Weekly Update: Cosponsoring the JUSTICE Act; Advocating for Local Medicaid Funding; Announcing Funding for Local Hospitals; Urging Extension of Telehealth Waivers
For the most up-to-date resources and information on COVID-19, visit my website here.
Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order on Policing
President Trump’s Executive Order on policing was a decisive and important step in improving policing tactics and law enforcement-community relations throughout our country. As we come together in support of equality and justice, President Trump sent a clear signal to our nation that police brutality will not be tolerated. Our North Country law enforcement do an important and difficult job by serving our communities and protecting us and we must ensure police forces across the country have the resources they need to effectively and safely do their jobs. Now, Congress must come together to pass truly bipartisan and meaningful policing forms.
Cosponsoring JUSTICE Act, House Companion Bill to Senator Tim Scott’s Police Reform Bill
I am cosponsoring the JUSTICE Act, the House companion legislation to Senator Tim Scott’s (R-SC) police reform legislation in the Senate. This bill expands upon proposals outlined in President Trump’s Executive Order on policing. It brings meaningful reforms to our police forces across the country to improve police-community relations, end police brutality by increasing transparency and accountability measures, and increasing officer training requirements. This legislation was introduced today by Congressman Pete Stauber (MN-08), former law enforcement officer. During this challenging time in our country, The JUSTICE Act is critical legislation to bring meaningful reforms to policing across our nation so that communities are better protected. The North Country has strong and effective relationships with our law enforcement community, and this legislation will build upon those relationships by improving accountability and transparency, increasing officer training, and putting an end to police brutality and excessive force anywhere in our country. I urge House Democrats to join us in this effort. It is my hope that George Floyd’s memory will be honored throughout this process, as his tragic loss of life was the catalyst to bring this true reform. Read more here.
Following My Advocacy, Cuomo to Distribute $1 Billion in Medicaid Funding to Counties
On Monday, I called for Governor Cuomo to immediately disburse Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funds to county governments from the $2.5 billion that had already been provided by Congress to New York State. Today, Governor Cuomo announced he will be distributing $1 billion in funding to counties in New York State. Governor Cuomo delaying critical funding to counties in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis was unacceptable. Following my advocacy for our North Country counties, Governor Cuomo announced on Tuesday he will be releasing the FMAP funds. This is important news for our counties who have been financially struggling during this turbulent time. I will continue to advocate for the best interests of our North Country counties who are working hard to deliver much-needed resources to our communities. Read more here.
Announcing New $13 Million Disbursement for Glens Falls Hospital
This week, I announced that Glens Falls Hospital is receiving a new $13 million disbursement from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.) This is part of a $10 billion allocation of Provider Relief Funds for safety net hospitals that serve vulnerable populations. I have been a chief advocate for increased funding for our North Country hospitals that serve many seniors – the most vulnerable population to COVID-19. I’m grateful that this critical funding will go directly to Glens Falls Hospital, welcome news for both the hardworking hospital staff and the population they serve. I will continue to work directly with hospitals, health departments, and struggling families to deliver much-need relief and results for my constituents. Read more here.
Announcing over $13 Million for Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
This week, I announced that the University of Vermont Health Network – Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital received a new $13.6 million disbursement from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This is part of a $10 billion allocation of Provider Relief Funds for safety net hospitals that serve vulnerable populations. I have worked diligently to deliver increased funding to our North Country hospitals that have worked tirelessly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It is great news that this funding will be delivered directly to the Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, who continues to work hard to serve communities in the North Country and along the Vermont border. I will continue to work along with our hospitals, county public health officials, and community leaders to bring direct relief and results to my constituents. Read more here.
County Public Health Resources
Announcing Transfer of Fort Edward Superfund Site Access Road
This week, I announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the Warren and Washington Counties Industrial Development Agency (WWIDA) expect to finalize the transfer of ownership of an access road used for the Hudson River PCBs Superfund Site cleanup to the WWIDA next week. This transfer supports community efforts to redevelop the location of General Electric’s former sediment processing facility, located in the town of Fort Edward, New York. The transfer of this access road is great news for our Fort Edward community. The community has been working together, and working with EPA in order to bring new life and cleanup to this former General Electric site, and I commend all of their hard work in doing so. I look forward to seeing the results of this transfer and the project, and I will continue to advocate for these projects to bring revitalization to our North Country communities. Read more here.
Announcing Telehealth Funding for Northern NY Rural Behavioral Health Institute
This week, I announced that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has awarded $55,180 to improve telehealth for the Northern NY Rural Behavioral Health Institute in Saranac Lake. The funding is intended for a telemedicine cart, tablets, video monitors, and remote monitoring equipment to continue to serve at-risk patients in rural New York with chronic health conditions, including remote primary care, rehabilitation, and addiction recovery support services. This funding for the Northern NY Rural Behavioral Health Institute is critical in ensuring patients who have chronic health conditions have access to remote healthcare services. Improving telehealth capabilities for centers like this one in Saranac Lake will ensure patients can receive remote care and services that they need, specifically including mental health and addiction recovery services that are so important. I will continue to advocate for federal support that provides essential medical services to our North Country communities, especially for our more rural areas. This round of funding marks the eleventh provided through the FCC’s COVID-19 Telehealth Program. The program, authorized by the CARES Act, has approved funding for 367 health care providers in 45 states as well as Washington, DC for a total of just over $128.23 million in funding. Read more here.
