Weekly Update: Securing Wins for NY-21 in NDAA Markup; Attending White House Briefing; Announcing USMCA Enters Into Force; Advocating for Dairy Market Access with Canada; Announcing CARES Act Funding

July 2, 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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Securing Wins for Fort Drum, Military Families, North Country in FY2021 NDAA Markup

I was able to secure critical wins for Fort Drum, our troops, military families, and the North Country as a whole in yesterday’s 14-hour markup of the FY2021 NDAA. 

As I have every year since taking office, I proudly worked across the aisle to successfully deliver crucial wins and results for Fort Drum and our North Country military community in the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act. I will continue to be the number one advocate for Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division. Over the past six years, I have successfully worked as a leader on the House Armed Services Committee to rebuild our military readiness and intelligence capabilities after the devastating impacts of defense sequestration under the Obama-Biden Administration that gutted our nation’s military. I was honored to secure a pay raise for our troops and improved childcare and education for the Fort Drum community. This year’s NDAA also brings great improvements to healthcare and education for our military families. Additionally, through my bipartisan work as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities, I secured provisions to strengthen our position in emerging technologies like cyber and artificial intelligence to counter adversaries like Russia and China. Importantly, this bill specifically establishes and names Fort Drum as the preferred site for an East Coast land-based missile defense underlayer. I will diligently work to deliver the FY21 NDAA’s passage on the House Floor and I will always work tirelessly to deliver results for our troops, military families, and the North Country.

Click here to see a full list of critical wins for NY-21.

My Opening Remarks in NDAA Markup

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As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats, and Capabilities, I gave opening remarks on the first day of the NDAA Markup:

"I want to start by thanking IETC Chairman Langevin for his leadership, and all of the members of the subcommittee for their attendance and participation in the hearings, briefings, and our weekly remote calls. We’ve covered some critical issues, including the Department’s contributions to the COVID-19 response - and we have done so in a collaborative and bipartisan manner. As a proud representative of the soldiers and families of Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division, my work on this subcommittee is important to ensure the safety and security of the men and women sent into harm’s way. This subcommittee mark supports our force protection and military intelligence capabilities to ensure our servicemembers have the tools they need to mitigate hostile actions while they continue their important missions abroad. As a representative of the most deployed Division in the United States Army, who is currently serving in Afghanistan, my number one priority is force protection and the safety of the brave men and women called into action to protect our national interests."

Following my remarks, Ranking Member Thornberry and Chairman Smith both spoke about the important, bipartisan work the Subcommittee handles. Watch my full remarks, as well as Ranking Member Thornberry and Chairman Smith’s remarks here and above.

Statement on White House Briefing

As a Member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I participated in a White House senior level classified briefing on Monday with the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Advisor, the Chief of Staff, NSC staff, as well as some of my Congressional colleagues. 

As the Representative and Chief Advocate in Congress for Fort Drum and the soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division, the most deployed unit in the Army, I will continue to work with the Administration to ensure that our number one priority is force protection and protecting our national security – especially our brave men and women in uniform. Since 2017, the Trump Administration has taken decisive actions to counter Russian aggression, including imposing strict sanctions, expelling Russian intelligence officers, closing Russian consulates, and significantly increasing US funding for the European Defense Initiative. In addition, I have worked with the Administration to rebuild our military readiness and intelligence capabilities gutted by President Obama and Vice President Biden. I anticipate additional briefings on this important matter in Afghanistan and my focus is on ensuring the safety and security of our troops.

Announcing USMCA Enters Force

This week, I announced that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement has entered into force as of July 1st. Following the announcement by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the United States became the third country to notify the other Parties that it had completed its domestic procedures to implement the agreement, which was the final step necessary for the USMCA to enter into force. The final implementation of the USMCA is a significant victory for the North Country and for the United States. I proudly was an outspoken supporter of this agreement from the very beginning, all the way to watching the President sign USMCA into law this past January at the White House. I worked in a bipartisan fashion in order to ensure that our North Country farmers, small businesses, and manufacturers have increased access to important markets. I will continue to advocate for results like the USMCA, which will play a vital role in helping to restart our North Country economy as we face the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and rebuild together. Read more here.

Leading Letter Requesting USTR Ensures Canada Upholds its Dairy Trade Agreements

This week, I lead a New York delegation letter today along with Rep. John Katko (NY-24) and Rep. Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer urging him to ensure that Canada does not distribute tariff-rate quotas (TRQ’s), which undermine the intent of the dairy provisions of the USMCA by hindering the ability of the U.S. dairy industry to fully utilize the Canadian market access that the trade agreement provides. The letter also urges the USTR to ensure that Canada upholds its end of the agreement by eliminating the Class 6 and 7 milk price classification in a way that ensures that the harmful classifications do not reappear under a different name at some point in the future. These provisions were key wins for the United States dairy industry during USMCA negotiations, and my colleagues and I are requesting that Canada upholds its end of the agreement.  Our dairy farms and processors are critical to the success of our rural communities and economies, and they need a fair and reasonable trade policy to keep valuable market access, especially as they recover from the market disruptions that they faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. I will continue to work directly with the Administration and my House colleagues in order to ensure that the USMCA agreement is fully implemented the way it was intended, and that all our partners uphold their end of the agreement. I will continue to advocate for results like the USMCA, which will play a vital role in helping to rebuild and restart our North Country economy. Read more here.

