Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

FLORIDA's 27th DISTRICT

Delegation Letter To USDA

2017/10/16


Debris Removal Letter to FEMA and DHS

2017/10/16


Letter to EPA Admin Pruitt

2017/10/13


Decertifying Iran Deal, Increasing Leverage to Hold Iran Accountable is Right Decision, Says Ros-Lehtinen

2017/10/13

Decertifying Iran Deal, Increasing Leverage to Hold Iran Accountable is Right Decision, Says Ros-Lehtinen

(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 today in response to President Trump’s decision on Iran to decertify in accordance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“This decision is a welcome opportunity to address some of the major deficiencies within the JCPOA and ensure that Iran will never be a nuclear weapon state. We must work together to close the loopholes, get rid of the sunsets, stop Iran’s ballistic missile program, mandate inspections of Iran’s military sites, and, once and for all, attain the unconditional release of all the U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents being unjustly held in Iran. We were sold a false bill of goods that promised international sanctions against Iran’s other illicit activity, yet too many in the international community, particularly our P5+1 partners, have given Iran a pass. There has not been one new EU sanction against Iran since the deal was implemented, despite Iran’s continued human rights violations, support for terror, and pursuit of ballistic missiles. Decertifying provides some much needed leverage and we need to use this opportunity to get the EU on board with sanctioning Iran’s non-nuclear related activity, including taking action against the IRGC, and protect the national security interests of the United States and our allies.”

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U.S. Policy in Lebanon Must Scale Back Hezbollah, Iranian Influence and Promote Security, Stability and Prosperity, Says Ros-Lehtinen

2017/10/11

U.S. Policy in Lebanon Must Scale Back Hezbollah, Iranian Influence and Promote Security, Stability and Prosperity, Says Ros-Lehtinen

“As we talk about the best way to confront Lebanon’s numerous challenges, be they political, economic, security, or humanitarian, I worry that our short-term objectives in Lebanon are getting lost in what needs to be a broader strategy in the Middle East”

(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. Policy Toward Lebanon.” Statement as delivered by Ros-Lehtinen:

“Since our subcommittee’s last hearing on Lebanon, much has changed in our bilateral relationship. Both Lebanon and the United States have new presidents, the picture in neighboring Syria continues to look dire, and ISIS appears to be on its last legs – yet again. But despite these changes, and, in some cases, because of them, many of the same challenges and concerns about Lebanon and U.S. policy remain. As one of my Israeli friends put it, Lebanon is essentially “a constitution without a state.”

Weak political institutions, combined with the influx of refugees from Syria, have strained the Lebanese government to the point where it struggles to provide even the most basic of services. Most Syrian refugees, numbering well over 1.5 million now, are living in sub-standard shelters or apartments, struggling to find work, facing increasing hostility from native Lebanese. Refugees now make up about one third of the country’s population – wow. Economic challenges, including the Syrian war’s damage to Lebanon’s tourism, real estate, and construction industries, means that Lebanon’s unemployment issues are set to continue and get even worse in the future. Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terror group that controls many aspects of Lebanese government and society, is only getting stronger as its fighters come back from Syria armed with new skills, with new weapons, and with its ally Assad sadly still in power.

This is not only a threat to the future and stability of Lebanon, but it presents one of the greatest threats to our ally, the democratic Jewish State of Israel and to our own national security interests as well. Especially when you consider that Lebanon’s new president, Michel Aoun, is a longtime ally of Hezbollah, at one point stating Hezbollah is necessary so that it can battle Israel.

Now, I am aware that there are those that argue that supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) is essential to developing strong security institutions that could serve as a counterweight to Hezbollah. While I understand the need for an LAF that can protect Lebanon’s borders, its territorial integrity, and, at least in theory, mitigate Hezbollah’s influence, reports of LAF and Hezbollah coordination and LAF and Hezbollah cooperation have long given me concern over the U.S. commitment to supporting the LAF.  In fact, just this past August, Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces launched simultaneous operations against ISIS along the Lebanese-Syrian border with numerous reports of coordination between the two groups.

The message we should be delivering to Lebanon is: if they want U.S. military assistance, the LAF can either cut off ties with Hezbollah completely and unequivocally, or they have to go at it alone. We must not allow any U.S. equipment to fall in the hands of Hezbollah or any other terrorist organization.

