Ros-Lehtinen, Perlmutter Introduce Bill to Help Prevent Cancer Patients from Defaulting on Student Loans During Treatment
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) introduced HR 2976, the Deferment for Active Cancer Treatment Act, which would enable individuals who are diagnosed with cancer to defer payments on public student loans while actively receiving treatment without interest accruing during the deferment period. This bill will help provide patients with desperately needed financial peace of mind while they wage their battle against cancer. It is also a common sense solution to address the rising number of student loans defaults amongst borrowers by empowering patients to continue repayment after they are back to full health.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“No person should have to endure cancer treatments while being concerned about pending student loan payments. We should show compassion and help those who are living likely the most difficult period of their lives and allow them to focus on beating cancer, not fretting about repayments and answering to creditors, and this bill will do just that. During the difficulties of those we are called upon to help, not hinder, their treacherous road. I would also like to thank Critical Mass: the young adult cancer alliance for their help in making this bill a reality. I look forward to working with my colleagues to make sure that this bill becomes law and that we provide this much needed assistance to cancer patients throughout our nation.”
Statement by Perlmutter:
"“The hardships created for individuals and families dealing with a cancer diagnosis is only exacerbated by the financial burden of a student loan when one is receiving active treatment. It should be a no brainer while an individual is receiving treatment to defer payments without penalty during this difficult time.”
Egyptian and Tunisian Enterprise Funds Need Continued U.S. Support and Oversight, Can Be Profitable Economic Development Tools, Says Ros-Lehtinen
“Last month, I was proud to introduce, alongside Ranking Member Deutch and a number of our colleagues, a bill that would authorize a new enterprise fund for another U.S. ally: Jordan.”
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement today at a subcommittee hearing entitled, “Grading the Egyptian and Tunisian Enterprise Funds.” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“When the Obama administration proposed establishing enterprise funds in Egypt and Tunisia in 2011, I admit that I was skeptical. Previous versions of these U.S.-funded entities, first established by the George H. W. Bush administration following the breakup of the Soviet Union, had a mixed track record. Establishing new funds in Tunisia and especially in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood had just taken power, seemed like a risky proposition. So despite a rocky start, I’m happy to see that these funds have made some positive progress.
And one thing we learned from the previous reviews and hearings on enterprise funds is that the capabilities of each fund’s chairman and board of directors may be the single most determining factor of that success. So I commend both Jim and Bo for their tremendous work over the past few years – we are grateful to each of you gentlemen for your time and for you leadership
And as Jim and Bo lay out in their written testimony, the road getting here was not easy, especially working in two countries with rapidly changing political conditions, difficult regulatory environments, and in need of serious economic reforms. Although both funds are still in relatively early stages, it is an opportune time to provide Congressional oversight and take a look at how each fund is fulfilling its dual mandate: making a profit and developing their respective private sectors.
In Egypt, we are finally seeing some positive economic signs after years of being on what seemed to be the edge of a crisis. Foreign direct investment is increasing, investors are buying Egyptian bonds, and the foreign currency shortage has abated. With difficult austerity measures already in place, it is critical that President Sisi continues to make the hard decisions necessary for long-term growth.
In Tunisia, the government is also taking important steps to reform the economy, including raising interest rates and launching an initiative to tackle corruption. In addition to corruption, however, there are still many other concerns, including underemployment of educated Tunisians, an extremely high unemployment rate among working-age youth, and a tourism sector that has still not recovered from several devastating terrorist attacks.
Reforming the economy in both Egypt and Tunisia is no easy task and it’s going to take an extraordinary amount of political will from each of their governments – in addition to international assistance – to make the necessary changes. That is one reason why so many people are excited about the prospect of these Enterprise Funds and the economic assistance opportunities that they can provide. In Egypt’s case, the Sisi government continues to prevent programming of regular U.S. economic assistance through both international and domestic NGOs, and we still have a backlog of hundreds of millions of Economic Support Fund dollars. And in the case of Tunisia, I am concerned that we are not providing the level of assistance that is required to meet U.S. stability and security goals in the region. The President’s proposed cuts to both the FMF and ESF accounts for Tunisia would unnecessarily hinder our ability to assist with our partner’s crucial democratic transition.
