Weekly Update: Helping the House Pass FY21 NDAA; Helping the House Pass the Great American Outdoors Act; Requesting State and Local Funding; Announcing Grant Funding for North Country Communities
Helping the House Pass the FY21 NDAA, Securing Significant Wins for Fort Drum and National Security Interests
On Tuesday, I voted in favor of the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Over the past few months, I have played a leading role with my House colleagues in passing the NDAA to give our military and service members the resources they need. I am proud to be the number one advocate for Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division each year during the NDAA process, and this year I successfully secured a number of wins for Fort Drum and my district. This critical piece of legislation will deliver a pay raise for our troops, increase funding for science and technology investments, establish a National Artificial Intelligence Initiative, and names Fort Drum as a preferred missile defense site. Our nation’s men and women in uniform deserve the maximum amount of resources that we can provide in order to help them protect our nation and our national interests. I will continue to be a strong advocate of those whom I represent at Fort Drum and across the country who work to protect our freedoms each day. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, fought for a few key provisions in particular. Read more here, and watch my remarks on the House floor here and above.
Statement on Reinstatement of Global Entry for New York State
Governor Cuomo’s reckless immigration policies in New York State caused the suspension of the Global Entry program. Since the suspension of Global Entry in February, qualified, legal citizens have been penalized by the Governor’s actions. Yesterday’s news from the Department of Homeland Security of the reinstatement of Global Entry is good news for New Yorkers. I advocated and worked with the President and senior Administration officials to successfully reinstate this program critical to the economy and safety of New York. I remain concerned with New York’s continued restriction on information-sharing with federal law enforcement and will continue to speak out against Governor Cuomo’ dangerous policy. Read more here.
Statement Along With State and Local Elected Officials Condemning Recent Displays of Racism in Clinton County
This week, along with Assemblyman Billy Jones, Clinton County Area 3 Legislator Mark Henry, and Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael Cashman, I issued the following statement regarding recent displays of racism in the North Country:
Helping the House Pass the Great American Outdoors Act
On Wednesday, I voted in favor of the Great American Outdoors Act, bipartisan legislation that I cosponsored in the House. This legislation is comprised of two bills, the Restore Our Parks Act and the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The bill establishes the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to support deferred maintenance projects on federal lands. For FY2021-FY2025, there shall be deposited into the fund an amount equal to 50% of all federal revenues from the development of oil, gas, coal, or alternative or renewable energy on federal lands and waters. Additionally, the bill makes funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent. The bill passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support last month. Our natural resources, national parks, and public lands are essential components of the American natural and cultural landscape, and conservation values are of the utmost importance in the North Country. I am a longtime supporter of the Restore Our Parks Act, which addresses the deferred maintenance backlog on public lands, and of full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, as I have seen the positive impact the funding has on conservation projects in my district. Our natural areas and public lands also serve as a powerful economic driver, especially in the Adirondacks, where we recreate in the outdoors year-round. This legislation is critically needed in order to address the infrastructure improvements needed at many of our National Parks, protect our natural resources, and ensure that future generations are able to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors just like we do. In addition, the legislation will help create jobs, bolster local economies, and expand access to the outdoors at a time when workers and families are still reeling from the health and economic consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. I am excited to see this bipartisan bill head to the President’s desk for his signature, and I will continue to advocate for legislation that protects our North Country natural resources. Read more here.
Statement on GAO Report on IJC Plan 2014 and Impact on Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River
Thursday’s release of the GAO’s review of IJC and Plan 2014 highlights the importance of communication between IJC and our river communities as we collectively address the issues along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The GAO has found that IJC can improve its communication with local officials and stakeholders, an issue that I have regularly spoken with IJC officials about over the past few years. It is essential that our communities along the river who have been severely impacted by floods in 2017 and 2019 have a consistent seat at the table, and that IJC is transparent in their adaptive management strategy process. I have consistently advocated for a balanced approach in addressing water level issues in our river communities, and for the review of modifications and updates that should be made to Plan 2014. That’s why I am leading the push to secure dedicated funding for the IJC to complete their review of Plan 2014 in this year’s appropriations package. While there are improvements yet to be made, I am encouraged by the actions IJC has committed to in response to this report. Read more here.
Sending Letter to Leader McConnell In Support of State and Local Funding
This week, I sent a letter, along with fellow Members of New York’s Congressional delegation, urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to provide funding to state and local governments in the next coronavirus relief package. The letter states that New York has been severely impacted by a loss in revenue stream, causing significant strain on state and local governments and threatening budget cuts for education, law enforcement, transportation, and other services. While the CARES Act provided significant funding to support state budgets, there is still critical need for further funds. I have repeatedly called on our leaders in the House and the Senate to include essential funding for state and local governments in any forthcoming COVID-19 relief package. It is crucial that we deliver direct aid to local municipalities, who have been severely impacted by revenue loss, especially in our more rural communities. I will continue to work with my colleagues and advocate for our communities as we consider the forthcoming legislative package related to COVID-19. 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.
Announcing Over $2 Million Airport Improvement Grant for Adirondack Regional Airport
On Thursday, I announced the Adirondack Regional Airport in Saranac Lake will be receiving $2,712,047 in Airport Improvement Funding through the Federal Aviation Administration. This funding will be used to help the airport rehabilitate their runway. I am proud to announce this significant funding for the Adirondack Regional Airport. The Saranac Lake area and the rest of the Adirondacks are a major tourist destination for people across the country, and projects like these help with infrastructure improvements to keep attracting people back to the area. I look forward to witnessing the positive impact this funding has on the area, and I will continue to deliver results like this to our North Country communities. Read more here.
