Ros-Lehtinen, Sherman, Garamendi, Nelson, and Rubio Introduce Bipartisan Bills to Restore Rights of Holocaust Survivors
“Now Congress has an opportunity to address the lingering injustices that Holocaust survivors have faced for over 70 years by restoring their rights and finally giving them, their heirs and the heirs of victims an opportunity to bring their cases before a federal judge”
(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 upon introducing H.R. 6279 – the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act of 2016 – alongside U.S. Reps. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and John Garemendi (D-CA). Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) also introduced the Senate companion, S. 3418. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Congress has overwhelmingly voted – for the second time – to allow the families and victims of 9/11 to finally have their day in court after 15 years and to seek the justice that has evaded them since that fateful day. Now Congress has an opportunity to address the lingering injustices that Holocaust survivors have faced for over 70 years by restoring their rights and finally giving them, their heirs and the heirs of victims an opportunity to bring their cases before a federal judge. For far too long, insurance companies have been allowed to deny just compensation to victims of the Holocaust by placing undue burdens on them and by hiding behind bureaucratic red tape which has prevented cases from being brought against these insurance companies in the U.S.
“We can no longer allow survivors and their families to continue to be victimized by those who benefitted from the atrocities of the Holocaust and we must no longer allow U.S. citizens to continue to be denied their right of access to our legal system. That is why I am pleased to be joined by Brad, John, Bill and Marco in introducing this bill and why I will continue to fight to ensure that these insurance companies are held accountable for the seven decades of continued exploitation of victims of the Holocaust.”
Note: H.R. 6279 validates state laws enacted to require insurance companies to disclose the names of Holocaust-era policyholders. It would also allow beneficiaries of Holocaust insurance policies and their heirs to bring suits in U.S. courts to recover any proceeds under the policies to which they may be entitled.
Background: Following World War II, Holocaust survivors and the heirs of victims filed claims on policies with their insurance companies. In many cases, the insurance companies rejected these claims due to the absence of death certificates and policy documents, which were often confiscated by Nazi authorities, leaving the insurance companies themselves with the only proof of the existence of insurance policies.Read More
Ros-Lehtinen Helps Pass Critical Zika Funding Bill, Urges Continued Coordination To Eliminate Virus’s Foothold in South Florida
“While the funds contained in this bill should never have been subject to delays over political wrangling, I am pleased that Congress has finally recognized South Florida's serious need for these critical funds to fight and contain the Zika virus.”
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen made the following statement after Congress approved H.R. 5325, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act of 2017. The bill funds continued federal government operations through December 9, 2016 and includes new resources for Military Construction and Veterans Affairs through Fiscal Year 2017. Finally, the bill includes $1.1 billion to combat the Zika virus in South Florida and across the country.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“For months, I have been engaged in working to activate and shape the federal response to Zika. While the funds contained in this bill should never have been subject to delays over political wrangling, I am pleased that Congress has finally recognized South Florida's serious need for these critical funds to fight and contain the Zika virus. This bill will enable federal agencies and their state and local partners to continue essential research and development for new tools, from safe and effective mosquito control to a Zika vaccine, while also providing additional healthcare resources and small business support for South Florida and other significantly impacted communities. However, the difficult job of eradicating Zika is not done. I will continue working to support local, state, and federal authorities in their efforts to repel and eliminate the Zika threat from South Florida as quickly as possible.”
Ros-Lehtinen Votes to Jumpstart Everglades Restoration and Enhance Beach Renourishment Options for South Florida
“Along with key members of our south Florida Congressional delegation, notably Reps. Lois Frankel and Carlos Curbelo, I am proud to have helped deliver true results in these important efforts to make South Florida’s environment and economy more resilient for the benefit of everyone in our community.”