Cosponsoring the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act

This week, I cosponsored the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act. Due to the continued persecution and oppression of Hong Kongers by the Chinese Communist Party, they have been consistently protesting for their freedom. Recently, the Chinese government approved a resolution that would ban secession, the subversion of state power, terrorism, foreign intervention, and allows for the CCP’s security agencies to operate within the city. This law will broaden CCP control over Hong Kong, and effectively end Hong Kong’s special status. The people of Hong Kong who have led, or been engaged in, protests against Beijing since June of 2019 are at increased risk of political detention and persecution. This legislation assigns Priority 2 refugee status in the United States for Hong Kongers, which would streamline their refugee admission process.

America stands with Hong Kong, and the values of freedom, democracy, and self-governance. This legislation gives refugee and asylum priority in the United States to Hong Kongers, particularly those who have been engaged in rightful protests against their government. The actions of the Chinese Communist Party are criminal, indefensible, and will not be tolerated. I will continue to be outspoken against the CCP for their human rights abuses and unacceptable lack of transparency. Read more here

Announcing NEH CARES Act Funding for Fort Ticonderoga

This week, I announced $285,358 in National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) CARES Act funding for Fort Ticonderoga. This grant will be used to enable the development and expansion of virtual public programming and educational programs. Welcoming visitors since 1909, Fort Ticonderoga preserves North America’s largest 18th-century artillery collection, 2,000 acres of historic landscape on Lake Champlain, and Carillon Battlefield, and the largest series of untouched Revolutionary War era earthworks surviving in America. The North Country is a very rich historic area, and Fort Ticonderoga is of significant importance to our region. I am excited to announce this funding that will further their mission of telling the story of our area’s integral role in the landscape of American history. I look forward to seeing the development of Fort Ticonderoga, and I will continue to advocate for funding that impacts our North Country communities. Read more here.

Announcing CARES Act Funding from the National Endowment for the Arts for Schroon Lake

I announced that the Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake was awarded $50,000 in CARES Act funding from the National Endowment for the Arts this week. These grant funds are non-matching and are to be used to support staff salaries, fees for artists or contractual personnel, and facilities costs. Seagle Music Colony is a premier opera and musical theater producing organization in the Adirondack region of upstate New York, as well as the oldest summer vocal training program in the United States. I am excited to see how this funding will benefit their efforts. I will continue to advocate for funding that supports our North Country communities as they recover and rebuild from COVID-19. Read more here

Encouraging Census Participation

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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 the Military Spouse Student Loan Deferment Act

This week, I introduced the Military Spouse Student Loan Deferment Act, bipartisan legislation to allow a military spouse of an active duty servicemember to defer their student loans for 90 days while they are transitioning through a permanent change of station (PCS) move. Servicemembers must conduct a PCS move every two to three years in order to meet the needs of their respective branch. Additionally, no accrued interest will be incurred during the loan’s deferment period. Congressman Donald Norcross (D-NJ-1) is co-leading the legislation. Military spouses sacrifice education, job, and family stability in order for their servicemember spouse to courageously serve our country. These spouses deserve for their sacrifice to be recognized and honored. This bipartisan legislation will give military families an added layer of financial protection and peace of mind during transition periods. I am so grateful to our military spouses in the North Country and all over the world, and I will always be their advocate through my work in Congress. Read more here.

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County Public Health Resources 
Clinton County: (518) 565-4840
Essex County: (518) 873-3514
Franklin County: (518) 481-1709
Fulton County: (518) 736-5720
Hamilton County: (518) 648-6497
Herkimer County: (315) 867-1176
Jefferson County: (315) 785-3000
Lewis County: (315) 376-5453
Saratoga County: (518) 584-7460
St. Lawrence County: (315) 386-2325
Warren County: (518) 761-6580
Washington County: (518) 746-2500

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Helping Introduce the Growing Climate Solutions Act

I am an original cosponsor of the Growing Climate Solutions Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation that has been introduced by Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) and Rep. Don Bacon (NE-02). This legislation will create a Greenhouse Gas Technical Assistance Provider and Third-Party Verifier Certification Program at USDA to set standards for carbon-sequestration markets. It seeks to help farmers, ranchers, and foresters participate in the voluntary carbon market by connecting them to private sector actors who can monetize their sustainable farming practices. More than 50 industry groups support this legislation. A Senate companion bill was introduced by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), also a committee member. This bipartisan bill will help our North Country farmers continue their tradition of successful participation in conservation programs and being responsible stewards of the land. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of this legislation, which will help reduce the barriers to market entry for our farmers and promote sustainable farming practices through a new USDA program. Farmers are the original environmentalists, and I look forward to furthering this effort along with my colleagues to aid farmers who are seeking enrollment in the carbon marketplace. Read more here.

ICYMI: Writing Op-ed for the Daily Signal Advocating Against Cutting Defense Spending

I recently wrote an op-ed for the Daily Signal entitled: Despite COVID-19, US Can’t Afford to Cut Defense Spending.

As countries across the globe struggle to cope with the human and economic costs of COVID-19, it is of grave concern that some in the United States have advocated for cuts to defense spending in order to focus on the response to the virus. This is a false choice. COVID-19 is not the first or only global crisis that the United States has had to confront, and history demonstrates that America is able to respond simultaneously to crises without jeopardizing our national defense. The United States has already responded with the largest economic rescue plan for individuals, families, and businesses in our nation’s history. While we are 30 years removed from the Cold War, or 75 years from the last world war, the global landscape is more complex and increasingly dangerous. The war in Syria—or a virus in Wuhan—show that seemingly isolated crises have significant global consequences. To read the full op-ed, click here.

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Best wishes for a safe and patriotic Fourth of July!

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