Announcing HHS Grant for Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
This week, I announced that Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) has been awarded a $250,000 grant through the HHS’ Rural Health Care Coordination Network Program. The purpose of the program is to support rural health consortiums/networks aiming to achieve the overall goals of improving access, delivery, and quality of care through the application of care coordination strategies in rural communities. Our rural health systems provide critical care and services to North Country residents, and they have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud to announce this funding for Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital as they continue their important work of serving Plattsburgh area residents. I have continuously advocated for and delivered direct financial support to our hospitals and community health centers, and I will continue to work hard on their behalf. Read more here.
Introducing Bill to Help Senior Fraud Victims Recover Financial Losses
This week, along with my House colleagues Reps. Bonamici, Katko, King, and Pressley, I introduced legislation to help seniors who have been victimized by financial scammers. The bipartisan Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act will allow elderly victims of financial scams to recoup their financial losses through the Crime Victims Fund. This bill is named in honor of Edith Shorougian, who lost over $80,000 in retirement savings after being scammed by a financial planner. The bill is supported by AARP, Alzheimer’s Association, Elder Justice Coalition, and a number of other organizations. Our seniors are among our most vulnerable, and far too often, they fall victim to scams. As the Representative for a large portion of upstate New York seniors, I am proud to be introducing this critical legislation along with my colleagues. Edith’s Bill will give back the financial resources that are stolen from older Americans by scammers. Reports of scams targeting seniors have increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, so this legislation is timely and much needed. While we must continue to hold perpetrators accountable and try to prevent scams from happening in the first place, we must also support those who have been victimized. I look forward to furthering this effort along with my House colleagues. Read more here.
Sending Letter Requesting More Information from FCC About Telehealth Program Funding
This week, I sent a letter along with my House colleagues to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting further information about the COVID-19 Telehealth Program’s implementation and asks how much funding would be necessary for the FCC to fulfill the remaining applications. The FCC’s popular COVID-19 Telehealth Program supports health care providers’ provision of connected services to patients by funding telecommunication services, information services, and devices during the ongoing public health emergency. The CARES Act provided an initial appropriation of $200 million to the program. Since it was announced, health care providers have expressed overwhelming interest in the program, and it is apparent that the initial appropriation was insufficient to meet demand. Telehealth programs have been essential parts of the North Country healthcare landscape throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. I have consistently advocated for increased funding and support for our telehealth programs that provide our residents with essential services. As Congress considers another COVID-19 relief package, it is important that we include provisions for programs like these that have significant impact on rural communities. I will continue to advocate for direct funding to our North Country hospitals and community health centers. Read more here.
County Public Health Resources
Clinton County: (518) 565-4840
Cosponsoring Legislation to Protect COVID-19 Vaccine Development from Hackers
I am a cosponsor of the Defend COVID Research from Hackers Act, legislation that will help protect American advancements toward the development of a COVID-19 vaccine from hackers and hold anyone who attempts to commit those cyber crimes accountable. The bill allows for the imposition of sanctions on certain foreign actors who have or attempt to threaten the national security, public health, or financial stability of the United States. China and other countries have attempted to illegally hack and access information regarding U.S. development of a COVID-19 vaccine. It is essential that we protect our nation’s researchers as they work tirelessly to develop a vaccine for the world. The United States refuses to be exploited by China, Russia, or any other hackers who attempt to manipulate this process. This legislation seeks to hold these criminals accountable, and I look forward to working with my House colleagues to further this effort. Read more here.
Cosponsoring Amendment to Include Enforcement of Dairy Labeling Rules
I am cosponsoring a House amendment to the FY21 Agriculture Appropriations bill that would improve report language on dairy standards of identity. I am also a cosponsor of the Dairy PRIDE Act, legislation that urges the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to enforce standards of identity for dairy products. This amendment is pushing FDA for stronger protections and enforcement of proper dairy labeling. When non-dairy alternatives label themselves with real dairy terms, consumers are misled and North Country dairy farmers are placed at a disadvantage in the grocery store. I am a longtime supporter of the Dairy PRIDE Act and similar initiatives that urge FDA to enforce their rules and make sure that non-dairy alternatives are not allowed to be falsely labeled as real dairy. I will continue to fight for our North Country dairy farmers to have a fair shot. Read more here.
Cosponsoring Women’s Suffrage Resolution
I am cosponsoring a House resolution acknowledging the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment and the centennial of the amendment becoming part of the United States Constitution. The bipartisan resolution recognizes these historic anniversaries by designating August as National Women’s Suffrage Month. The Women’s Suffrage Movement has deep ties to the North Country and upstate New York. I am proud to represent a district that is home of the birthplace of Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Johnstown and Susan B. Anthony’s home in Greenwich. These women were essential voices of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and I am proud to honor their legacy in a number of ways, including this resolution. I continue to advocate for programs and funding to help educate future generations about the importance of the Women’s Movement and the ratification of the 19th Amendment, as they are pivotal moments in our nation’s history. Read more here.
Honoring Edward M. Bartholomew, Jr. in Congressional Record
On Thursday, I entered the following into the Congressional Record honoring the life and work of Edward M. Bartholomew, longtime resident and public servant of Glens Falls, NY:
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