(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen voted in favor of H.R. 5303, the Water Resources Development Act. The bill included important provisions for South Florida including federal authorization for the Central Everglades Planning Project that will improve freshwater delivery to Everglades National Park and Florida Bay, and more enhanced flexibility for local municipalities to select foreign sources of sand, including from the Bahamas, to improve quality and hold down costs of beach renourishment efforts. Statement by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen:
“We have been working diligently in South Florida for federal authorization of an essential phase of Everglades restoration and for more flexibility in sand source selection for beach renourishment projects up and down our coasts, but our work has finally paid off. Along with key members of our South Florida Congressional delegation, notably Reps. Lois Frankel and Carlos Curbelo, I am proud to have helped deliver true results in these important efforts to make South Florida’s environment and economy more resilient for the benefit of everyone in our community.”Read More
Ros-Lehtinen to Join U.S. Delegation Attending Shimon Peres Funeral in Jerusalem
(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 before departing with the U.S. delegation to Shimon Peres’ funeral in Jerusalem. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Shimon Peres was an icon; he was a founding father of the democratic Jewish State of Israel, a man of peace and a statesman. The world mourns his loss, but many of us mourn the loss of a friend. I can think of no greater honor than to help represent the United States of America in wishing Shimon’s soul be bound in the bond of eternal life. His legacy will forever live on in our hearts and our minds, but it will also live on in the unbreakable bond that he helped to forge between the U.S. and Israel. May his memory be a blessing.”Read More
Ros-Lehtinen, Engel, Salmon, Sherman, Chabot, and Sires Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Extend U.S. Efforts to Promote and Protect Human Rights in North Korea
“So much attention has been focused on the five nuclear tests conducted by the Kim regime over the past 10 years – including two earlier this year – that it’s easy to forget just how evil and brutal the regime in North Korea has been to its own people”
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, introduced today a bipartisan bill, H.R. 6209, alongside Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and senior committee members Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), that extends the authorities under the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004 in order to allow the U.S. to continue its efforts to promote human rights in North Korea. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“So much attention has been focused on the five nuclear tests conducted by the Kim regime over the past 10 years – including two earlier this year – that it’s easy to forget just how evil and brutal the regime in North Korea has been to its own people. Pyongyang has silenced dissent under threat of death and has eliminated basic and fundamental human rights to which all people are entitled. Countless individuals have been thrown into gulags and worked and tortured to death, with countless more suffering from malnourishment and starvation. This bill will extend our current efforts to promote and protect human rights in North Korea and it will continue to shine a light on the injustices being perpetrated by the regime with the hopes of spreading stability, peace and freedom to the entire Korean Peninsula.”
NOTE: H.R. 6209 extends until 2022 the authorities of the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, which have been subsequently reauthorized and strengthened in 2008 and 2012 by laws also authored by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. The bill continues current authorities for North Korea-focused activities to promote human rights and democracy, refugee protection, and freedom of information (including broadcasting), as well as the U.S. Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights Issues. It also continues reporting aimed at increasing transparency and accountability for any food aid provided to North Korea.Read More
Ros- Lehtinen Responde a la Nominación de Embajador a Cuba
"Este anuncio es una farsa y una bofetada para todos los ciudadanos de Cuba que claman por libertad y para los valores y principios americanos"
(Washington, DC) – Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen(R-FL), Presidente del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, hizo la siguiente declaración respondiendo a la nominación de embajador a Cuba hecha por el Presidente Obama. Declaracion de Ros-Lehtinen:
“Con el anuncio de su plan para nominar un embajador a Cuba, el Presidente Obama sigue promoviendo una política hacia la Cuba de Castro ya fallida. Desde diciembre 2014, hemos visto concesión tras concesión incondicional y unilateral hacia el régimen cubano, pero no habido ningún movimiento para libertad ni democracia en la isla. Tenemos que preguntarnos porque la administración hizo este anuncio ahora- que ha cambiado, porque le tenemos que dar a Los hermanos Castro la legitimidad que trae un Embajador Americano? Las Damas de Blanco siguen siendo golpeadas a diario, Coco Fariñas estuvo en huelga de hambre por más de 50 días para protestar la represión constante del régimen de Castro. Y la administración responde a estos hechos con una nominación de embajador, legitimando las tácticas brutales del régimen de Castro a la comunidad internacional. Este anuncio es una farsa y una bofetada para todos los ciudadanos de Cuba que claman por libertad y para los valores y principios americanos. Debemos defender al pueblo cubano y promover y proteger la libertad y democracia, no facilitando la represión y la falta de derechos humanos más básicos y fundamentales.”Read More
