Ros-Lehtinen Announces Winners of the 2016 Congressional App Challenge
“I’m so proud of all the students who participated in our Congressional App Challenge. Their innovation and desire to make a creative yet educational app demonstrates that South Florida is a place where technology continues to flourish.”
Miami, Florida – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) announces the high school student winners of the Congressional App Challenge for Florida’s 27th Congressional District which promotes the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields. This challenge is designed to spur innovation among the young men and women in our community and reward creativity in the app-creating process. The district winners were selected by an independent board and the district winner’s app will be exhibited in the U.S. Capitol building. District winners also have the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC to participate in an awards ceremony where they are able to present their apps to Members of Congress and industry leaders. The winners and runners-up are:
· District winner: Valerie Vasquez, Plant Odyssey: A Botanical Adventure
· Second place finisher: Brian Mugica, The Magic of Ecology Video Game
· Third place finisher: Brian Lobo, Mission Echo
· Honorable mentions: Humbert Torres, Alex Balli, Collin Morgan, Catherine Blumberg, Asa Agnoli, Adrian Perez
Statement by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen:
“I’m so proud of all the students who participated in our Congressional App Challenge. Their innovation and desire to make a creative yet educational app demonstrates that South Florida is a place where technology continues to flourish. Our participants demonstrated their ability in programming, entrepreneurial leadership and STEM skills. I hope every student is inspired to create the next great app!”
Assisting Our Ally Jordan is Vital to Middle East Stability, Says Ros-Lehtinen
“The King of Jordan has proven to be a reliable partner and someone who is committed to protecting our shared security interests”
(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, “Jordan: A Key U.S. Partner.” Statement by Ros-Lehtinen (as prepared for delivery):
“In recent years, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has turned into one of America’s most important allies. The King of Jordan has proven to be a reliable partner and someone who is committed to protecting our shared security interests. With all of the violence and turmoil in the region – and the accompanying instability and insecurity – the U.S. has made a substantial commitment to strengthening our bilateral relations with the Kingdom. That commitment was reflected in a renewal of our Memorandum of Understanding with Jordan, which was signed a year ago last week. This new MoU recognizes the importance of Jordan in the fight on the frontlines against ISIS and radical fundamentalism, as well as the Kingdom’s leadership in taking in over a million refugees from Syria and Iraq. Jordan’s resources are already scarce, and with the addition of over one million Syrian and Iraqi refugees, these resources are being strained and stretched to the limit.
That’s why it is vital that we help Jordan shore up some of these resources, especially when it comes to the Kingdom’s water and energy needs. Through our MCC Jordan Compact, a $275 million compact that nears its completion, we have invested in Public-Private Partnership Wastewater projects that are now operational and serving over one million people, many of whom are refugees. I had the pleasure of visiting the Samra wastewater plant in 2014 with Ted, and its importance cannot be overstated. I’m also pleased to see that a local South Florida firm, Hazen and Sawyer, was the engineering firm that managed this project – proof that these MCC compacts and projects can benefit both the U.S. economy and also the host nations.
There are other projects that it is important that we help bring to fruition; One of these will not only be important to alleviate the water shortages in Jordan, but it has the potential to also improve the cooperation and bilateral relations between Israel and Jordan – the Red-to-Dead project. Continued U.S. investment in this sort of infrastructure project has enormous upside and can really be a game changer, and it’s critical Congress remains supportive of these efforts. There is also the potential for other collaborative work between Israel and Jordan that can be mutually beneficial, especially when it comes to Jordan’s energy needs. Jordan signed an agreement with Israel to import natural gas – and again, as with the wastewater project, this agreement has economic benefits for the U.S. as well, with U.S. based Noble energy discovering the natural gas fields off the coast of Israel and now ready, willing and able to begin production to help meet the growing natural gas demand in Jordan and elsewhere. And it will be important that we continue to support these efforts, and others just like them, because Israel and Jordan have shared concerns and interests, and it would be mutually beneficial for the two to work closely together.