But we provide more than just military assistance and USAID has its work cut out for itself as it works to respond to Lebanon’s need for essentials like clean water, food, and economic opportunities, especially when considering the influx of refugees. I’m interested in hearing what kind of work State and USAID are doing to prepare for Lebanon’s legislative elections next year, with the stakes higher than ever as Hezbollah and Iran try to cement their control. I’m also interested in hearing any updates on the current status of United States permanent resident and Lebanese citizen, Nizar Zakka.

By now we should all be familiar with Nizar’s story – invited by the Iranians to participate in a conference, then detained, then arrested, tried and convicted of trumped up espionage charges all in an effort by Tehran to exact political and financial concessions. We heard from his youngest son Omar, just a few months ago. He sat right here, in this room in front of us, and describe what he and his family have gone through with the uncertainty of his father’s future, and more importantly, his father’s health – which is failing. So I hope to hear some positive updates on what State is doing and what Lebanon is doing to bring Nizar home.

As we talk about the best way to confront Lebanon’s numerous challenges, be they political, economic, security, or humanitarian, I worry that our short-term objectives in Lebanon are getting lost in what needs to be a broader strategy in the Middle East. With Assad consolidating power in Damascus, Tehran continuing to reap the benefits of the JCPOA, and Hezbollah gaining even more power in Beirut, Iran’s infamous land bridge to Lebanon appears all but complete. Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel have a great bill, the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act, which would up the sanctions pressure on the terrorist group and I am hopeful that it gets signed into law soon.

I am looking forward to hearing from our witnesses on exactly how U.S. policy has changed over the past year, how the administration’s budget request for Lebanon corresponds to our U.S. national security interests, and how it all fits into our strategy for the region as a whole. U.S. policy in Lebanon must be calibrated to scale back Hezbollah and Iran’s influence, while spurring much-needed security, stability and prosperity for the country, but I have serious concerns about whether we are having the impact that we all desire.”

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Ros-Lehtinen Congratulates Her Former Foreign Affairs Committee Chief of Staff Dr. Yleem Poblete On Her Nomination for Assistant Secretary of State

2017/10/11

Ros-Lehtinen Congratulates Her Former Foreign Affairs Committee Chief of Staff Dr. Yleem Poblete On Her Nomination for Assistant Secretary of State

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman Emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, made the following statement after her former senior advisor on foreign affairs matters and Chief of Staff and Staff Director of the House Foreign Affairs Committee was nominated for the position of Assistant Secretary of State, Verification and Compliance at the Department of State.

“I would like to commend President Trump and Secretary Tillerson for nominating Dr. Yleem D. S. Poblete for the position of Assistant Secretary of State, Verification and Compliance. For nearly 20 years, Yleem was my senior advisor on foreign affairs matters and served as the Chief of Staff and Staff Director of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. At every step of the way, Yleem was instrumental in crafting laws that sought to counter proliferation threats from Iran, North Korea, and Syria to help advance U.S. national security interests around the world. Her vast knowledge and expertise on the totality of matters related to sanctions, nuclear agreements, nonproliferation, and security have prepared her to serve with distinction in this national security capacity for the Trump administration at the State Department. I am thrilled that Yleem, a Miami native and foreign affairs and national security expert, has been nominated for this important position at State and I urge the Senate to approve her nomination expeditiously.”

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State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program Has Serious Deficiencies, Says Ros-Lehtinen; Findings Revealed in GAO Report Commissioned by Ros-Lehtinen and Deutch

2017/10/04

State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program Has Serious Deficiencies, Says Ros-Lehtinen; Findings Revealed in GAO Report Commissioned by Ros-Lehtinen and Deutch

“Perhaps more troubling, while GAO was making inquiries of ATA officials, ATA identified a further 20 former participants that DHS had no indication departed from the United States”

(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 today at a hearing entitled “State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance Program: The GAO Review.” The subcommittee received testimony from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding its report commissioned by Ros-Lehtinen and the subcommittee’s Ranking Member, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), entitled “State Department Should Improve Data Collection and Participant Oversight.” The GAO report was publicly released today and can be found here.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

“The Antiterrorism Assistance program (ATA) is one of the State Department’s key tools in advancing some of our national security interests. Its primary mission is to enhance the capabilities of foreign partner nations with the goal of allowing them to better detect, deter and prevent acts of terrorism. The program also gives our partners the tools, the skills and training required to respond to acts of terror and to apprehend and prosecute the individuals responsible for these atrocious acts.