Sending Letter to House Leadership Urging Extension of Emergency Telehealth Waivers
This week, I sent a letter to House Leadership with a group of her bipartisan colleagues urging them to extend the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s emergency telehealth waiver program for at least 22 months. Under this waiver, Medicare can pay for office, hospital, and other visits furnished via telehealth across the country and including in patient’s homes. A range of providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers, are able to offer telehealth to their patients. Throughout this public health crisis, many patients have been able to utilize telehealth services through this waiver provided by CMS, so that non-COVID-19 related health issues do not go untreated. This has been critical for North Country families, and seniors in particular, who have been staying home in order to avoid exposure to the virus. I urge House Leadership to extend the emergency telehealth waiver program so that our most vulnerable can continue to use this resource while staying safely away from potential exposure. I am hopeful that Leadership will consider this bipartisan proposal as soon as possible. Read more here.
Encouraging Census Participation
If you have not already, be sure to fill out your 2020 Census. The census determines how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into our communities, including NY-21, which will directly fund our police departments, firefighters, schools and more. In mid-April, the Census Bureau began mailing the paper questionnaire to homes that have not yet responded online or by phone. If you receive mail through a P.O. Box, the Census Bureau will not be able to send you a response form, as they require your physical address to count you at the place where you live. Only a complete street address will help the Bureau accurately count you in the right place. If you cannot receive mail at your home, a Census Bureau worker may deliver a questionnaire, leave information about responding, or interview you. You can complete the census online at my2020census.gov. You can also call the Census Bureau at (844)-330-2020. The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to keep all of your reported information confidential. Visit my website here for more information.
Introducing Legislation to Retain Top Talent for National Security
Myself and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI), the ranking member and chair of the House Committee on Armed Service’s Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, are introducing the National Security Innovation Pathway Act, legislation to help the nation retain top talent by providing a pathway to an immigrant visa for non-citizens engaged in essential work to promote and protect national security. The National Security Innovation Pathway Act is a bipartisan proposal to ensure the United States is able to both attract and retain the top minds all over the world for technological innovation and national security expertise. It’s critical that our country remains competitive in the national security space. This bipartisan legislation will ensure the United States has the ability to provide a pathway for those who are able to fortify and bring further innovation to our national security strategy. Read more here.
Cosponsoring Paycheck Protection for Producers Act
I am cosponsoring the Paycheck Protection for Producers Act, bipartisan legislation that will allow agricultural producers more flexibility when calculating their Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. This bill will allow producers to use their 2019 gross income rather than net income when calculating their PPP loan, therefore expanding eligibility to more farmers. Congresswoman Stefanik has previously worked directly with the Department of Treasury and SBA to ensure that farmers have access to these important programs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have spoken with countless farmers throughout the last few months who are truly facing an unprecedented challenge in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. I am proud to cosponsor this critical legislation to ensure that our farmers are given more flexibility with PPP loans. Many of our North Country farmers have utilized this program, and I will continue to advocate for them as they perform essential services and provide our communities with essential agricultural products. Read more here.
Cosponsoring Meals on Wheels for Kids Act
I am cosponsoring the Meals on Wheels for Kids Act, bipartisan legislation that establishes a 3-year pilot program to deliver healthy meals to kids during the summer months and extended school breaks. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted to need to provide better meal access to students in rural and isolated areas of the country, who may be underserved. This bill would require states to match funds and submit plans to USDA in order to be eligible to participate, and then carry out details of their individual programs in a way that meets the unique needs of their communities. The North Country is home to many students who live in rural and isolated areas, and we must ensure that they continue to have access to meals throughout their summer breaks and other time off from school. I am proud to cosponsor this important legislation that will provide USDA with $5 million to carry out this pilot program and perform a study on the impact of programs like these in areas that are hard-to-reach. I will continue to advocate for important programs that help North Country students and their families. Read more here.
ICYMI: Penning Op-ed Urging North Country Census Participation
In case you missed it, I recently penned an op-ed for the Sun Community News urging the North Country to participate in the 2020 Census. “This spring has proven to be a very unprecedented and challenging time for our communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us in many ways, but it has also highlighted the North Country’s exceptional public health officials, healthcare workers, first responders, law enforcement personnel, and community leaders as our community has risen to meet the unique needs of our region. Additionally, the tragic murder of George Floyd has highlighted the need to continue to unify in working towards a more peaceful and just society. As we grieve with the Floyd family, the North Country has been a positive example of strong relationships with our local law enforcement and our community. Amidst this crisis, it is critical to highlight the role that the 2020 Census plays in funding our hospitals, emergency services including police forces and fire stations, schools, roads, and more. Every decade, the Census helps to determine how taxpayer dollars are distributed back into the community from our government agencies. I am writing to personally urge all residents of our community to take a few minutes to fill out the Census.” Read the full op-ed here.
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