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Reps. Ted Deutch, Tom Rooney Introduce Bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission Act

Today, U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Tom Rooney (R-FL) announced the bipartisan introduction of the National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2015. H.R. 2230 would establish a bipartisan, blue-ribbon National Criminal Justice Commission charged with reviewing the challenges we face at the federal, state, and local levels and issuing recommendations to Congress on strengthening public safety and law enforcement, addressing mass incarceration and fiscal sustainability, and improving fairness and accountability. Given that it has been fifty years since President Lyndon Johnson created the 1965 Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, this legislation is presents Congress with an opportunity to take a commonsense and bipartisan step toward restoring faith in our criminal justice system at a time when the confidence of many Americans has been tested. 

“Recent events across our country have made evident what civil rights leaders, law enforcement groups, and legal advocates have been saying for years: a comprehensive review of America’s criminal justice system is long overdue,” said Congressman Ted Deutch, a senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee. “If we as Americans are serious about tackling issues like mass incarceration, building trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, and promoting a justice system guided by basic fairness and equality under the law, then it’s time the House and Senate worked together to establish a new National Criminal Justice Commission. A bipartisan, comprehensive examination of the many challenges we face is the first step toward reforming our laws and creating a more sustainable and more accountable criminal justice system.” 

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Deutch Lauds Passage of Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act

Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21), Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, issued this statement after the House of Representatives passed the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 by a vote of 400 to 25:
 
“From the outset of these negotiations I have spoken about Congress’s vital role in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The passage of this legislation today  now ensures that Congress will have a formal role in reviewing any negotiated nuclear agreement with Iran. While it remains unclear whether a deal can ultimately be reached, I have several concerns with the current framework agreement, and especially with Iran’s dangerous characterization of it. In the coming weeks, we must gain clarity on many issues, including the extent to which inspectors will have anytime, anywhere access, the timing and pace of sanctions relief, and whether Iran will be forced to come clean on the military dimensions of its program.  Only when we have a clearer understanding of Iran’s obligations and concessions, can Congress accurately judge any final deal.”
 
The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 passed the U.S. Senate last week by a vote of 98-1. This bipartisan legislation creates a formal process for congressional review of any nuclear agreement with Iran by requiring the President to submit to Congress its complete details within five-days of completion. During that congressional review period, the bill prohibits the Administration from suspending, waiving, or lessening congressional sanctions for up to 52 days after submitting the proposed deal to Congress. A 30-day review period is guaranteed to Congress by the bill, which also includes an additional 12 days of review should Congress pass any legislation and additional time should the President veto such legislation. Finally, the legislation ensures the ability of Congress to pass a join resolution that preserves sanctions indefinitely, congressional oversight measures to ensure verifiable compliance with the agreement, and makes new information on Iran’s nuclear facilities, missiles programs, and support for terrorism globally available to lawmakers.

Deutch Applauds Colleagues for Swift Passage of Sanctions Targeting Hezbollah's Financial Assets

Today, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21), Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, applauded the House of Representatives for its swift passage of legislation to impose new sanctions targeting the financial assets of the terrorist organization Hezbollah.  Deutch led the bipartisan effort to introduce and pass the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act along with Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), Ranking Member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA), and Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Grace Meng (D-NY) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY), all members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
 
“Hezbollah is one of the most dangerous and deadly terrorist organizations in the world and has shown its willingness to attack around the globe. From arms dealing to drug trafficking to money laundering, Hezbollah relies on a sophisticated global financial network to fund its terrorist activities around the world,” said Congressman Deutch. “The Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 will force financial institutions around the world to choose between facilitating Hezbollah’s terror or accessing the American banking system.” 
 
 

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Rep. Ted Deutch Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Make Animal Abuse a Crime

Today, U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (FL-21) and Lamar Smith (TX-21) introduced new bipartisan legislation to outlaw the sordid practice of animal crushing and other forms of cruelty against animals. The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act builds on the passage of the Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, which banned videos that depict these acts of violence by making the underlying abuse of animals a crime. Joining Reps. Deutch and Smith as original cosponsors of the PACT Act were Reps. Earl Blumenauer (OR-3), Tom Marino (PA-10), Steve Cohen (TN-9), Steve Chabot (OH-1), Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), and Pat Meehan (PA-7).

“Congress outlawed the distribution of animal crush videos five years ago, but such violent abuse of innocent animals should be illegal regardless of whether or not a camera is running," said Congressman Deutch (FL-12). "Too many animals are subjected to unfathomable cruelty and abuse, out of no fault of their own and no recourse for protection. These inhumane acts have no place in our society. I am encouraged by the strong bipartisan support for the PACT Act, and am hopeful that we can work together to make engaging in animal crushing a crime in the 114th Congress."

A copy of the PACT Act is available here.

Rep. Ted Deutch Sponsors Legislation to Raise the Minimum Wage

Today, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21) joined Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-3) to introduce the Raise the Wage Act. This legislation will raise the minimum wage, currently set at $7.25, to $12.00 an hour by the year 2020. In addition, the Raise the Wage Act indexes the minimum wage to median wage growth beginning in 2021 so that low-income workers continue to share in America's economic success. 

"Strong economic growth, a soaring stock market, and huge corporate profits have failed to translate into better wages for low-income workers," said Congressman Deutch. "Across the country, more than twenty million Americans are working full-time for paychecks that leave them in poverty. We know that raising the minimum wage is one of the most effective ways to help working Americans get ahead, and this legislation will put that long overdue pay increase into motion." 

A copy of the Raise the Wage Act is available here.