According to the State Department, since the program was first implemented in 1983, 84,000 personnel from 154 countries have been provided training and the United States has provided bilateral ATA assistance to 34 partner nations. And while the majority of the ATA training occurs in host countries or at regional facilities, we do perform a considerable amount of activities here in the U.S. This domestic training includes tactical training, which State has subcontracted out to just two facilities – one in Virginia and the other in North Carolina. And it was concerns that there may be lax security and oversight in at least one of these facilities that had led to the report that GAO is here to testify on today. So we welcome you.

In late 2015, a South Florida reporter approached Ranking Member Deutch and me with some very concerning allegations regarding the security measures in the Virginia facility. There were also allegations from the local residents near this facility that some of the trainees were taking unauthorized departures from training. The reporter filmed herself driving into the facility, no questions asked. And worse, she walked up to an explosives storage area undeterred and undetected.

When Mr. Deutch and I viewed this, we asked GAO to conduct a review of the security measures at the domestic facilities and to document how the State Department selects, screens and vets potential students, particularly those who come to the United States. And what we found as a result of this review is a mixed bag: Vetting procedures are in place and appear to have been followed and implemented; The domestic facilities had proper documentation – and likely as a result of the reporting, took voluntary measures to make their facilities more secure;

But then we run into many of the same issues we have repeatedly heard from these GAO reports when it comes to program management at State; Most concerning is that we have incomplete, or even worse, inaccurate participant data. This is troubling for several reasons: First, if we don’t have complete or accurate data on the participants, we won’t be able to follow up then on measures or measure the success of the program. And second, if we have incomplete or inaccurate data, how can we be sure that these individuals were indeed fully and properly vetted?

That issue becomes compounded when looking at another GAO finding, and that is that there have been unauthorized departures from the ATA program. Perhaps more troubling, while GAO was making inquiries of ATA officials, ATA identified a further 20 former participants that DHS had no indication departed from the United States. So who are these people, where did they go, and why is there such a gap in communication between ATA and DHS? There was no formal process of actually following up and ensuring that these participants actually got on a plane and returned home. This might be a small number of participants, but given what we know, I suspect that if a deeper dive was done we might find more unauthorized departures.

It is frustrating for us – we know that there are important programs that are vital tools our State Department can use to further our interests – but when we see, time and again, serious deficiencies when it comes to program management and oversight, you have to start asking the hard questions. State Department has obligated nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars for the ATA program for fiscal years 2012-2016. But ATA has had difficulties even getting that money out the door – GAO reported that there was about $172 million in unobligated balances for the ATA program for those years, and worse, $36 million has expired.

And in some cases, when we do get that money out, we have no way of following up, as a recent audit by the State Inspector General’s office reported. That audit finds that there was an absence of performance reporting in Pakistan that prevented ATA from measuring the effectiveness of that program because our people were not being given the visas or access to travel around the country as would be required for proper oversight. I would imagine that we will see more of that across the ATA program.

So how do we begin to address the shortcomings so that we can ensure that this key program is as effective as it can be? That is what we are here to discuss with GAO, and we look forward to hearing more from our witness.”

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La Ley NICA de Ros-Lehtinen y Sires fue Aprobada por la Cámara de Representantes, Da un Paso Hacia Adelante Para Promover la Democracia y el Respeto a los Derechos Humanos en Nicaragua

2017/10/03

La Ley NICA de Ros-Lehtinen y Sires fue Aprobada por la Cámara de Representantes, Da un Paso Hacia Adelante Para Promover la Democracia y el Respeto a los Derechos Humanos en Nicaragua

(Washington, DC) – La Congresista Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Presidente emérito del Comité de Asuntos Exteriores de la Cámara de Representantes, hizo la siguiente declaración hoy en el pleno de la Cámara apoyando al Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA Act), H.R. 1918, el proyecto de ley que ella presento junto al Congresista Albio Sires (D-NJ), Vicepresidente del Subcomité del Hemisferio Occidental, y que fue aprobada por voto de voz por la Cámara de Representantes. Declaración de Ros-Lehtinen (en su discurso preparado):

 Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1918 – the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act, also known as the Nica Act.

I would like to thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for working with my office to bring this important bipartisan measure to the floor today.

I would like to thank mi hermano from New Jersey Albio Sires who is the Democratic lead on this legislation – his leadership on all things human rights related is admirable and his steadfast support for the people of Nicaragua has been unwavering.

I also want to thank Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Duncan who has been helping us lead the effort in bringing attention to the human rights abuses occurring in Nicaragua.

