill, please click here.
BIPARTISAN FLORIDA DELEGATION PUSHES TO PROTECT STATE'S SHORES FROM SEISMIC TESTING
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18) led a bipartisan effort with fellow Florida Representatives David Jolly (FL-13), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Curt Clawson (FL-19), Ted Deutch (FL-21), Gwen Graham (FL-02), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Bill Posey (FL-08), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), and Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24) to ban seismic testing off Florida's coasts. Seismic testing is the first step in offshore drilling and can have negative impacts on endangered whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and other marine life in addition to potentially displacing commercial and recreational fishing stocks.
"Seismic testing is the first step in the wrong direction. Further offshore oil exploration poses a serious risk to our environment and our economy," said Rep. Patrick E. Murphy. "I am proud that our delegation continues to stand strong against efforts to open the door to offshore drilling by calling for a ban on seismic testing off our shores."
“Prohibiting seismic testing in the Atlantic and Eastern Gulf ensures that these areas remain off limits to oil drilling. Seismic testing can be detrimental to our ocean ecosystems, and there is no reason to conduct such harmful testing when drilling is not currently permitted in these areas,” Rep. David Jolly said.
“Drilling off Florida’s beaches places our entire state’s ecology and economy at risk,” Rep. Gwen Graham said. “In North Florida we saw the devastating effects of an oil spill, firsthand – and that was without oil ever reaching our shores. We need to stand together as a delegation, Republicans and Democrats, to fight drilling off Florida’s beaches.”
“I will be the very last person in Congress to support expanded offshore drilling. Given the severe impacts it has on marine life, seismic blasting is just not worth it,” said Rep. Alcee L. Hastings. “I am pleased to join Rep. Murphy’s amendment and thank him for his leadership on this issue.”
“Our amendment will ensure that marine mammals and other sea life off the coast of Florida are protected from potential dangers of seismic testing activities,” said Rep. Bill Posey.
“South Florida’s precious environmental resources, from our coral reefs and fisheries to our world-renowned beaches, are critical to the region’s economy and resilience. We cannot afford to sacrifice our coastal environment, our economy, or our livelihoods by inviting the imminent threat of an oil spill right off our shores,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Committed to protecting Florida's environment, Murphy joined with U.S. Representatives Bill Posey (FL-08), Gwen Graham (FL-02), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), Lois Frankel (FL-22), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) early in the 114th Congress to introduce legislation prohibiting seismic testing along Florida’s Atlantic coast. The legislation received the support of three of the nation’s leading environmental groups - the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Oceana, and the National Park Conservation Association.Read More
Reaffirming America’s Special Relationship with UK, Ros-Lehtinen Joins Chairman Brady in Introducing Resolution Calling for a Bilateral U.S.-UK Trade Agreement
(Washington, DC) - U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, joined Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, in introducing H.Con.Res 146 – a resolution expressing strong support for closer economic and commercial ties between the United States and the United Kingdom following the decision of the people of the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“I’m pleased to join Chairman Brady in introducing this resolution that reaffirms America’s commitment to the United Kingdom and that special relationship we share with our transatlantic ally. Last month, the majority of British citizens voted to begin the process to leave the European Union. While this may raise short-term concerns, one way to ease these concerns is for the United States to move toward establishing a free trade agreement with the UK and guarantee Britain’s economic stability and viability for years to come. Our two nations will be forever intertwined given our shared history and our shared values and principles, and with this resolution, we will advance our mutual interests by beginning the process to bolster our economic and commercial ties.”
En Respuesta a Maniobras Anti-Democráticas de Ortega en Nicaragua, Ros-Lehtinen y Sires Presentan Legislación Bipartidista Pidiendo Que los EEUU se Oponga a Prestamos al Régimen Nicaragüense a Menos Que Pasos Eficaces Sean Tomados Para Tener Elecciones Libres, Justas, y Transparentes
Washington, DC – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Presidente del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, y el Congresista Albio Sires (D-NJ), Miembro de Alto Rango del Subcomité del Hemisferio Occidental, presentaron H.R. 5708 – el Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) de 2016. Este proyecto de ley urge al presidente que instruya a los Directores Ejecutivos Estadounidenses y cada institución financiera que usen su voz, voto, e influencia de nuestro país para oponerse a cualquier préstamo para el régimen nicaragüense, hasta que el Secretario de Estado certifique que Nicaragua está tomando acciones eficaces para celebrar elecciones libres, justas, y transparentes verificadas por observadores confiables domésticos e internacionales, promover principios democráticos, fortalecer el estado de derecho, y respetar la libertad de asociación y expresión.