We must also continue to support the good work USAID is doing to help aid Jordan’s economy, but also the work it does to strengthen the country’s democracy and governance as well as female empowerment programs. The Jordanian government’s commitment to political reform over these past few years has been commendable, and it is clear that our programs have had a good amount of success based on the interest and support from the government and the Jordanian people. A testament to this is how the International Republican Institute has been able to expand from working in just a handful of districts when its program first started in Jordan, to now over 30 and seeking to expand further. These programs have had successes, and we need to build upon the support these programs have received and work with the Kingdom to help strengthen democracy and governance in Jordan and to strengthen civil society.
On security, Jordan’s needs are also substantial because the Kingdom has been such a staunch ally in the coalition against ISIS and the stability and security of Jordan is vital if we are ever going to see a secure and stable region. That’s why I’m pleased that the bill I introduced with Ted, Kay Granger, and Nita Lowey – the U.S.-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act – has passed Congress just last night, and will now make its way to the President’s desk. This bill recognizes Jordan’s precarious situation and the need for the U.S. to support the King’s efforts against ISIS. That is why it will allow for expedited sales of certain weapons and ammunition and excess defense articles the Kingdom needs to secure its borders, protect its citizens, and assist the coalition in the fight against ISIS.
But as the King reminded us when he visited last month, we cannot keep a myopic focus on the fight against ISIS in just Iraq and Syria. ISIS is spreading and it is gaining support elsewhere, and it has shown that it has the capability to strike the West. The King warned us to not lose sight of the threat ISIS poses in Africa, where it can gain a lot of support and use a lot of territory for safe havens, and we obviously can’t lose sight of the threat ISIS poses to us at home. This is obviously a difficult task, but it would be a much more difficult task if we didn’t have the leadership and the willingness of our ally, Jordan, to take on this challenge together. I look forward to expanding and strengthening our relationship with the Kingdom of Jordan in the coming months and years, and I thank the King for his steadfast commitment to the security and stability of the region.”Read More
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and Sen. Cruz Introduce the PLO Accountability Act
(Washington, DC) – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, and Senator Ted Cruz introduced H.R. 4522 and S. 2537, the PLO Accountability Act. Ros-Lehtinen was joined by Rep. Mark Meadows in leading this effort, accompanied by 11 other original co-sponsors. Ros-Lehtinen’s and Cruz’s bill would close down the PLO office in Washington, DC unless and until the President certifies, in writing, to Congress that the Palestinians have not, on or after April 1, 2015, obtained state standing in the United Nations or any of its member or affiliate organizations; that they have ceased to be members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and that any and all preliminary examinations or ongoing investigations against Israel or Israeli nationals at the ICC are dropped; that they no longer provide financial payments to terrorists imprisoned in Israel or the families of those who have committed attacks, and; that they no longer promote anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement.
The Anti-Terrorism Act of 1987 (P.L. 100-204) prohibited the PLO from maintaining an office in the United States. However, since 1994, this prohibition has been waived and a PLO office has been allowed to operate in Washington, DC for the purpose of implementing the Oslo Accords and facilitating the Middle East Peace process.
Statement by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen:
“The PLO office in Washington, D.C. was allowed to open in 1994, despite a prohibition in U.S. law, with the intention of implementing the Oslo Accords and facilitating a Middle East peace, but in the 22 years its doors have been open, the PLO has done nothing but violate Oslo and make the possibility of a lasting peace even more remote. There is simply no justification in allowing the PLO office to remain while Palestinian leaders openly incite violence against Israel, continue their efforts to delegitimize the Jewish State at the UN, and move forward with their scheme to achieve unilateral statehood at the UN without reaching a negotiated agreement with Israel. The legislation that we have introduced in both the House and Senate will ensure that the Palestinians no longer get a free pass and will be held accountable for their actions.”