As important U.S. allies, both Egypt and Tunisia’s economic well-being are critical to U.S. interests, and it is important that we find ways to support them any way we can. Last month, I was proud to introduce, alongside Ranking Member Deutch and a number of our colleagues, a bill that would authorize a new enterprise fund for another U.S. ally: Jordan. With the Chairmen of the Egyptian-American and Tunisian-American Enterprise Funds here with us today, I am hoping that, in addition to answering questions about their funds and addressing any concerns Members may have, they will also provide recommendations for setting up a fund in Jordan.
While enterprise funds should not be looked upon as a panacea, it is clear that they can be powerful drivers of economic growth and spur the necessary development of sustainable private sectors – and turn a profit at the same time. I look forward to hearing our witnesses’ thoughts about enterprise funds as a foreign policy tool as well as any lessons that they may have learned along the way.”Read More
REPS. ROS-LEHTINEN AND LIEU INTRODUCE WORLD REFUGEE DAY RESOLUTION
WASHINGTON - Today, on World Refugee Day, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R I Florida) introduced a House Resolution reaffirming the United States’ commitment to the protection of refugees and displaced persons. Rep. Lieu introduced a similar bill in the 114th Congress.
Upon introduction of the resolution Reps. Ros-Lehtinen and Lieu issued the following statements:
“World Refugee Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves of our nation’s tradition of welcoming the oppressed from all corners of the globe,” said Representative Ros-Lehtinen. “As a refugee who fled communist Cuba, I’m proud to introduce this resolution with my colleague, Ted, stressing the importance helping those fleeing conflict, strife, and repression. I continue to support the important work of U.S. agencies responsible for helping displaced refugees. This bipartisan resolution recognizes the importance of welcoming those who want to contribute and build a better life, especially when they are fleeing often unspeakable horrors.”
“Right now, the world faces the worst displacement crisis in history,” said Representative Lieu. “As refugees flee violence and persecution in search of peace and freedom, they are faced with some of the most difficult conditions imaginable. Children are set back a generation without access to education, families are stuck in waiting, and countries that neighbor conflict zones struggle to accommodate for the sudden influx of people. As an immigrant and a Veteran, I know that that protecting the most vulnerable people among us via the U.S. resettlement program and humanitarian assistance abroad promotes our core values and protects our national security interests. It is critical that we answer the growing protectionist attitudes throughout the world with a clear, bipartisan message that we stand #WithRefugees, regardless of their national origin or religion. On this World Refugee Day, I am proud to introduce legislation with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen and over 40 of our House colleagues to reaffirm U.S. leadership in promoting the health, safety and well-being of refugees.”
THIS BILL IS SUPPORTED BY: Alianza Americas, Alternative Chance, America's Voice Education Fund, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Jewish Committee (AJC), Amnesty International USA, Arkansas United Community Coalition, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC, Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, Border Action Network, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Center for Victims of Torture, Central American Resource Center, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Refugee & Immigration Ministries, Christian Community Development Association, Church World Service (CWS), Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS), Exodus Refugee Immigration Inc., Fair Immigration Reform Movement, Faith Voices Arkansas, Florida Council of Churches, Franciscan Action Network, Freedom Network USA, Global Progressive Hub, HIAS, Human Rights Initiative of North Texas, Humane Borders, Interfaith Worker Justice, International Refugee Assistance Project, International Rescue Committee, Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Just Foreign Policy, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Latin America Working Group (LAWG), Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, National Council of Jewish Women, National Immigration Forum, National Immigration Law Center, National Partnership for New Americans, NYU Center for Health and Human Rights, Office of Peace, Justice, and Ecological Integrity, Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, Oxfam America, Peace Action, Presbyterian Church (USA), RefugePoint, Save the Children USA, School Sisters of Notre Dame JPIC Dept, Service Employees International Union, Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN), Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Institute Justice Team, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, Syrian Community Network, Tacoma Community House, The Asylum Seeker Assistance Project, The Episcopal Church, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), Win Without War, Women's Refugee Commission, National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Office of Social Justice, Christian Reformed Church in North America, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, North Carolina Council of Churches, and Tahirih Justice Center.Read More
Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Hank Johnson and Raul Ruiz Announce Formation of The Congressional Caucus For Advancement of Studio, Talent (CAST) and Film Diversity
(Washington, DC)- U.S. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) announced the formation of the Congressional Caucus for Advancement of Studio, Talent and Film Diversity. This new bi-partisan Caucus aims to focus on increasing further opportunities for representation of minorities in the film and television industries. Reps. Ros-Lehtinen, Johnson and Ruiz, all serving a co-chairs, plan to add to its congressional membership in the coming weeks.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“I joined the Congressional Caucus for Advancement of Studio, Talent (CAST) and Film Diversity with my colleagues, Rep. Hank Johnson and Rep. Raul Ruiz, to initiate a movement that helps create diversity in Hollywood. Minorities are severely under-represented within the film industry and there is room for more faces that accurately represent our nation. It is important for our youth to have role models that they can relate and look up to, serving as inspirations for their future dreams whether to be actors/actresses, directors, or writers. By working together in Congress, we can unite in a bipartisan manner to provide further opportunities to minorities in the film industry.”
Statement by Johnson:
“Last year I challenged the Academy to be diverse and inclusive. This year, Oscar nominees were more diverse and that’s good, but the underlying problem has not gone away: Minorities are underrepresented in all key roles in both behind and in front of the camera. The motion picture industry has long been a crucial ally in the fight for justice and served as a long time vehicle to give people a better understanding of other people and cultures around the world. This industry has the potential to break down barriers and stereotypes. The Caucus for Advancement of Studio, Talent, and Film Diversity is going to keep the spotlight on the importance of diversity.”
Statement by Ruiz:
“When our children and young people see their stories, their communities, their experiences, and their culture portrayed on the screen in a positive light, they are inspired to live their dreams. There’s no better way to fulfill this vision then by increasing the diversity of on camera and off camera roles, so that actors and writers reflect the diverse community who watch their programs. I am honored to co-found the Congressional Caucus for Advancement of Studio, Talent, and Film Diversity to promote diversity in film and television in community across the country.”
Ros-Lehtinen y Serrano Presentan Proyecto de Ley Para Crear Museo Nacional Smithsonian del Latino Americano
(Washington, DC) – Los Congresistas Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) y José Serrano (D-NY) presentaron HR 2911, para establecer el Museo Nacional Smithsonian del Latino Americano honrando las contribuciones de los Latinos en nuestro país. A través de los esfuerzos bipartidistas en la Cámara de Representantes y en el Senado, este proyecto tiene el fin de identificar un lugar y fuente adecuada de fondos para hacer realidad este museo. El museo también servirá para educar a todas las generaciones en nuestro país que verán el impacto de los Latinos en nuestra nación y como han ayudado a enriquecer a nuestra país.
Declaración de Ros-Lehtinen:
“Los Latinos han hecho contribuciones increíbles a nuestra nación en todos los campos y esfuerzos. Estoy uniéndome a mis colegas, el Congresista José Serrano, y los Senadores Bob Menéndez y John Cornyn para ayudar a asegurar que esas contribuciones sean honradas y reconocidas en el Museo Nacional Smithsonian del Latino Americano. Este proyecto de ley es el primer paso para hacer este museo una realidad. Juntos, de manera unida y bipartidista haremos que esto suceda. Como la primera mujer Hispana en servir en la Cámara de la Florida, el Senado de la Florida, y el Congreso, sé que aunque hemos tomado pasos importantes, queda mucho más por hacer y nos corresponde demostrárselo a jóvenes Latinos y Latinas que pueden lograr grandes cosas con esfuerzo y dedicación.”
