New Year Ushers in New Congress

Time and again over the past two years, leadership in the House of Representatives advanced legislation aimed at dismantling long-standing animal protection laws. A new Congress ascends Capitol Hill in January, and AWI hopes that new leadership in the House proves far less antagonistic toward animal welfare.

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who, as chairman of the House Committee on Rules, continually used his position of power to deny positive animal welfare legislation from advancing to the House floor for a vote, lost his seat in Congress. At the same time, some House members who joined us in efforts to improve animal welfare also lost their reelection bids. These include Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), who secured a provision in the House farm bill prohibiting animal fighting in US territories, and Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) who was a member of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus (CAPC). He introduced the Big Cat Public Safety Act and led Republican opposition to the terrible King amendment in the farm bill.

Two other friends of animals chose to retire: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), also a CAPC member, who sponsored the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act for the past three Congresses, and Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), another CAPC member, who has been a leader in fighting wildlife trafficking. He sponsored the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act for the last two Congresses and authored the Eliminate, Neutralize, and Disrupt (END) Wildlife Trafficking Act, which former President Obama signed into law.

Come January, AWI will meet with all new members of Congress and their offices to introduce them to our priorities and enlist new advocates in the effort to strengthen animal protection.