Ros-Lehtinen Statement on the Nomination of Ambassador to Cuba
“This announcement is a sham and a direct slap in the face to the people of Cuba and to American ideals and values”
(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 in response to President Obama’s nomination of an ambassador to Cuba. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“In announcing his plans to nominate an ambassador to Cuba, President Obama is continuing to push an already failed and dangerous Cuba policy. Ever since December 2014, we have seen unconditional and unilateral concession after concession to the Cuban regime, none of which have moved the needle even one inch toward the direction of freedom and democracy on the island. You have to wonder why the administration would move to make this announcement at this time – what has changed, why should Cuba be granted the legitimacy that a U.S. ambassador would represent now? The Ladies in White continue to be beaten on a daily basis; Coco Fariñas went on a hunger strike for over 50 days to protest the continued repression by the Castro regime. And the administration’s response to this is to nominate an ambassador and legitimize the brutal tactics of the Castro regime for the international community. This announcement is a sham and a direct slap in the face to the people of Cuba and to American ideals and values. We should be standing up for the Cuban people and promoting and protecting freedom and democracy, not facilitating those who would seek to curtail even the most basic and fundamental human rights.”Read More
Declaraciones de Ros-Lehtinen y Wasserman Schultz Tras La Aprobación de la Resolución de Apoyo a Venezuela
Washington, DC – Congresistas Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) y Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) hicieron las siguientes declaraciones después que la Cámara de Representantes aprobó H. Res 851 que urge la liberación de prisioneros políticos, expresa una profunda preocupación sobre la crisis política, económica, social, y humanitaria que está ocurriendo en Venezuela, y pide respeto para la constitución y el proceso democrático.
Declaración de Ros-Lehtinen:
“Estoy honrada de estar junto a mi colega de la Florida, Debbie Wasserman Schultz a fin de aprobar otra Resolución Venezolana bipartidista en la Cámara de Representantes, condenando las políticas equivocadas del régimen corrupto de Maduro. Al mismo tiempo, esta resolución aboga por la liberación de los prisioneros políticos, incluyendo a ciudadanos americanos, y por el respeto a los principios democráticos. No podemos dejar que Maduro continúe parando el proceso democrático en Venezuela para su propia ganancia política. Las situaciones humanitarias, económicas, y políticas en Venezuela continúan deteriorando con rapidez y la comunidad internacional necesita reenfocar sus esfuerzos para ayudar a los venezolanos que anhelan libertad y la celebración de elecciones en 2016.”
Declaración de Wasserman Schultz:
“Esta resolución declara en términos precisos que la corrupción desenfrenada y vergonzosa del Presidente Maduro en Venezuela debe terminar. Ha encarcelado a adversarios políticos, administrado mal la economía, y continúa negando el referendo pedido por miles de venezolanos. Familias en toda Venezuela están muriendo de hambre, y las estanterías en sus tiendas locales están vacías sin alimentos ni medicinas. Los venezolanos claman para que sus voces sean escuchadas y sus derechos sean respetados, y nosotros debemos asegurar que no clamen en vano. Le agradezco a mi colega y amiga del Sur de la Florida, Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, y a los miembros bipartidistas que han apoyado esta ley, por su liderazgo en esta legislación importante.”Read More
Ros-Lehtinen and Wasserman Schultz Statements on Passage of Resolution Supporting Venezuela
Washington, DC – U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) issued the following statements today after the passage of H. Res. 851 which expresses profound concern about the ongoing political, economic, social and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela, urges the release of political prisoners, and calls for respect of constitutional and democratic processes:
“I am honored to stand alongside my South Florida colleague Debbie Wasserman Schultz in order to pass another bipartisan Venezuela resolution in the House of Representatives to condemn the misguided policies of Maduro’s corrupt regime while advocating for the release of all political prisoners, including U.S. citizens, and for the respect of democratic principles. We must not let Maduro continue to stall the democratic processes in Venezuela for his own political gain. The humanitarian, economic, and political situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate quickly and the international community needs to re-focus its efforts to help the Venezuelan people who are yearning for freedom and for convening recall elections in 2016,” said. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27).