Declaración de Serrano:
“Los Latinos merecen un lugar en Washington que honra todos sus sacrificios y contribuciones a esta nación desde su fundación. Con esta legislación, estamos un paso más cerca de hacer realidad el museo del Americano Latino identificando sitios potenciales y un mecanismo apropiado para conseguir fondos. Estoy orgulloso de trabajar con la Congresista Ros-Lehtinen, el Senador Menéndez, y el Senador Cornyn en este esfuerzo bipartidista para honrar las contribuciones diversas de los Latinos a nuestra historia americana,” declaro el Congresista Serrano.
Ros-Lehtinen, Serrano Introduce Bill To Create National Smithsonian American Latino Museum
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Jose Serrano (D-NY) introduced HR 2911, to establish a National Smithsonian American Latino Museum honoring the contributions of Latinos to our country. Through bipartisan efforts in the House and Senate, this bill aims to initiate the process to identify a location and adequate source of funding to make this museum a reality. The museum will also serve to educate all generation who will see Latinos’ impact on our nation and how they have helped enrich our country.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“Latinos have made incredible contributions to our nation in every field and endeavor. I’m joining with my colleagues, Representative Jose Serrano, and Senators Bob Menedez and John Cornyn to help ensure that those contributions are honored and recognized in a National American Latino Museum. This bill is the first step in the right direction to make this museum a reality. Together, in a united bi-partisan manner we will make this happen. As the first Hispanic woman to serve in the Florida House, Florida Senate, and Congress, I know that while we have made great strides, much more is left to be done and it us up to us to show young Latinos and Latinas that they can achieve great things with hard work and dedication.”
Statement by Serrano:
“Latinos deserve a place in Washington that honors all their sacrifices and contributions to this nation since its founding. With this legislation we are one step closer to making the American Latino museum a reality by identifying potential sites and an appropriate funding mechanism. I am proud to work with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, Senator Menendez, and Senator Cornyn on this bipartisan effort to honor Latinos’ diverse contributions to the American story,” said Congressman Serrano.Read More
Declaración de Ros-Lehtinen Sobre la Nueva Política de la Administración para Ayudar al Pueblo Cubano
(Washington, DC) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Presidenta del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, hizo la siguiente declaración sobre la nueva política de la administración sobre Cuba.
Declaración de Ros-Lehtinen:
“El objetivo de esta nueva política estadounidense hacia la dictadura en La Habana es meritoria y sirve nuestros intereses de seguridad nacional. Busca negar financiamiento que beneficia al Ministerio del Interior de Castro, al Ministerio de Defensa y a su apoderado, GAESA. Estas entidades golpean, intimidan, encarcelan y matan a activistas de derechos humanos en la isla y tienen una larga historia documentada de perjuicio a los intereses estadounidenses. Elementos de estas entidades del régimen son directamente responsables de la tortura y el asesinato de los estadounidenses y han continuado proporcionando refugio a los terroristas y otros fugitivos de la justicia estadounidense. La represión ha aumentado desde que el mal acercamiento del presidente Obama a Castro proporciono un salvavidas a un tirano que no representa los valores de los Estados Unidos y no beneficia al pueblo de Cuba.
El anuncio de hoy es un reconocimiento de la verdadera naturaleza del régimen Castrista y un abrazo al pueblo cubano. Es hora de intentar cerrar esa espita en efectivo que solo va a oprimir al pueblo cubano. Felicito a mis hermanos legislativos, Mario y Marco, por su experiencia y liderazgo en el importante movimiento hacia la democracia en mi patria natal.”
Ros-Lehtinen Statement On Administration’s New Policy To Help Cuban People
(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 regarding the administration’s newly announced policy regarding Cuba.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“The goal of this new U.S. policy towards the dictatorship in Havana is meritorious and serves our national security interests. It seeks to deny financing that benefits Castro’s Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Defense and its proxy, GAESA. These entities beat, intimidate, imprison and kill human rights activists on the island and have a long documented history of harming U.S. interests. Elements of these regime entities are directly responsible for the torture and murder of Americans and have continued to provide safe haven to terrorists and other fugitives of U.S. justice. Repression has increased since President Obama’s misguided outreach to Castro so providing a lifeline to a tyrant does not represent the values of the United States and does not benefit the people of Cuba.
