Weekly Update - Week of February 8th, 2021

February 16, 2021
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This Week in Washington
Statement on Bombshell NY Post Reporting on Cuomo's Coverup
Governor Cuomo, the Secretary to the Governor, and his senior team must be prosecuted immediately - both by the Attorney General of New York State and the U.S. Department of Justice. This bombshell admission of a coverup and the remarks by the Secretary to the Governor indicating intent to obstruct any federal investigation is a stunning and criminal abuse of power. I have said from the beginning that this is more than a nursing home scandal, this is a massive corruption and coverup scandal at the highest level of New York State Government implicating the Governor, the Secretary to the Governor, the New York State Health Commissioner and the Governor’s staff. The families who lost loved ones, New Yorkers, and all Americans deserve accountability from the U.S. Department of Justice that will be independent and not swayed by the desperate political pressure from Governor Cuomo.
This is President Joe Biden’s first test of whether he will have a truly independent Department of Justice or whether he will bend to the desperate political pressure from Governor Cuomo. After yesterday’s bombshell report, there is absolutely no question that an immediate independent investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice is warranted. I am calling for a full transcript to be released of today’s meeting or any conversation between President Biden and Governor Cuomo so that the American people can be assured that President Biden is not complicit in this apparent criminal coverup and admitted obstruction of justice. If there is no Department of Justice investigation into this public admission of federal crimes, this will be a stain on the entire Biden Presidency.
This week, I co-sponsored the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act which I previously co-sponsored in past Congresses. The legislation guarantees access to health insurance coverage, prohibits pre-existing condition benefit exclusions, and bans premium ratings based on health status – reaffirming my commitment to uphold safeguards and protect insurance coverage for North Country residents with pre-existing conditions. I will always fight to protect individuals and families with pre-existing health conditions. I have co-sponsored this bill in previous Congresses, and am proud to co-sponsor it again to ensure we are strengthening healthcare coverage for the North Country. Read more here.
Since my first year in Congress, I have proudly served on the Committee on Education and Labor. I have helped deliver a landmark rewrite of America's K-12 education law, strengthened career and technical education in our schools, and supported our seniors through a reauthorization of the Older Americans Act, among many other important improvements to education and labor policy. I am honored to be appointed to both the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee, and the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. In these subcommittees I will focus on getting Americans back to work, reforming the federal investment in higher education, and enhancing the well-being and economic security of America’s workers. The Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee will play a central role in equipping Americans to excel in the modern economy, and advancing America's global economic competitiveness as we combat China’s efforts to influence U.S. campuses. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over education and workforce development beyond the high school level, including higher education, postsecondary student assistance, workforce development and apprenticeships, science and technology programs, the arts and humanities, and national service. These programs and institutions will be at the forefront of our efforts to reconnect millions of displaced workers with meaningful careers, enhance opportunities for lifelong learning so workers can continue to excel as technology changes the nature of work, and develop the talent necessary to fuel American innovation and leadership in the 21st century. I look forward to representing the North Country’s broad range of postsecondary institutions, including renowned, private research institutions, liberal arts colleges, public universities, community colleges, and career training programs. I am also honored to be appointed to serve on the Workforce Protections Subcommittee. This subcommittee has jurisdiction over workers’ wages, hours, and compensation, family and medical leave, and occupational safety and health. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented new challenges for workers and employers alike, making it critical to put forth solutions that will help small businesses maintain a healthy workplace for their employees, support working families and new parents, and protect the freedom of workers to engage in the modern economy as independent contractors Read more here.
After midnight, following many hours of debate throughout Tuesday night, my fellow House Republicans and I on the Committee of Education and Labor offered common-sense, bipartisan amendments to President Biden's partisan COVID-19 relief plan. These proposals focused on helping schools across the country safely reopen, small businesses stay afloat, and workers reenter the workforce. In their unsurprising partisan rebuke, Democrats on the Committee voted against every, single, bipartisan proposal. My proposals would have:
  • Expanded Rural Child Care Options – This amendment would have reserved 5% of funds in the proposed Child Care Stabilization Fund to address childcare needs in rural communities, to be used for recruiting new child care providers to rural communities and providing them funds to cover start-up expenses, supporting family child care providers to increase their capacity, supporting child care providers to offer care during non-traditional hours, and partnering with businesses to develop on-site child care options for their employees.
  • Redirected Funds to Community Colleges – This amendment would have reinstated a provision from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (December relief package) to reallocate money from wealthy institutions to community colleges in need, to be used as grants for students, sanitation, PPE, or other health and safety expenses they can hardly afford.
  • Invested in Workforce Development – This amendment would have added $4.58 billion dollars for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act's dislocated worker grants, to provide job training to unemployed workers. Democrats instead support a bill that includes zero dollars for workforce development. 
  • Prohibited Funds to Institutions Partnering with CCP – This amendment would have prohibited academic institutions from funding if they have a partnership with any entity owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the government of the People’s Republic of China or organized under the laws of the Chinese Communist Party.
My Democratic colleagues say they want to get America's children back to school, expand child care for working families, provide support for businesses and workers, and stand up to Communist China, but their voting record last night proves just the opposite. They voted against every commonsense proposal offered by myself and my colleagues, all of which would have addressed the needs of millions of Americans across the country. Their hasty partisanship is deeply disappointing -- the American people deserve leaders who are willing to compromise and accept various solutions from the other side of the aisle. Read more here.
On Tuesday, President Biden withdrew a proposed rule requiring U.S. higher education institutions to disclose their relationships with Confucius Institutes, entities within American colleges and schools that are funded and staffed by China’s Ministry of Education. President Biden’s decision to rescind a rule that compelled U.S. colleges to disclose their relationships with Confucius Institutes is not only short-sighted and harmful – it decreases transparency in our education system and emboldens the Chinese Communist Party. Confucius Institutes have long been used by the CCP to push communist propaganda, repress freedom of speech and thought, and enable malign activities on American college campuses. This illogical decision helps fuel the propaganda of America’s number one adversary, jeopardizes the integrity of our education system, and puts students on American campuses at risk.
This week, along with Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16), I reintroduced the Chinese Research Funds Act, legislation that will determine the amount of federal research funding that has been provided to entities in the People's Republic of China, or to entities majority owned and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Chinese Research Funds Accounting Act will direct the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on Federal research funding made available to entities located within the PRC, or majority owned or controlled by the CCP, over the last five years. Such a study would examine:
  • The total amount of Federal research funding made available to these entities within the PRC or controlled by the CCP
  • The total number and type of entities that received such funding
  • The requirements related to the awarding, tracking, and monitoring of such Federal funds
  • Any other data available with respect to Federal research funds being made available to such entities
It is more important than ever to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for their actions following their coverup of the COVID-19 pandemic. This bill will allow Congress to increase its oversight on American dollars sent to China for shared international research, and takes an important step in ensuring America's intellectual property is not stolen. Read more here.
Monday, along with my fellow House Republicans, I sent a letter to President Biden urging that he does not re-enter the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The letter highlights the many ways Iran has violated the flawed Iran Nuclear Deal, compared with the successes that resulted from the Trump administration’s strong leadership, including imposing crippling sanctions on the Iranian regime, the killing of terrorist Qassim Soleimani, and deterring Iran's malign activities in the region. The letter reads in part, "Iran does not respect weakness. It only respects strength...Iran doesn’t want the U.S. to reenter the JCPOA for their love of humanity. Iran wants this because it knows what to expect from last time around: making out like bandits with the sanctions relief, and ramping up its other non-nuclear malign activities, while still securing their nuclear weapons capability." The decision by President Biden to re-enter the flawed and dangerous Iranian nuclear agreement would be a calamitous mistake, putting our national security at risk and ignoring Iran's repeated violations of the JCPOA, as House Democrats suggest Read the full letter here.
District Meetings and Events
Joined Clinton County Legislature Meeting
On Wednesday night, I joined the Clinton County Legislature for their online meeting to discuss COVID-19 relief, support for small businesses, families, and schools. It is great to stay in touch with our local elected officials. Thank you to the group for allowing me to participate.
In The News
 
