Weekly Update: Deploying Federal Resources to Essex Center Nursing Home; Passing Child Care Legislation; Passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act; Cosponsoring Bills to Support Law Enforcement

September 18, 2020
E-newsletter

Weekly Update

For the most up-to-date resources and information on COVID-19, visit my website here.

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Statement on Reports of Extension of Northern Border Travel Restrictions

I remain committed to working on a bipartisan basis with officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Canadian government to establish a safe, phased-in reopening of our Northern Border. Our North Country economy continues to feel the effects of the continued non-essential border closure, and I continue to hear important feedback from residents, business owners, local elected officials, and stakeholders who are concerned about this issue. Both the U.S. and Canadian governments must come together and consider steps to safely re-open our border and ease the burden for the communities they support. As Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Northern Border Caucus, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress, the White House, and the Canadian government to find a viable solution to end these 30-day extensions. Read more here.

Statement on Withdrawal of U.S. Tariffs on Canadian Aluminum

I support the USTR’s announcement and their intention to remove the tariffs they had imposed on Canadian aluminum. I have been a strong advocate for the important economic and trading partnership that the United States and Canada share, and I am pleased that the USTR has swiftly reversed course following consultations with the Canadian government. Manufacturers throughout the North Country depend on closely-integrated supply chains across the norther border so the imposition of these tariffs would harm our global competitiveness. Today’s announcement is essential for the regional economy and is crucial to maintaining our cross-border partnership with Canada. I am proud to work along with local stakeholders to elevate this issue at the federal level, and will continue to be an outspoken advocate in Congress for the special partnership between our two nations. Read more here.

Amid Chronic Problems Throughout New York State, I Successfully Requested Trump Administration Deploys Task Force Strike Team To Assist Upstate Nursing Home Battling COVID-19

On Monday, I announced that the Trump Administration is deploying a Task Force Strike Team to assist Upstate New York nursing homes, like the Essex Center, currently battling COVID-19 outbreaks. Following my advocacy, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is deploying a federal Task Force Strike Team to the Essex Center nursing home in Elizabethtown, New York, to provide onsite assistance to the facility that has seen resident fatalities due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Strike Team will help staff and management at the hard-hit facility in creating a plan to reduce further transmission among residents. Task Force Strike Teams have deployed to 60 facilities in 16 states to-date. Gov. Cuomo’s fatal nursing home policy has cost thousands of New Yorkers their lives. Throughout the course of this pandemic Governor Cuomo has abandoned our most vulnerable and turned his back on the North Country; whether threatening to take our ventilators by force, refusing to follow critical guidance from CDC, or failing to adequately respond to ongoing nursing home outbreaks, he has left us less safe. While we are still awaiting the results of the DOJ investigation into Governor Cuomo’s response, critical work remains to protect our nursing home residents. I applaud the Trump Administration’s responsiveness to my requests regarding our community’s needs. Immediately following the outbreak at Essex Center, at my request, CMS sent Tier 1 QIO teams to help assess critical needs. In response to identifying testing as a serious issue, I highlighted the need for rapid tests and HHS sent hundreds of rapid tests to the facility. After my conversations with Administrator Verma today’s announcement of a Strike Team being sent to Essex Center is an important continuation of this response and I thank President Trump and Administrator Verma for their assistance. The Task Force Strike Teams, comprised of clinicians and public health service officials from CMS, the CDC and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH), focus on four key areas during their visits: 1) keeping COVID-19 out of facilities; 2) detecting COVID-19 cases quickly; 3) preventing transmission; and 4) managing staff.  State and local health authorities are also invited to participate in the visits. Read more here

Statement on Signing of the Abraham Accords

I commend President Trump, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Bahrain for today’s historic diplomatic accomplishment on signing the Abraham Accord. This important step moves the Middle East towards a legitimate, comprehensive peace in the region, and towards mutually beneficial agreements on diplomatic and commercial interest and increased security for all parties involved. Today’s historic event that will serve as an example for further recognition of Israel throughout the region and around the world. I look forward to continue supporting the President and our allies in the quest for peace and security in the Middle East. Read more here.

Helping the House Pass Bipartisan Child Care Legislation

On Thursday, I voted in favor of the Ensuring Children and Child Care Workers Safe Act, legislation that she cosponsored. This bipartisan legislation directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide states with educational material and technical assistance related to:

  • COVID-19 prevention in childcare facilities.
    Professional development for childcare providers on health and safety.
  • How to acquire and use personal protective equipment.
  • How to modify operations to prevent COVID-19 transmission, including optimal staff-to-child ratios.

Additionally, this bill allows HHS to make grants available to states, so they can provide outreach and technical support to childcare providers. Childcare is an essential industry that has had to adapt to changing conditions and challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has created. Many North Country families who also perform essential work have relied on their childcare providers throughout the pandemic, and those who are returning safely to work need to ensure that their children are safe and cared for as well. I am proud to vote in favor of this important legislation to provide crucial resources and guidance to our childcare facilities in order to help them operate safely and efficiently. I will continue to support workers who have been on the frontlines of this pandemic and advocate for resources and funding that directly address their needs and the needs of the communities around them. Read more here.