Today’s announcement is an acknowledgement of the true nature of the Cuban regime and embrace of the Cuban people. It is time we try to close that cash spigot that only goes to oppress the Cuban people. I congratulate my legislative hermanos, Mario and Marco, for their expertise and leadership on the important movement toward democracy in my native homeland.”
U.S. Must Alter Approach, Hold Russia Accountable for Activities Which Threaten U.S. National Security Interests in Middle East
“Putin’s support for Assad has guaranteed that the conflict will continue and that tens of thousands more will die…his alliance with Iran has given Tehran the tools to one day become a nuclear power”
(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 subcommittee hearing entitled, “Russia’s Strategic Objectives in the Middle East and North Africa.” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“For far too long, the United States has acted timidly in the face of increased Russian aggression, unwilling to confront Putin for fear of provoking a confrontation, even though Putin, like other tyrants, only respond to a position of strength. And it isn’t just the Executive Branch – Congress has played its role too.
For years, administrations have been offering concessions to Russia and Congress has allowed this to happen. The Bush administration presented a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement – a 1,2,3 agreement – to Congress, despite concerns Russia was then providing Iran with nuclear technology and providing Syria with advanced conventional weapons in violation of the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act. In fact, the Bush administration had sanctioned state-owned Russian entities for Iran-related violations. I led the effort then to block that agreement. President Bush withdrew the proposed nuclear accord, but only after Russia invaded Georgia. That didn’t stop the Obama administration from falling into the same trap – officially submitting the U.S.- Russia nuclear cooperation agreement to Congress in 2010 despite overwhelming evidence of Russian involvement in Iran’s nuclear and conventional weapons program and Congressional efforts to strengthen sanctions against Iran.
Russia repeatedly acted as interference for Iran at the UN, protecting it from scrutiny and increased sanctions, all the while itself violating U.S. sanctions against the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. Yet we failed to hold Russia accountable – in fact, as part of the Obama administration “reset,” the U.S. lifted several sanctions against Russia, including sanctions against arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, which admitted it was shipping advanced missile defense systems to Syria.
In 2010, the administration agreed to sign over the control of Uranium One, the U.S. uranium processing facility to the Russian government – again, despite overwhelming national security concerns. As then Ranking Member of this Committee, I spearheaded a letter alongside the Ranking Members of the House Financial Services, Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, urging the Treasury Secretary to oppose this move.
Another consequence of ignoring Russia’s malign behavior was the decision to overturn the Jackson-Vanik amendment, paving the way for Russia to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) and granting Putin permanent normal trade relations. This was part of the deal with the devil in order to get the Magnitsky Act signed into law – and though we managed to get that signed into law, the previous administration failed to use its authorities to sanction Russia’s worst human rights violators.
So where are we now – we’ve established a long history of failing to use the tools the United States has available to it in order to hold Putin and the Russian regime accountable. Putin’s support for Assad has guaranteed that the conflict will continue and that tens of thousands more will die. His alliance with Iran has given Tehran the tools it needs to one day become a nuclear power with strong conventional arms – including advanced missile defense capabilities.
He is bolstering General Haftar in Libya, making it almost certain that no progress toward reconciliation will be made there in the near future. Reports indicate that Russia may be deploying troops or possibly wanting to set up a base at the border of Libya and Egypt. Putin is ensuring that Russia ties itself to the energy and military sectors of many countries in the region, giving him leverage and influence in countries that have viewed us with mistrust since the Arab Spring and the Iran nuclear deal.
Russia is not our ally – not in Syria, not in Iran, not on human rights issues. We should not be afraid to push Putin back – he is a strongman, and tyrants like him only respond to strength, not just perceived strength, but actual strength. Russia is fragile, and this show of force is just that – a show by Putin.
It is time for the United States to reclaim its leadership role on the global stage, and particularly in the Middle East and with respect to Russia. Yesterday, the Senate passed an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill that included Russia sanctions. And while I support efforts to hold Russia accountable for its cyber activities and its activities related to Crimea, I hope this can be the first step toward a more holistic approach to holding Russia accountable for its activities which threaten U.S. national security interests and global peace and security.”
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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