- Focus on Syria: “He Acted Decisively”
- House Takes Action on North Korea
- Healthcare Choice for Veterans
- 2017 Congressional Art Competition Opens
- Salute: American Legion Post 91 in Wharton
Focus on Syria “He Acted Decisively”
We marked the 100th anniversary of U.S. entry into World War I yesterday, a conflict which saw the first widespread use of chlorine, mustard gas, and other poisons. Thousands of soldiers on both sides of the conflict were killed or badly injured by chemical weapons.
This week, brand new, horrible images of the use of chemicals as a weapon of war appall us. In an incredibly horrific and inhumane assault, the Syrian military apparently used a banned nerve agent to attack the town of Khan Sheikhoun, murdering scores of civilians, including dozens of children.
The regime of Bashar al Assad has used chemical weapons in the past, most notably when it dropped the poison agent, sarin, on the Damascus suburbs in 2013, killing hundreds of people.
The ongoing Syrian civil war is the worst humanitarian disaster in decades.
Nearly 400,000 people have died in the conflict. At least, 4.81 million Syrians have fled the country and 6.3 million people are “displaced” internally.
I tend to agree with the President who said President Obama had a responsibility to do more in Syria than simply draw ‘red lines,’ which he then ignored.
I definitely agree with the President who said this week the crisis in Syria “is now my responsibility.”
Yes, it is time for our government to lead on Syria and stop Assad from acting with impunity at the expense of his own people and regional stability. He acted decisively!
Read Paul Wolfowitz’s commentary in the Wall Street Journal, “For Syria, Words Won’t Be Enough” here.
House Takes Action on North Korea
The Obama administration's policy of 'strategic patience' towards North Korea was a total failure—and the results speak for themselves. The regime of Kim Jung Un is a hugely destabilizing force along the Pacific Rim, intent on developing intercontinental ballistic missiles that would threaten our West Coast.
This week the House focused on North Korea with two bills to hold Pyongyang accountable for its actions and keep Americans safe.
- North Korea State Sponsor of Terrorism Designation Act: To require the State Department to determine whether it should designate North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism following recent new evidence, including the apparent regime-sponsored assassination of Kim Jung Un’s half-brother in Kuala Lumpur.
- Condemning North Korea’s Development of Multiple Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles: To formally condemn Pyongyang’s continued development of its intercontinental ballistic missile program. This follows last year’s enactment of new economic sanctions targeting North Korea for its range of illicit activities.
These measures demonstrate our commitment to defend ourselves against this rogue regime.
Healthcare Choice for Veterans
The House has passed an extension of the Veterans Affairs Choice Card program - a move Veterans Administration department officials say will keep the VA from denying needed medical care to thousands of veterans in coming months.
The Choice Card program was created by Congress in the wake of VA’s 2014 healthcare “wait time” scandal. Veterans who face lengthy wait times for VA hospital appointments or live more than 40 miles from VA clinics are eligible to use the program to seek private-sector medical care instead.
We set aside $10 billion for the program, but also included language that scheduled a shutdown of the program in August 2017. The new VA Secretary, Dr. David Shulkin, recently informed us that having such an expiration date for the program has created problems for physicians planning long-term care, including female veterans seeking prenatal care for babies due in the fall.
So, this week, we passed legislation removing the “sunset” date.
The VA Choice Program provides these veterans with additional choices and access to medical professionals outside of traditional VA care. By eliminating the sunset date of the Choice program, we’ll preserve care options for veterans and enable Congress to reform how the VA operates. It’s time to make meaningful changes so our veterans can get the care they earned and need when, how, and where they need it.
Read the bill here.
2017 Congressional Art Competition Opens
The 2017 District 11 Congressional Art Competition is now open to entrants. I am inviting all high school-age students from NJ 11, which includes 54 municipalities in Morris, Essex, Passaic and Sussex counties, to participate.
Each year, the students from my Congressional District display exceptional artistic talent at my Congressional Art Competition. I am excited to review the submissions this year.
Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Since the Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated.
The 2016 winner, “Chrome Still-Life,” by Jane Lee of Wayne Valley High School has been displayed in the Capitol over the past several months.
The deadline for art submissions ison to my Morristown office: 30 Schuyler Place, Morristown NJ, 07960.
Specific information and guidelines can be found here.
Please contact my Morristown office at 973-984-0711 with your questions.
Salute: American Legion Post 91 in Wharton for sponsoring a tribute to the American Legion and commemoration of America’s entrance into the First World War in 1917 which established the roots of the Legion. Read more on the background of the tribute here.