This legislation is straightforward and simple Mr. Speaker.

Our bill is aimed at leveraging America’s influence and conditioning our vote at any of the international financial institutions for Nicaragua until the leadership in that country takes significant steps to restore democratic order.

And what are some of those conditions:

•           promote democracy, as well as an independent judicial system and electoral council;

•           strengthen the rule of law;

•           combat corruption, including investigating and prosecuting government officials that are credibly alleged to be corrupt; and

•           protection of the right of political opposition parties, journalists, trade unionists, human rights defenders, and other civil society activists to operate without interference.

These conditions are similar to what this Congress has already passed for the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

This bill is intended to help the people of Nicaragua.

This bill has safeguards in place to ensure that humanitarian assistance continues to be provided to address basic human needs.

Some of those basic needs, such as free and fair elections, are not being met today due to the failed leadership in Nicaragua.

Reports have surfaced that the Nicaraguan electoral council is giving away identity cards so that minors can be allowed to vote;

Nicaraguans who are not on the electoral rolls will be allowed to vote.

So what does that mean?

It means there will be no way to determine if the individual voted more than once, and that is exactly how the status quo wants it so that it can manipulate the results of the elections.

We are also seeing civil society leaders publicly expressing their concern regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and, as a result of speaking out against the government, have been targeted for persecution.

Indigenous communities have also expressed their concern regarding land grabs by the government; and

Violence is breaking out as the Nicaraguan military is being dispatched to squash the peaceful protests by these communities. 

Let us not forget Mr. Speaker, just what kind of leadership structure we are dealing with in Nicaragua.

The Russians have set up operations in Managua that poses a threat to U.S. national security interests.

Nicaragua continues to offer its unconditional support to Nicolas Maduro and his dictatorial regime in Venezuela.

And according to Congressional testimony, Venezuela’s PDVSA is also using its subsidiary in Nicaragua, ALBANISA, to launder money.

Mr. Speaker, if Venezuela’s Maduro is using Nicaragua in order to evade U.S. sanctions, we need to take a closer look at these ties, and hold people accountable.

And that is what this bill does Mr. Speaker – it holds the Nicaraguan government accountable just like we have done with other countries in Central America, so that it can truly help the people.

Earlier this year, Albio and I traveled to Honduras and Guatemala and we saw firsthand that conditioning our support for these countries works and has been extremely effective.

Placing conditions incentivizes countries to do the right thing and make institutional reforms as needed to improve the livelihood of their citizens.

I urge my colleagues to support this measure and I yield back.

NOTA: Ros-Lehtinen volvió a presentar la ley NICA el 5 de Abril de 2017. La ley NICA fue aprobada unánimemente en el Comité de Relaciones Exteriores de la Cámara el 27 de Julio de 2017 y fue aprobada en el Subcomité del Hemisferio Occidental el 24 de Mayo de 2017.

En el Congreso anterior, el 21 de septiembre de 2016, la Cámara de Representantes de Estados Unidos aprobó por unanimidad una versión similar de la legislación. La Ley NICA tiene como objetivo poner condiciones a Nicaragua de manera similar a lo que el Congreso ya ha promulgado como ley con respecto a Honduras, Guatemala y El Salvador (P.L. 114-113).

 

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Ros-Lehtinen and Sires NICA Act Secures Passage in House of Representatives, Takes Next Step to Promote Democracy and Respect for Human Rights in Nicaragua

2017/10/03

Ros-Lehtinen and Sires NICA Act Secures Passage in House of Representatives, Takes Next Step to Promote Democracy and Respect for Human Rights in Nicaragua

 

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman Emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, made the following statement today on the House Floor in support of the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act (NICA Act), H.R. 1918, legislation she authored alongside Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, and which the House of Representatives passed by voice vote. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen (as prepared for delivery):

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 1918 – the Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act, also known as the Nica Act.

I would like to thank Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for working with my office to bring this important bipartisan measure to the floor today.

I would like to thank mi hermano from New Jersey Albio Sires who is the Democratic lead on this legislation – his leadership on all things human rights related is admirable and his steadfast support for the people of Nicaragua has been unwavering.

I also want to thank Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Duncan who has been helping us lead the effort in bringing attention to the human rights abuses occurring in Nicaragua.

This legislation is straightforward and simple Mr. Speaker.

Our bill is aimed at leveraging America’s influence and conditioning our vote at any of the international financial institutions for Nicaragua until the leadership in that country takes significant steps to restore democratic order.