Statement by Cruz:
"The Palestinian Liberation Organization has for decades been a relentless advocate for terrorist violence against the Jewish people. The United States needs to make it perfectly clear to the Palestinians that this behavior is intolerable, and that we stand with our ally Israel,” Sen. Cruz said. "Closing the PLO office in Washington D.C. sends the clear signal that the days of America turning a blind eye to the militant anti-Semitism of this organization are over, and that we will no longer allow political correctness to force us to host terrorist organizations in Washington, D.C."
Complete bill text can be found here.Read More
Ros-Lehtinen, Deutch, Granger, and Lowey Praise Congressional Passage of United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act
(Washington, DC) – Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Ranking Member Ted Deutch (D-FL) of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee and Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-FL) of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, made the following statements after Congress passed H.R. 907, the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015 – a bill they authored. This legislation seeks to strengthen military and economic ties between the United States and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa: “I’d like to thank my congressional colleagues Ted, Kay, Nita, Marco and Ben for working together in a bipartisan and bicameral manner to strengthen our relationship with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. By passing this legislation and sending it to the President’s desk, Congress is sending an important message to our ally Jordan that we will continue to support the Kingdom as it faces potential threats by ISIL and a serious strain on its resources and its economy as a result of the challenges stemming from an influx of Syrian refugees. Jordan has been on the front lines in the coalition fight against ISIL and in the response to the Syrian humanitarian crisis, but we must ensure that Jordan has the resources and support it needs to remain stable and secure.”
Congressman Ted Deutch, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa: “Jordan has been a steadfast ally of the U.S. and a critical partner in the fight against ISIS. The U.S. must continue to support those in the region who are committed to fighting terrorism and who seek to provide refuge for those fleeing violence. This bipartisan legislation will ensure that Jordan can continue to play an important role in the international coalition to counter ISIS and to defends its borders from external threats.”
Congresswoman Kay Granger, Chairman of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee: "Jordan is a very important partner to the U.S. and we must do everything possible to support King Abdullah II and the Kingdom. The United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015 is key to that support and ensuring Jordan will have the resources they need to protect the Kingdom and to fight ISIS and other extremist organizations. Jordan continues to provide stability in a turbulent region. It is vital that the United States maintain the closest possible relations with Jordan, and I believe this legislation is a strong step forward.”
Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Ranking Member of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee: “During such a tumultuous time in the region, with the rise of ISIL and the unprecedented humanitarian needs of millions of refugees, stability and security in Jordan remain vital to U.S. national security interests. As the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, I remain committed to our strategic partnership with Jordan, and I will continue to work as hard as possible to promote stability, economic growth, and prosperity for the Jordanian people.”
H.R. 907 - the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015 would:
· Amend the Arms Export Control Act to include Jordan on a list of trusted allies for which Congress may expedite the process so that we sell Jordan much needed military equipment it needs to defend against and fight ISIL;
· Support a Memorandum of Understanding to increase military cooperation between our two countries, including joint military exercises and personnel exchanges;
· Support Jordan in its response to the Syria and Iraq refugee crisis.
NOTE: Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Member Deutch, Chairman Granger, and Ranking Member Lowey are the authors of H.R. 907, the United States-Jordan Defense Cooperation Act of 2015. Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin were the Senate authors of S. 1789, which passed February 3, 2016. The final version of the bill passed the House of Representatives on February 10, 2016.Read More
Ros-Lehtinen Lidera Carta Bipartidista a Secretarios Kerry y Lew Cuestionando Motivaciones de OFAC al Conceder Licencia de Marca Registrada a Havana Club de Empresa Cubaexport Propiedad de Los Castro
(Washington, DC) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Presidente del Subcomité del Medio Oriente y África del Norte, Congresista Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) y cerca de dos docenas de Miembros de ambos partidos enviaron una carta al Secretario del Tesoro Jack Lew y al Secretario de Estado John Kerry defendiendo los derechos de propiedad intelectual de los Estados Unidos y cuestionando las motivaciones de la Oficina de Control de Activos Extranjeros (OFAC por sus siglas en inglés) a dejar de un lado sus posiciones anteriores ya que le ha concedido una licencia a la marca Havana Club que es propiedad de la empresa Cubaexport propiedad del régimen de Castro.
