116th Congress opens

Jan 7, 2019

The 116th Congress convened in Washington at noon on Thursday. In the House, Democrats are in the majority again, as they were in my first term from 2009 through 2010. I remain ever grateful to the people of the Mariana Islands for entrusting me to represent them in Congress and I will continue to work every day to improve their lives. In the majority I expect to be able to do more, beginning with a special appropriation for disaster assistance to help the recovery from typhoons Yutu and Mangkhut. [See next story.] Getting a more permanent status for people who were overlooked when Congress extended federal control of immigration to our islands in 2008 remains on the agenda. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) and others have already suggested resurrecting the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate with bipartisan support in 2013 and included my language for those overlooked groups, as well as for long-term workers and investors. Other big-ticket items on my agenda are more money for Medicaid and food stamps. Our Obamacare Medicaid money—$109 million—is almost gone. The $31.5 million I added to the 2014 Agricultural Act is also in danger of being used up, as thousands of Marianas families who lost income after the typhoons are now eligible for food aid. We have our work cut out for us in the 116th.