Helping the House Pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, Legislation That I Cosponsored

On Thursday, I voted in favor of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation that requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers who need them in order to continue working and supporting their families. It also prohibits employers from denying employment opportunities to women based on their need for reasonable accommodations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Women who are working to support themselves and their families throughout their pregnancy must be provided with the resources and accommodations they need to stay healthy and comfortable while at work. I am proud to be a supporter of this legislation and to vote for its passage to ensure that pregnant workers have access to reasonable accommodations that they rightfully deserve. I will continue to be an advocate for working families in my district and beyond, and I applaud the House for coming together in a bipartisan fashion to pass this important legislation. Read more here

Congratulating Fort Drum on Receiving DOD Commander in Chief Award

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Today, I participated in the ceremony honoring U.S. Army Garrison Fort Drum for receiving the Commander in Chief’s Award given by the Department of Defense (DOD). This award recognizes the outstanding and innovative efforts of the people who operate and maintain U.S. military installations. Installations compete on how well they achieve the department’s objectives in several areas of installation management, including mission support, energy conservation, quality of life and unit morale, environmental stewardship, real property management, safety, health and security, communications, and public relations. Fort Drum excelled in all areas of these metrics to become the highest rated facility in the United States Army. Fort Drum plays a critical role in our nation’s defense with its rapid deployment capability, and the biomass facility on the installation plays an important part in that effort. I am proud that Fort Drum’s leadership in the energy resiliency space, among many other areas in which they excel, is being recognized by the Department of Defense as the top Army installation in the entire country with this prestigious award.  It was my pleasure to participate in today’s DOD ceremony to congratulate Fort Drum and the entire Fort Drum community on this accomplishment. It is an honor to represent the soldiers and families at Fort Drum, and I will continue to highlight that the installation is setting the standard in DOD energy resilience. Read more here.

Introducing the INTEL at Our Borders Act

This week, along with my House colleagues Rep. Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02), and Rep. Van Taylor (TX-03), representing both northern and southern border districts, introduced the Integrating New Technologies to Empower Law-Enforcement (INTEL) at Our Borders Act. This bipartisan legislation directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a comprehensive strategy to integrate emerging technologies as part of our nation’s border security strategy. This bill also expresses the sense of Congress that a lack of personnel exists along the northern border of the United States, despite it being twice the length of the southern border.

Specifically, the INTEL At our Borders Act requires DHS to:

  • Assess how it is currently using emerging technologies for border security
  • Assess existing gaps in situational awareness along the northern and southern borders to identify how emerging technology programs can help fill those gaps;
  • Explain how DHS plans to replace legacy programs with new technologies;
  • Describe how DHS will evaluate the effectiveness of new technology programs;
  • Analyze DHS’s authorities for procuring new technologies to determine if new authorities are necessary;
  • Explain how DHS is working to research and develop new technologies to improve border security;
  • Explain how DHS is incentivizing the private sector to develop technologies to improve border security 

As Co-Chair of the Northern Border Caucus, I work closely with local leaders to introduce legislation that supports our unique northern border needs. I am proud to co-introduce this bipartisan legislation, which will shed light on the unique difficulties that our Customs and Border Protection personnel and other law enforcement experience, including a shortage of agents available, and provide DHS with a framework to make improvements. Because of the unique geography of the northern border, the implementation of new emerging technologies is also an important component of this bill. I will continue to work with our U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and DHS to advocate for our northern border at the federal level, and I look forward to advancing this legislation in a bipartisan fashion. Read more here.

Cosponsoring Three Bills to Support Law Enforcement, Strengthen Penalties for Assaulting Officers and Rioting

I am cosponsoring three pieces of legislation to support our law enforcement community, strengthen penalties for assaulting officers and rioting, and reaffirm the federal government’s duty to restore law and order.

  • The Patrick Underwood Law Enforcement Protection Act increases penalties for assault on a federal officer in US code by heightening the fines and establishing mandatory imprisonment for assault with a deadly weapon.
  • The David Dorn Act of 2020 doubles the maximum imprisonment for rioting to 10 ten years and establishes a mandatory fine of $1,000.
  • House Resolution 1083 supports the Trump Administration’s efforts and affirms the federal government’s duty to immediately restore justice, order, and domestic tranquility to protect Federal property, Federal law enforcement, and the Constitutional rights of United States citizens in Portland, Seattle, Chicago and other cities impacted by rioting, looting, and violence.

Law enforcement officers across the country are under attack by violent mobs, anarchists, rioters, and looters. It is my honor to support our police community in Congress and I’m proud to cosponsor all three pieces of legislation to strengthen penalties for assaulting an officer and to reaffirm our duty to restore law and order in communities across the country that are filled with violence and chaos. I urge my colleagues to bring this important legislation to the Floor as soon as possible so we can put a stop to this anti-police violence immediately. Read more here.