“This resolution states in no uncertain terms that President Maduro’s shameful and rampant corruption in Venezuela must end. He has jailed political opponents, mismanaged the economy, and continued to refuse millions of Venezuelans calls for a referendum. Families all across Venezuela are starving, and their local stores’ shelves are empty of both food and life-saving medicine. The Venezuelan people are crying out for their voices to be heard and their rights respected, and we must ensure they are not crying out in vain. I thank my South Florida friend and colleague, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, as well as the bipartisan Members who supported the bill, for their leadership on this important legislation,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23).Read More
Ros-Lehtinen Responde a los Ataques Sin Base de Ortega
“Las acusaciones sin base de Ortega solo son su más reciente intento para desvirtuar la atención de los abusos a los derechos humanos y actos de corrupción e intimidación que ha perpetrado en Nicaragua, pero no ha convencido a nadie.”
(Miami, FL) – Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Presidente del Subcomité de Medio Oriente y África del Norte, hizo la siguiente declaración en respuesta a las acusaciones de Daniel Ortega, diciendo que ella estaba involucrada en “Campañas Mediáticas de desinformación e intimidación contra los Procesos Democráticos, Plurales y Progresistas.” Declaración de Ros-Lehtinen:
“Ortega me ha acusado de estar involucrada en ‘Campañas Mediáticas de desinformación e intimidación,’ cuando la realidad es que él está proyectando sus actos de represión en mí y demostrando su intranquilidad con la atención que la comunidad internacional le está prestando a la manera en que él ha deteriorado el proceso democrático en Nicaragua. El NICA Act está completamente fundado en hechos - acciones, fáciles de verificar y políticamente motivadas, tomadas por Ortega para socavar el proceso democrático en Nicaragua.
“Los hechos son claros: Ortega dice que está dedicado a la paz pero ordena a la policía y a los militares que cometan actos violando los derechos humanos e intimidando a los ciudadanos nicaragüenses, incluyendo a través de los tanques rusos; Ortega declara que está dedicado a buena gobernación, pero bajo su régimen, la única buena gobernación está donde su familia y solo su familia está en control de todos los sectores de instituciones nicaragüenses; Ortega profesa su dedicación al diálogo y consenso, sin embargo ha usado su poder para injustamente suspender a 28 diputados de la oposición de la Asamblea Nacional mientras nombraba a su esposa como compañera de fórmula para garantizar que su dinastía se quede en poder.
“Las acusaciones sin base de Ortega solo son su más reciente intento para desvirtuar la atención de los abusos a los derechos humanos y actos de corrupción e intimidación que ha perpetrado en Nicaragua, pero no ha convencido a nadie. A Ortega le gusta simular que sus actos abusivos son acuerdo a normas internacionales, sin embargo el Articulo 3 de la Carta Democrática Interamericana demanda elecciones libres y justas que no existen en Nicaragua. Ha habido una clara disrupción a la orden democrática en Nicaragua y le urjo a las naciones responsables en el hemisferio y a la Organización de Estados Americanos que invoquen el Articulo 20 de la Carta Democrática Interamericana convocando una sesión inmediata del Consejo Permanente para fomentar la restauración de la democracia en Nicaragua.”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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