Press Republican - Reps in Action: Feb. 10, 2021
 
Stefanik cosponsors USPS Fairness Act
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Last week, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) cosponsored the United States Postal Service (USPS) Fairness Act.
 
If enacted, the legislation would repeal the mandate forcing the USPS to pre-fund their retiree health care decades in advance. According to a press release, no other enterprise in the United States faces the requirement, which costs the USPS more than $5 billion dollars each year.

Estimates suggest the agency would have been deficit-free for the past six years if it were not for this one mandate.
 
“The USPS provides essential services for our North Country communities, families, veterans and seniors," Stefanik said in a statement.
"The urgent financial issues that it faces must be addressed to ensure it can continue operating smoothly. I am proud to cosponsor the USPS Fairness Act and offer a tangible solution that will put the USPS on a solid path to greater fiscal stability and a stronger future."
 
Stefanik offers amendment to National Apprenticeship Act
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) gave remarks on the House floor on her amendment to the National Apprenticeship Act.
 
According to a press release, the amendment would encourage the development of an apprenticeship program that is responsive to the demands of the 21st century workplace, accessible to job-creators in emerging industries and encourages both employers and workers to participate by reducing red tape and burdensome regulations.
 
In her remarks, Stefanik pointed to how nearly nine million fewer Americans are working than before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, as well as Congress' responsibility to put forth meaningful solutions to strengthen pathways to careers.
 
She argued that apprenticeship programs were underutilized, and that the bill's current version "doubles down on a one-size-fits-all approach that closes pathways into the workforce, and stifles employer-led innovation."
The amendment, Stefanik said, would allow small businesses to seek waivers to federal requirements that don't match the nature of their business, equip apprenticeship programs to prepare the next generation for a full range of workforce development opportunities and careers, and preserve the ability for innovation beyond the traditional registered system to ensure apprenticeship offerings can quickly develop and adapt to job market demands.
"I urge my colleagues to support this amendment to modernize the apprenticeship system and generate opportunities for American workers without the red tape and the roadblocks that remain in the underlying bill," Stefanik said.
 
Stefanik cosponsors Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville) has co-sponsored the Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act.
According to a press release, the legislation would guarantee access to health insurance coverage, prohibit pre-existing condition benefit exclusions and ban premium ratings based on health status.
 
"I will always fight to protect individuals and families with pre-existing health conditions," Stefanik said in a statement.
 
"I have co-sponsored this bill in previous Congresses, and am proud to co-sponsor it again to ensure we are strengthening health care coverage for the North Country."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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