Weekly Update: Calling for Support for Older Americans; Statement on DOJ Opening Investigation Into Cuomo's Failed Nursing Home Policy; Delivering Tax Dollars Back Into the North Country
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Calling for Funding for Programs for Older Americans During COVID-19
This week, along with my House colleagues Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Congressman John Katko (NY-24), and Congresswoman Susan Wild (PA-07) I led 92 other House colleagues in advocating for the next COVID-19 relief package to include $1.1 billion for programs that support older Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in demand for programs funded by the Older Americans Act, and this bipartisan group of Members are advocating for additional funding, including $750 million to support meal delivery. I led the bipartisan reauthorization of the Older Americans Act that was signed into law in March. As the Representative for one of the largest constituencies of seniors, I am increasingly concerned about keeping the programs they rely on fully funded. The demand for these programs, including Meals on Wheels and caregiver support programs, is increasingly high due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud to lead this bipartisan effort with my House colleagues and call for additional funding to support our older Americans. These programs are absolutely critical, and I will continue to fiercely advocate for them at the federal level. Read more here.
Following My Consistent Calls for Independent Investigation into Cuomo’s Deadly Nursing Home Policy, DOJ Opens Investigation
Wednesday’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice is an important step to ensure transparency, accountability, and answers for the people of New York. Thousands of grieving New York families who lost loved ones because of Governor Cuomo’s failed and fatal nursing home policy deserve these answers and this long overdue accountability. After speaking with constituents who have lost loved ones during the COVID-19 crisis in New York nursing homes, I have advocated consistently for months for this federal independent investigation. After today’s announcement by the Department of Justice, I have spoken directly with constituents and New Yorkers who have shed tears and gratitude that they will finally be given answers. Each and every family has shared that this investigation is important so that we do everything we can to ensure we protect our most vulnerable seniors in the future and that this never happens again. Read more here.
Cosponsoring Bill to Incentivize Hiring of Military Spouses and Veterans
I am cosponsoring the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act, bipartisan legislation to incentivize the hiring of veterans and military spouses. Unemployment for military spouses is almost six times the national average, and the rising costs of quality childcare only contributes to this issue. This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to include military spouses into the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) to incentivize businesses to hire veterans and military spouses. It also establishes flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to pay for out-of-pocket childcare expenses. The bipartisan Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act is critical for the Fort Drum community – not only for military spouses but for our local businesses as well. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit has been crucial in reducing veteran unemployment, and it has the potential to be instrumental for military spouses. By reducing the financial burden on military families, this legislation will increase our military readiness at Fort Drum and across the country. I’m honored to be a top advocate for the 10th Mountain Division and will continue to work on policy that supports our selfless military families. Read more here.
Announcing Over $8 Million in Department of Transportation Grants for Four North Country Airports
This week, I announced $8,869,740 in Department of Transportation Airport Improvement Program grants to be awarded to Potsdam, Saratoga Springs, Saranac Lake, and Massena. Potsdam will receive $2,760,452 to reconstruct a taxiway and make improvements, Saratoga Springs will receive $2,608,531 to install perimeter fencing, Saranac Lake will receive $1,919,814 to remove obstructions, and Massena will receive $1,580,943 to rehabilitate the taxiway and lighting. I am proud to announce this significant federal funding that will have a positive impact on not only these four North Country communities, but also the surrounding areas who rely on these airports for transportation. Our airports and municipalities have suffered financially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this federal support will provide them with resources to complete some much-needed projects. I look forward to seeing these tax dollars returned back to the district and I will continue to advocate for federal programs that support our local and regional airports. Read more here.
Announcing USDA Community Facilities Grants for Two North Country Communities
This week, I announced over $200,000 in USDA Community Facilities Program grants to be awarded to the Village of Champlain and the Brushton Volunteer Fire Association. The Village of Champlain will receive $71,000 in funding to be used to purchase a replacement plow truck. The Brushton Volunteer Fire Association will receive $193,000 to purchase a fire engine. USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. I am proud to deliver tax dollars back into our North Country communities in the form of this important Rural Development funding. This crucial funding will support our municipalities and provide necessary resources to our first responders as they serve their rural areas. I look forward to witnessing the positive impact that USDA funds continue to make in my district, and I will continue to advocate for these essential programs. Read more here.
Encouraging Census Participation
Important Census Update: The Census Bureau will begin emailing households in low-responding areas to encourage them to respond to the 2020 Census. Millions of emails will be sent this week and then grow in numbers and continue into September. These emails supplement a final campaign reminding people to respond to the 2020 Census on their own, as census takers begin asking households to respond to the census. The email messages will come from email@example.com. Read more here.
How to ID a Census Taker: Check their badge. All Census Bureau employees will present an official ID badge. It will include their name, their photograph, a Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date. If you are unsure, you can contact the U.S. Census Bureau.
Announcing National Science Foundation Grant for Clarkson University
This week, I announced a $149,999 National Science Foundation Grant has been awarded to Clarkson University. The funding will be used for a project that seeks to investigate the social acceptability of robotic assistants amongst human workers in manufacturing and warehousing. The National Science Foundation supports research, innovation, and discovery that provides the foundation for economic growth in this country. I am excited to announce this significant funding for Clarkson University to support their cutting-edge research. Taxpayer dollars will be utilized to support these students and faculty with their scientific efforts. I look forward to witnessing the impact of this funding and this research on our North Country communities, and I will continue to advocate for programs like these that provide direct funding to our higher education institutions. Read more here.
Announcing Over $6 Million USDA Renewable Energy Funding for Saratoga Solar
This week, I announced $6,827,000 in USDA Rural Development funding will be awarded to Saratoga Solar, LLC to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. This funding will be used to purchase and install a 6.272 MW solar energy system. The system is estimated to produce enough electricity to power 765 homes in the area. I am excited to announce another USDA investment in our North Country communities to provide more options for renewable energy. This funding returns tax dollars back to our communities and creates economic development while generating renewable energy. I look forward to the positive impact this funding will have on our region and will continue to advocate for programs like these that support rural development and renewable technologies. Read more here.
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