“Este año, Daniel Ortega ha negado a observadores electorales internacionales de la Unión Europea, los Estados Unidos, y la Organización de Estados Americanos observar las elecciones presidenciales siguientes, ha expulsado oficiales del gobierno estadounidense, y ha acosado a empleados de organizaciones no gubernamentales. Estas acciones anti-democráticas del régimen de Ortega son inaceptables y deben ser respondidas con una respuesta fuerte de los Estados Unidos. Ortega sigue violando los derechos humanos del pueblo de Nicaragua, sigue ignorando la Constitución de Nicaragua, y sigue usando la rama judicial y el consejo electoral para mantenerse en el poder de cualquier manera. Este proyecto de ley bipartidista manda que el gobierno de nuestro país se oponga a préstamos hacia Nicaragua para que Ortega sea responsabilizado por sus acciones destructivas y represivas.”
“El gobierno de Ortega ha sido insolente sobre las ideas democráticas que pretenden apoyar. En años recientes, campañas sobre la opresión política, prensa libre, y la brutalidad de la policía ha llegado a ser lo habitual. Lo más preocupante es que Ortega sigue sofocando partidos políticos pero pretende tener elecciones ‘libre y justas’ y hasta ha expulsado oficiales de nuestro gobierno y ha detenido y expulsado empleados de organizaciones no gubernamentales viajando para hacer investigaciones. Este desvío fuera de la democracia no puede ser ignorado, permitiendo que Ortega continúe oprimiendo personas inocentes sin consecuencia.”
NOTA: Copatrocinadores originales del Congreso de este proyecto de ley (5 Miembros Republicanos y 5 Miembros Demócratas) son: Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Ted Yoho (R-FL), y Brendan Boyle (D-PA).
In Response To Nicaragua’s Ortega Anti-Democratic Antics, Ros-Lehtinen And Sires Introduce Bipartisan Legislation Calling For The U.S. To Oppose Loans To Nicaragua’s Regime Unless Effective Steps Are Taken To Hold Free, Fair, and Transparent Elections
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, and Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, introduced H.R. 5708 – the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA) of 2016. The bill urges the President to instruct the U.S. Executive Directors at each international financial institution to use the voice, vote, and influence of the U.S. to oppose any loan for the Nicaraguan regime unless the Secretary of State certifies that Nicaragua is taking effective steps to hold free, fair, and transparent elections overseen by credible domestic and international electoral observers, promote democratic principles, strengthen the rule of law, and respect the right to freedom of association and expression.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“This year, Daniel Ortega has denied international electoral observers from the European Union and the Organization of American States from observing the upcoming presidential elections, has expelled U.S. government officials, and has harassed personnel from non-governmental organizations. These anti-democratic actions from the Ortega regime are unacceptable and must be met with a strong response from the United States. Ortega continues to violate the human rights of the people of Nicaragua, continues to ignore the Nicaraguan Constitution, and continues to use the judicial branch and the electoral council to hold onto power at any means. This bipartisan bill mandates for the U.S. to oppose international loans to Nicaragua so that Ortega is held accountable for his destructive and repressive actions.”
Statement by Sires:
“The Ortega government has become increasingly flippant towards the democratic ideals it espouses to uphold. In recent years, crackdowns on political opposition, free press, and police brutality have become the norm. Even more troubling, Ortega continues to stifle any political parties but claims to have ‘free and fair’ elections and has even expelled U.S. government officials and detained and expelled non-government official traveling to conduct research. This backsliding away from democracy cannot go unnoticed, allowing Ortega to continue oppressing innocent people without any consequences.”
NOTE: Original Congressional cosponsors of this legislation (5 Republican and 5 Democratic Members) are: Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Brendan Boyle (D-PA).
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.
Retweeted by roslehtinen
Retweeted by roslehtinen
Retweeted by roslehtinen
Retweeted by roslehtinen