Destacó Ros-Lehtinen: “Estoy complacida de liderar esta carta bipartidista para expresar mi oposición a la decisión del Departamento de Estado y del Departamento del Tesoro de permitir a Cubaexport, una entidad propiedad del régimen de Castro, renovar un registro de marca caducado en contravención de la ley de los Estados Unidos. Permítanme ser clara: las fábricas y marcas comerciales de esta familia fueron confiscadas por el régimen de Castro. Ver que el gobierno de los Estados Unidos no tome acciones al respecto, alentaría a que cualquier entidad extranjera confiscara marcas registradas y propiedades de los Estados Unidos. Esta decisión políticamente motivada puede servir como precedente negativo sobre la expropiación de propiedad intelectual norteamericana por gobiernos extranjeros.”
Destacó Wasserman Schultz: “He estado firmemente comprometida a proteger los derechos de propiedad intelectual de las compañías de los Estados Unidos y estoy complacida de unirme a esta carta con Ileana Ros-Lehtinen y muchos de mis colegas de la Florida. Debemos asegurarnos que las marcas registradas de nuestras compañías sean protegidas de la confiscación por cualquier gobierno extranjero. He copatrocinado legislación en los últimos dos Congresos en el tema y he trabajado en asuntos de propiedad intelectual como Miembro de Alto Rango de Subcomité de Apropiaciones del Cuerpo Legislativo.”
NOTA: Para ver la carta haga click aquí. Los Congresistas uniéndose a Ros-Lehtinen y Wasserman Schultz en firmar la carta bipartidista son: Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Jeff Miller (R-FL) y Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
Ros-Lehtinen Leads Bipartisan Letter To Secretaries Kerry and Lew Asking Why OFAC Granted Havana Club Trademark License To Castro Regime-Owned Cubaexport
(Washington, DC) – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and nearly two dozen other Members on both sides of the aisle sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Secretary of State John Kerry standing up for American intellectual property rights and asking why the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has departed from its previous positions and granted a license for the Havana Club trademark to Castro-regime owned Cubaexport.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “I’m pleased to lead this bipartisan letter to voice my opposition to the decision of State and Treasury to allow Cubaexport, an entity owned by the Castro regime, to renew an expired trademark registration for Havana Club rum in contravention of U.S. law. Let me be clear: this original family’s factories and trademarks were confiscated by the Castro regime and the U.S. government should not take any action which would embolden any foreign entity that could confiscate U.S. trademarks and intellectual property. This politically motivated decision could unfortunately serve as a negative precedent regarding the expropriation of U.S. based intellectual property by foreign governments.”
Statement by Wasserman Schultz: “I’ve been firmly committed to protecting the intellectual property rights of American companies, and I was pleased to join this letter with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and many of my Florida colleagues. We must ensure American companies’ trademarks are protected against confiscation by any foreign government. I’ve cosponsored legislation in the past two congresses to work on this issue, and I’ve worked on intellectual property matters extensively in my role as Ranking Member on the Legislative Branch Appropriations subcommittee.”
NOTE: To view the letter please click here. Members of Congress joining Ros-Lehtinen and Wasserman Schultz in signing the bipartisan letter were: Ed Royce (R-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Bill Posey (R-FL), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Pedro Pierluisi (D-PR), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Peter Roskam (R-IL), Jeff Miller (R-FL), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).
Frankel, Ros-Lehtinen, Shuster Introduce Bill to Combat Online Hotel Booking Scams
Washington, D.C. – Today, leading a bipartisan effort, Congresswoman Lois Frankel (FL-22), Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), and Congressman Bill Shuster (PA-09) filed the Stop Online Booking Scams Act to combat online hotel booking fraud. With these scams, con artists set up phony websites that pose as a hotel’s official site, tricking consumers and pocketing their money without making an actual reservation or fulfilling promises.
