The following are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Excerpts of remarks by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
@ GOP Leadership Summit, Atlantic City 3/7/20
Thank you to Chairman Doug Steinhardt for effectively leading a state party that is surging to elect women and men dedicated to selflessly serving the people of New Jersey.
Special thanks to the Republican leaders and members of the county committees of Monmouth, Ocean and Mercer—many of whom are in this room— for our friendship and your strong support of my reelection.
Can’t do it without you—thanks.
Amazing numbers yesterday on jobs—273,000 jobs added in February alone—unemployment is at a 50-year low.
After 8 years of serious underfunding under President Obama, our military is being rebuilt.
In late September, the President signed a bill I authored—the Autism CARES Act of 2019—into law.
Yet today, we face an unprecedented number of challenging problems at home and abroad—now it’s the coronavirus or COVID19, and a well-founded concern of pandemic.
Remember the Swine Flu pandemic of 2009-2010. According to the CDC, the high-end estimate is that one fifth of the world’s population or about 1.4 billion people got it resulting in up to 575,000 deaths worldwide.
The annual struggle flu fight takes a huge toll. Between 2017-2018, 61,000 Americans died from the flu-associated illness.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO)as of yesterday, thereare approximately 100,000 people infected, with an estimated 3,400 deaths.
Like you, I was disappointed when Vice President Biden slammed President Trump for instituting a travel ban on non-U.S. citizens from China calling it “hysterical xenophobia and fearmongering.”
The President’s decisiveness, however, likely had a positive impact on containment—and at the very least, bought us some time to ratchet up our response.
On February 26th the Associated Press Fact Check headline said “Democrats distort coronavirus readiness” and pointed out that Joe Biden was “wrong” when he falsely accused Trump of cutting funding to the NIH and the CDC.
I was shocked when Biden said: “He wiped all that out. He cut the funding for the entire effort.”
That’s just not true—and Associated Press Fact Checkers called Biden out. The fact of the matter is that both NIH and CDC funding have actually risenunder laws supported and signed by President Trump.
And yesterday, the President signed an $8.3 billion emergency supplemental appropriations to combat the coronavirus virus—almost a billion to states to prepare for and combat the spread. Half of that will be distributed within 30 days.
The Coronavirus Task Force led so ably by VP Pence includes America’s top infectious disease experts like NIH’s Dr. Fauci and CDC director Dr. Redfield and are working to expand coronavirus surveillance work, to support public health preparedness, develop therapeutics and vaccines—New Jersey’s Merck and J&J are playing a huge role in this—and funds for the purchase of personal protective equipment.
So, as Americans, we need to unite and take every precaution to mitigate the spread of this virus—and any successor illness because it may mutate—and find a cure and a safe and reliable vaccination.
Human traffickingis a barbaric human rights abuse that thrives on greed, secrecy, a perverted sense of entitlement to exploit the vulnerable and an unimaginable disregard for the victims.
According to the ILO, at least 25 million people are trafficked globally and the national hotline run by Polaris estimates hundreds of thousands of victims in the United States.
At a White House summit on January 31st, the President marked twenty years since enactment into law of historic legislation that I authored—the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000—which created a new whole-of-government domestic and international strategy and established numerous new programs to protect victims, prosecute traffickers and to the extent possibleprevent it in the first place—the three Ps.
The President has made ending human trafficking—modern-day slavery—a top priority and they are getting results.
For the first time ever, we are making serious progress on tick-borne diseases—including Lyme—which I have been working on since 1992.
I chair the Lyme Disease Caucus and legislation I authored was adopted into law as part of the end-of-year spending package late last year.
Up to 437,000 new tick bite infections occur each year making patients—especially the up to 20% chronic Lyme suffers very sick.
Working with HHS Secretary Azar and NIH’s Dr. Fauci, we now have a new strategic plan to: expand knowledge of tickborne diseases; developrapid diagnostic testing; identify treatment success and human biomarkers of persistent symptoms; develop new treatments; and evaluate prevention approaches such as vaccines.
Finally—and there are so many Issues I’d like to talk about but time does not permit—Republicans in both the House and Senate have tried but have been blocked by the other party from even getting a vote on pro-life legislation.
On 60 separate occasions over the past year, my colleagues and I have invoked a parliamentary procedure to bring the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act for a vote—blocked every time.
On February 28th however, we did finally vote on the born alive bill in its entirety as an amendment—tragically it failed 187 to 220. In New Jersey, only Jeff Van Drew and I voted yes.
In the Senate on February 25th, a motion to overcome a filibuster on the born alive bill failed.
Both Senators Booker and Menendez voted against this humanitarian legislation—they voted “no” on the motion to invoke cloture and allow an up or down vote on the born alive protection bill.
Why is this so important? Consider this:
In a Florida abortion clinic, Sycloria Williams delivered a live aborted baby girl at 23 weeks.
Heartbroken, Sycloria later had a funeral for her baby girl who she named Shanice.
In Sycloria’s home state of Florida, in just one year—2017—eleven babies were born alive during abortions.
Shockingly only six states—Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Texas—and not New Jersey, currently require the reporting of children born alive who survive abortion.
Why the coverup?
Dr. Willard Cates, MD, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Abortion Surveillance Unit, said: “(Live births) are little known because organized medicine, from fear of public clamor and legal action, treats them more as an embarrassment to be hushed up than a problem to be solved. It’s like turning yourself in to the IRS for an audit…what is there to gain? The tendency is not to report because there are only negative incentives.”
The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, HR 962, seeks to end or at least mitigate this egregious child abuse by requiring that a health care provider must “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age or be fined and/or face up to five years in prison.”
The bill makes clear that no mother of a child born alive can ever be prosecuted. And it empowers the woman upon whom the abortion is performed to obtain appropriate relief in a civil action.