Recognizing Edward M. Bartholomew, Jr. on the House Floor

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On Wednesday, I spoke on the House floor to recognize the life of Edward M. Bartholomew, Jr., longtime leader and public servant of Warren County:

Madam Speaker, I rise today to honor Edward M. Bartholomew Jr. for his lifetime of service to the City of Glens Falls, Warren County and the entire North Country region.

Edward Bartholomew Jr. served in many important roles over the course of his over 40-year career. Elected Mayor of the City of Glens Falls at the age of 28, Edward set to work revitalizing the community, making the Civic Center a success, building a modern baseball park, improving critical infrastructure and establishing the Greater Glens Falls Transit System. He cemented his reputation as someone who can grasp all the aspects of a challenge and accomplish his objectives despite daunting obstacles.

Watch my full remarks here and above.

Announcing HUD Grant for Glens Falls to Prevent Youth Homelessness

On Tuesday, I announced that the Glens Falls Housing Authority will receive a $5,548 Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant. This award is for the Homeless Foster Youth to Independence Initiative (FYI), a program that invests in local, cross-system collaborative efforts to prevent and end homelessness among youth with a current or prior history of child welfare involvement. Local housing authorities carry out very important work to help combat homelessness, especially among our vulnerable childhood population. This HUD grant funding is crucial in assisting the Glens Falls Housing Authority in providing resources and services to vulnerable youth in the North Country who are facing homelessness. I will continue to advocate at the federal level to fund important programs and projects that have a direct impact on our North Country communities, particularly those that benefit at-risk children. Read more here.

Announcing Department of Justice Grant for Seven Dancers Women’s Coalition in Akwesasne

Today, I announced that the Seven Dancers Women’s Coalition (SDWC), in Akwesasne, has been awarded a Department of Justice (DOJ) Support Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions Program grant totaling $353,615. The Tribal Coalitions Program supports the development and operation of nonprofit, nongovernmental tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions. This specific grant will provide education awareness and native specific outreach training on domestic violence, sexual assault, teen dating violence, stalking, and sex trafficking throughout New York State. Groups like the Seven Dancers Women’s Coalition conduct such important work in combatting domestic violence and sexual assault in the North Country, and I am proud to announce this critical funding to support them,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “This will be well received within the community and allow them to collaborate with stakeholders and further their outreach efforts. I will continue to advocate for programs like these at the federal level, and I look forward to the positive impact that this funding will have on individuals and communities in the North Country. Read more here.

Announcing Lake Champlain Basin Program Grant Opportunity for North Country Communities

On Thursday, I announced that the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) is seeking proposals for projects that aim to improve water quality and ecosystems along the Lake Champlain watershed. The LCBP will award more than $400,000 to qualified organizations, municipalities, and educational institutions. Projects located in the New York, Québec, and Vermont portions of Lake Champlain will be eligible for consideration. These grants will support projects that advance the goals of the long-term Lake Champlain management plan, and the funds are supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. Lake Champlain is an important environmental resource in the North Country, and the Lake Champlain Basin Program coordinates and funds important efforts to protect its water quality, wildlife, and recreation, among other things. These important grants will provide many North Country communities along the Lake Champlain watershed with the necessary funding to complete essential water quality and conservation projects. I am a longtime supporter of the Lake Champlain Basin Program and advocate for its funding each year at the federal level. I look forward to seeing the completion of several projects that will help protect and restore the health of Lake Champlain, and I will continue to advocate for programs like these in Congress. Read more here.

Leading Letter Requesting the VA Address Veteran’s Appointments Missed Due to COVID-19

On Thursday, I sent a letter to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expressing concern over cancelled veterans’ appointments caused by closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter highlights a report published by the Veterans Health Administration Office of Inspector General (OIG) on appointment management during the COVID-19 pandemic and requests that the VA take swift action to track and reschedule appointments. As the representative for the largest constituency of veterans in New York State, I am concerned with the impact that temporary VA closures have had on the health and wellbeing of our veterans. As VA facilities safely reopen, it is critical that missed appointments are rescheduled and the healthcare needs of our veterans are addressed. I will continue to work with my House colleagues, along with officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs, to address this issue and all issues that concern our veterans. Read more here.

Cosponsoring the Save Our Stages Act

I am a cosponsor of the bipartisan Save Our Stages Act, legislation that provides access to Small Business Administration (SBA) grants for independent entertainment venues. The bill authorizes a $10 billion grant program that would address the economic impact that COVID-19 has had on independent live venue operators, producers, promoters, or talent representatives. Our North Country independent entertainment venues have been severely impacted by financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many of them still remain closed. Many other small businesses, including restaurants and hotels, rely on the revenue that is generated by events held at these venues as well. I am proud to cosponsor this legislation to provide direct financial relief and help prevent the permanent closure of these independent venues, which bolster our tourism economy. I’m proud to support legislation that provides direct financial relief to our North Country small businesses as our local economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. 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. 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 2020census@subscriptions.census.gov. 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.

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.

Happy Rosh Hashanah! 

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Wishing a Happy Rosh Hashanah to those who are celebrating the Jewish New Year. May this year bring you peace and prosperity. We pray blessings for you all in this year ahead!

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