“Booking a hotel room for a dream vacation should not lead to a nightmare,” Rep. Frankel said. “This bill will reduce fraud and give law enforcement more tools to protect travelers.”
“I’m proud to work with my colleagues, Lois and Bill, on stopping fraudulent hotel booking websites,” Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said. “So many Americans conscientiously save for their vacations and are deeply disappointed when they discover they have been victims of a crime. Congress should do all it can to crack down on these perpetrators of fraud who take advantage of both families and the businesses the websites impersonate.”
“There’s an alarming problem with rogue websites defrauding families that are simply looking to find a nice place to stay while they enjoy their vacations,” Rep. Shuster said. “I was happy to support this measure as it will make it harder for these scams to occur and make it easier for travelers to know that the websites they are using to book their stays are legitimate.”
According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), close to 15 million reservations were made on deceptive hotel booking sites in the last year alone, resulting in guests finding themselves out hundreds of dollars for either a worthless reservation or one that delivered much less than promised. AHLA estimates that these scams cost U.S. travelers upwards of $1.3 billion per year.
This bipartisan bill would address this widespread problem for consumers by:
· Requiring disclosure – All third-party hotel booking websites would be obligated to disclose, clearly and conspicuously, that they are not affiliated with the hotel for which the traveler is ultimately making the reservation. This new requirement will help consumers know when they are actually on a hotel’s website and when they are instead on a third-party booking site, which will help identify fraudulent sites masquerading as name brand sites. Violators would face fines of up to $11,000 per infraction, be responsible for financially compensating fraud victims, and have their illegal website shut down.
· Giving more power to states – State Attorneys General would have the ability to go after these fraudsters in federal court and seek damages for victims. In most states, under current law, only federal authorities can fully penalize criminals who commit online hotel booking fraud.
· Simplifying the fraud reporting procedure – The FTC would be encouraged to simplify its online complaint system for reporting online hotel booking scams, and it would be required to produce a study on the impact of this fraud on consumers.
The measure is endorsed by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the leading group representing the nation’s hotel industry.
Fighting For South Florida’s Veterans, Ros-Lehtinen Supports Several Important Bills
“Service to our nation is one of the highest callings a person can pursue. It is my hope that these bills will improve the lives of those veterans who sacrificed so much for our freedom.”
(Washington, DC) – Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) supported several important bills which passed today by voice vote. These bills will help improve the lives of the veterans of South Florida and our nation.
The bills are:
· the Veterans Employment, Education, and Healthcare Improvement Act, to make Medal of Honor recipients first priority at Veterans Affairs (VA) health centers, require audits of the VA budget by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and improve other health and educational benefits for veterans;
· the Construction Reform Act, to help increase accountability and prevent growing costs for VA construction projects;
· the Career-Ready Student Veterans Act, to help prepare veterans for their careers by verifying they are enrolled in programs in their field of study;
· the American Heroes COLA Act, to allow for an increase in benefits that are available to veterans;
· the VA Medical Center Recovery Act, to help increase accountability by requiring the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to determine if VA centers are performing adequately; and
· the Female Veteran Suicide Prevention Act, to require the VA to identify the suicide prevention programs which have the highest rates of success for female veterans.
Ros-Lehtinen has a long history supporting veterans. Her husband, Dexter, volunteered for service in Vietnam and was severely wounded in combat. Her stepson, Doug, and daughter-in-law, Lindsay, were both Marine aviators in Iraq and Lindsay also served in Afghanistan. Both Doug and Lindsay are currently Marine Reservists.
Statement by Rep. Ros-Lehtinen:
“Service to our nation is one of the highest callings a person can pursue. It is my hope that these bills will improve the lives of veterans who sacrificed so much for our freedom. For far too long, substandard care at the VA and other inefficiencies by VA staff have negatively impacted our nation’s veterans. Providing for a VA that works and programs that empower veterans are two goals we must achieve to honor these brave men and women.”
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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