And what are some of those conditions:

•           promote democracy, as well as an independent judicial system and electoral council;

•           strengthen the rule of law;

•           combat corruption, including investigating and prosecuting government officials that are credibly alleged to be corrupt; and

•           protection of the right of political opposition parties, journalists, trade unionists, human rights defenders, and other civil society activists to operate without interference.

These conditions are similar to what this Congress has already passed for the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

This bill is intended to help the people of Nicaragua.

This bill has safeguards in place to ensure that humanitarian assistance continues to be provided to address basic human needs.

Some of those basic needs, such as free and fair elections, are not being met today due to the failed leadership in Nicaragua.

Reports have surfaced that the Nicaraguan electoral council is giving away identity cards so that minors can be allowed to vote;

Nicaraguans who are not on the electoral rolls will be allowed to vote.

So what does that mean?

It means there will be no way to determine if the individual voted more than once, and that is exactly how the status quo wants it so that it can manipulate the results of the elections.

We are also seeing civil society leaders publicly expressing their concern regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in the country and, as a result of speaking out against the government, have been targeted for persecution.

Indigenous communities have also expressed their concern regarding land grabs by the government; and

Violence is breaking out as the Nicaraguan military is being dispatched to squash the peaceful protests by these communities. 

Let us not forget Mr. Speaker, just what kind of leadership structure we are dealing with in Nicaragua.

The Russians have set up operations in Managua that poses a threat to U.S. national security interests.

Nicaragua continues to offer its unconditional support to Nicolas Maduro and his dictatorial regime in Venezuela.

And according to Congressional testimony, Venezuela’s PDVSA is also using its subsidiary in Nicaragua, ALBANISA, to launder money.

Mr. Speaker, if Venezuela’s Maduro is using Nicaragua in order to evade U.S. sanctions, we need to take a closer look at these ties, and hold people accountable.

And that is what this bill does Mr. Speaker – it holds the Nicaraguan government accountable just like we have done with other countries in Central America, so that it can truly help the people.

Earlier this year, Albio and I traveled to Honduras and Guatemala and we saw firsthand that conditioning our support for these countries works and has been extremely effective.

Placing conditions incentivizes countries to do the right thing and make institutional reforms as needed to improve the livelihood of their citizens.

I urge my colleagues to support this measure and I yield back.

NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen re-introduced the NICA Act on April 5, 2017. The NICA Act was passed unanimously in the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 27, 2017 and passed the Western Hemisphere subcommittee on May 24, 2017.

Last Congress, on September 21, 2016, the U.S. House of Representative approved a similar version of the legislation by unanimous consent. The NICA Act aims to put conditions on Nicaragua similar to what Congress has already enacted into law regarding Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador (P.L. 114-113).

 

 

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ENGEL/ROS-LEHTINEN VENEZUELA HUMANITARIAN AID BILL ADVANCES IN THE HOUSE

2017/09/28

ENGEL/ROS-LEHTINEN VENEZUELA HUMANITARIAN AID BILL ADVANCES IN THE HOUSE

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and a former Chair of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere; and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chair Emeritus of the Committee today announced the Committee’s unanimous approval of their legislation to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Venezuela. The Committee’s action on their Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act (H.R.2658), originally offered in the Senate by Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), clears the way for consideration by the House.

Venezuela’s oil reserves should make it the wealthiest country in South America. But President Maduro has squandered that potential and instead, the people of Venezuela are literally starving to death. It’s past time that we take direct action relieve the suffering going on in Venezuela,” said Rep. Engel. “I’m grateful to Representative Ros-Lehtinen for working with me on this bill and for her tireless advocacy for human rights. We need to continue raising the alarm and pushing back against the Maduro government’s relentless assault on the rule of law.”

Eliot Engel continues to be one of the leading voices in our Congress who stands up for freedom and his decision to spearhead legislation regarding Venezuela humanitarian effort is a testament to his commitment to advance democratic principles in many parts of the world. The House Foreign Affairs Committee has once again proven, in a bipartisan manner, that it stands with the people of Venezuela and against their oppressor Nicolas Maduro. This bill calls for a plan to be created to provide health and medical supplies as well as basic food commodities to the people of Venezuela through independent and credible non-governmental organizations.  This important piece of legislation also states that the United States and the United Nations must urge the corrupt Maduro regime to permit the delivery of international humanitarian assistance to address the food and medical shortages without delay. I am honored to work with my friend Eliot on this measure and look forward to bringing it to the House floor for its consideration very soon,” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen.

