In a conference call with local reporters on April 7, Congressman Tom Suozzi called his first 100 days in office “sobering” and “humbling,” and ultimately, he said, his work is “only just getting started.”
Since taking office in the Third Congressional District in November, Suozzi has been appointed to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, while also being elected vice chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which consists of 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans.
“Working across party lines, for me, that is the reason I went to DC,” said Suozzi. “People are sick of politics and politicians. They want us to get things done and actually solve problems. We are very active—we recently sent a letter to [President Donald Trump] asking for a meeting to find common ground on infrastructure and tax reform.”
And it is on infrastructure and tax reform that Suozzi believes true bipartisan work can be done.
“These are big, heady issues,” said Suozzi. “The Democrats can make movements on these issues with the President.”
Suozzi was also named cochair of the bipartisan Quiet Skies Caucus, which works to try and reduce noise levels for folks living near JFK and LaGuardia airports, and cochair of the bipartisan Long Island Sound Caucus, which focuses on protecting the Sound’s natural environment.
As part of his duties with the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as the subcommittees on the Middle East and North Africa and Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations, Suozzi has met with diplomats and representatives from across the Middle East and Africa.
Suozzi said that with what is going on in the world today, he fully understands the seriousness of his responsibilities.
“It’s an incredibly interesting experience and I feel I’ve learned a tremendous amount and I’m starting to contribute,” said Suozzi. “While we need to ensure our men and women in uniform have the tools they need to succeed, we also need to make sure we’re not spending money unwisely and where our military leaders agree we don’t need to spend as much.”
Serving on the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Suozzi voiced his support of President Trump’s decision to launch an air strike on Syria.
“I support what [President Trump] did, but if he wants to move forward he needs a long-term strategy,” said Suozzi. “People have to realize that this is such a desperate part of the world—[Bashar al-Assad’s] chemical attack is merely the most recent in a series of awful atrocities. We don’t want other countries thinking it’s OK to get away with using chemical weapons.”
Suozzi said the biggest adjustment to becoming a member of the minority in the House is not having the ability to immediately drive policy.
“It’s a different experience and I have a greater appreciation for the issues the country faces,” he said. “One of the biggest problems [Congress faces] is finding the time to sit and talk with colleagues about where we can find common ground.”