House Passes Three Cicilline Bills to Boost Rhode Island Economy

Jul 21, 2020

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House passed a Defense spending bill today that includes three provisions first proposed by U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01) to expand economic opportunity for working Rhode Islanders.

“Once we defeat this pandemic, we need to make sure that every Rhode Islander has a chance to get ahead,” said Cicilline. “I’m pleased that the House included these measures to strengthen Rhode Island’s economy, bring greater investment to our state, and ensure veterans are protected from forced arbitration clauses. The Senate should send this bill to the President immediately.”

Cicilline authored the Southern New England Regional Commission Act (H.R.5124) and introduced it last November with Representatives Joseph P. Kennedy III (MA-03), Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Stephen Lynch (MA-08), Joe Courtney (CT-02), and John Larson (CT-01), to establish a regional commission covering Rhode Island and surrounding counties in Massachusetts and Connecticut for purposes of promoting economic development in renewable energy, defense manufacturing, the maritime economy, infrastructure, and job training, among others. The legislation will allow jurisdictions at different levels to work together with federal support to strengthen the area’s economy.

“Allowing state borders to foster false competition has denied Southern New England critical federal funding that could spur economic growth, strengthen our communities and root out stubborn inequities,” said Congressman Kennedy. “Through the creation of the Southern New England Regional Commission, we can end an outdated approach to government cooperation and become more responsive to our constituents. It is imperative that the Senate act quickly to approve this legislation and provide needed, earned support for our Commonwealth and our neighbors.”

The Defense spending bill passed today also includes Cicilline’s Justice for Servicemembers Act (H.R. 2750), which protects servicemen and women from being denied their rights to seek relief if an employer eliminates their job because they are serving on active duty, by protecting them from unfair mandatory arbitration.

The Advancing Mutual Interests and Growing Our Success Act (AMIGOS) Act (H.R.565), which Cicilline introduced last December, will increase trade and investment ties between Portugal and the United States by making Portuguese nationals eligible for E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrant visas and creates more opportunities for investment in Rhode Islands and accompanying job growth. 

Cicilline represents one of the largest Portuguese populations in the nation in Rhode Island’s First District. In addition to leading efforts to strengthen U.S.-Portuguese relations as a co-chair of the Congressional Portuguese Caucus, he has previously introduced legislation to protect U.S. national security interests in the Azores and welcomed Portugal’s Ambassador to the United States for an official visit to Rhode Island.

The Defense spending bill passed by the House today now heads to the U.S. Senate for further consideration.