From 2015 to 2016, maternal deaths in Venezuela increased by nearly two thirds, infant deaths increased by 30 percent, and a recent survey showed that nearly three-quarters of Venezuelans lost an average of at least 19 pounds in 2016 due to lack of proper nutrition.

The Venezuela Humanitarian Assistance and Defense of Democratic Governance Act would instruct the Secretary of State and the USAID Administrator to provide humanitarian assistance to the Venezuelan people. It would also instruct the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations to use her voice and vote to push for humanitarian aid to Venezuela through the UN, while continuing to raise the profile of the country’s political prisoners and the government’s efforts to undermine the rule of law.

Francisco Marquez, a former Venezuelan political prisoner, attended today’s markup to raise awareness about the case of Congressman Wilmer Azuaje. Mr. Azuaje has been imprisoned, tortured, isolated, and denied medical attention as well as access to his lawyer and family. He was seized by Governor Adan Chavez, a top government official linked to drug trafficking and sanctioned by the State and Treasury Departments.

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Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Questions Panel on Iran's Malign Activities

2017-10-11 16:30:25


Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Calls for National Museum Highlighting Contributions of Hispanic-Americans

2017-10-11 16:25:50


On the House Floor: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Recognizes Miami Lighthouse for the Blind

2017-10-11 16:12:21


Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Calls for Greater Safeguards against Abuse to Elders

2017-10-11 16:28:37


Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Highlights Need for Action after Deaths of Florida Seniors

2017-10-11 16:15:28


On the House Floor: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Supports the Protecting Girls' Access to Education Act

2017-10-04 15:40:01


On the House Floor: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Thanks Cancer Link for 30 Years of Service to Our Community

2017-10-04 15:39:30


On the House Floor: Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Supports the People of Nicaragua with the NICA Act

2017-10-04 15:39:30


On MSNBC, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Encourages People to Have Patience as Power is Restored

2017-09-16 23:23:42


On CNN with Don Lemon, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Thanks Those who Came to Help South Florida Recover

2017-09-16 23:24:20


Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Wishes the People of the Lower Keys Well as They Recover from Hurricane Irma

2017-09-16 23:25:31


Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Expresses Hope that Her Colleagues in Congress Will Fund Florda's Recovery

2017-09-16 23:25:43


On MSNBC with Ali Velshi, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Says People of Florida Must Keep Faith as They Recover

2017-09-16 23:26:13


En CNN en Español, Congresista Ros-Lehtinen Dice que la Florida Se Preparo Mejor que con Andrew

2017-09-15 21:06:35


En 9/11, Congresista Ros-Lehtinen Dice que Es Honor Darle Gracias a la Gente que Sacrifica Todo

2017-09-15 20:48:16


Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Thanks First Responders on 9/11 2017

2017-09-15 20:43:56


Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Discusses Hurricane Preparation with John Berman on CNN

2017-09-15 20:37:52


On CNN with John Berman, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen Encourages People in Vulnerable Areas to Evacuate

2017-09-15 20:37:52


On the House Floor: Ros-Lehtinen Says Clock is Ticking to Save Dreamers

2017-09-06 18:28:15


On the House Floor: Congress Must Pass a Bill Dealing Humanely with Dreamers

2017-09-05 23:46:28


Contact Information

2206 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3931
Fax 202-225-5620
ros-lehtinen.house.gov

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.


Serving With

Matt Gaetz

FLORIDA's 1st DISTRICT

Neal Dunn

FLORIDA's 2nd DISTRICT

Ted Yoho

FLORIDA's 3rd DISTRICT

John Rutherford

FLORIDA's 4th DISTRICT

Ron DeSantis

FLORIDA's 6th DISTRICT

Bill Posey

FLORIDA's 8th DISTRICT

Daniel Webster

FLORIDA's 10th DISTRICT

Gus Bilirakis

FLORIDA's 12th DISTRICT

Dennis Ross

FLORIDA's 15th DISTRICT

Vern Buchanan

FLORIDA's 16th DISTRICT

Tom Rooney

FLORIDA's 17th DISTRICT

Brian Mast

FLORIDA's 18th DISTRICT

Francis Rooney

FLORIDA's 19th DISTRICT

Mario Diaz-Balart

FLORIDA's 25th DISTRICT

Carlos Curbelo

FLORIDA's 26th DISTRICT

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