Weekly Update - Week of January 25th, 2021

February 4, 2021
E-newsletter

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This Week in Washington

Statement on New York Attorney General Report on Nursing Home Deaths

This is now 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. Every New Yorker deserves transparency, accountability and answers regarding the orchestration of this illegal coverup. I am calling on the New York Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice to issue subpoenas immediately of Governor Cuomo and his entire staff on all documentation and internal and external communications, including with any and all associations and lobbyists who have direct ties to the Governor’s senior team related to this corrupt and illegal coverup. I am committed to doing everything I can in my power to protect the independence of the ongoing federal investigation into Governor Cuomo's nursing home disaster. President Joe Biden should pledge to do the same. As a fellow New Yorker, I want to publicly thank the effective and tireless advocates who have humbly served as the voice of their lost loved ones and have faced inexcusably cruel treatment from the Governor and his entire team, who we know have orchestrated a criminal coverup and have blood on their hands.

Lead Bipartisan Push for Action on US-Canada Border Policy

Today, myself and Congressman Brian Higgins (D-NY-26) lead a bipartisan letter making several recommendations to the Biden Administration supporting opportunities to improve the existing situation at the United States - Canada border. As co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus, I am pleased that more than twenty of my republican and democratic colleagues have joined me in asking President Biden to immediately prioritize the reopening of the Northern Border. I have worked tirelessly with our counterparts in Canada on this issue, as it continues to impact North Country businesses, families, and communities. Today we’ve outlined tangible steps the Biden Administration can take to immediately relieve the hardships placed on border communities while charting a clear pathway forward. I will not stop working on behalf of my constituents until there is a tangible, long-lasting solution. The letter, signed by a bipartisan coalition of 24 members of Congress, says in part, “…as we approach one year of restricted travel, we also must recognize the significant impact these restrictions have had on individuals, families, businesses, and communities on both sides of the border. The continued ritual of monthly extensions without substantive signs of collaboration or progress only increases uncertainty and amplifies hardship for the border communities we represent. Since the onset of the restrictions, we have been adamant that preserving the deep social and economic bond shared between the U.S. and Canada necessitates a clear pathway forward.” The border between the US and Canada first closed to non-essential travel due to the pandemic in March of 2020 and restrictions continue to be in place today. On January 21, 2021 President Biden issued an executive order addressing northern border restrictions, calling for US departments to work with Canadian agencies and develop a plan to be delivered within 14-days. Read more here.

Introduced the Protecting Rural Access to Care Act

Joined Bipartisan Effort to Prevent and Treat Child Abuse

On Monday, I  joined a bipartisan group of fellow Education and Labor Committee Members to introduce the Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (Stronger CAPTA) to strengthen federal efforts to prevent the harmful impacts of child abuse. Stronger CAPTA includes an amendment that I authored to authorize and fund a National Child Abuse Hotline. I am very proud to reintroduce the Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, a much-needed, bipartisan bill to address the unacceptable rise in child abuse cases across the country. This bill will provide funding to improve the quality of child protective services, increase collaboration between states, and strengthen support for families in New York’s 21st Congressional District. Unfortunately, at a time when fewer children are in the classroom due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this bill is more important than ever. Read more here.

Reintroduced a Resolution to Investigate Origins of COVID-19 & Hold CCP Accountable Amid Biden Decision to Rejoin WHO

Following an announcement from the Biden administration that the U.S. would be rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and I announced plans to reintroduce our resolution calling for an international investigation into the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) cover-up of the COVID-19 outbreak. The WHO has allowed Beijing to dictate the terms of the investigation and stated their intention is “not about finding China guilty.”

Originally introduced in March 2020, Senator Hawley’s resolution also calls on Beijing to make restitution to all those nations who have suffered on account of its lies. This week, I introduced companion legislation in the House. As the leader of the free world, President Joe Biden has the power to demand answers from the World Health Organization (WHO) as to why they promoted Chinese misinformation about the global COVID-19 pandemic that ultimately led to profound economic and human wreckage in hundreds of countries, including the loss of more than 400,000 American lives. Instead, President Biden made the illogical decision to rejoin the WHO without repercussions or demands for critical reforms. President Biden must stand up for the American people, and hold tax-payer funded, global organizations like the WHO responsible when America’s interests are being ignored. Read more here.

Sent Letter to President Biden Urging the Prioritization of Emerging Technologies

On Wednesday, I sent a letter to the White House, signed by twenty two House Republican colleagues, urging President Biden to prioritize engagement and cooperation with our allies on emerging technologies. I strongly urge President Biden to engage with our allies on emerging technology issues. China is undoubtedly the greatest military, economic, and geopolitical threat to the United States and our allies in this century, as exemplified by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) effort to lead the world in critical emerging technologies like 5G communications and artificial intelligence. The CCP’s model of state-backed capitalism and civil-military fusion allows China to make significant investments and advancements in these critical technologies. Therefore, it is critical that the United States cooperates with our allies to scale the development and deployment of these emerging technologies in order to challenge China’s goal of total global technology leadership and tech authoritarianism. Our allies support this cooperation, and this letter hereby demonstrates the willingness of congressional republicans to work with President Biden on this important issue impacting the economic and national security of the United States. Read the full letter above.

My Legislation Led to New CDC Data That Will Help Prevent the Spread of Lyme Disease

In 2019, I co-sponsored and helped pass the TICK Act, which developed the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) framework for a national strategy to approach vector-borne diseases. Due to that legislation, the CDC’s recent report indicates that cases of tick-borne Lyme disease may actually be more than 10 times higher than previous records indicated – an alarming but important new discovery that will help fight the spread of tick-borne illnesses.

Lyme disease is unfortunately an illness that many North Country residents live with. Throughout my time in Congress, I have met with many constituents and families who are impacted by Lyme disease and advocate for prevention and detection. I am encouraged that the CDC now has a more definitive picture of the impact of Lyme disease in the United States and in the North Country. While tick-borne diseases still pose a serious public health threat, this new data will allow the CDC, lawmakers, and the American people identify new ways to prevent and detect the disease. I will continue to be an outspoken advocate on this issue in Congress.

A link to the recent CDC report can be found here.

 

District Meetings and Events

Joined North Country Workforce Development Board Discussion

On Monday, I joined the North Country Workforce Development Board to discuss the current state of the local economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. We also discussed how we can continue working together to get people back to work and recover our local economy. In addition to securing billions of dollars in federal funding for small businesses, child care, and workforce training programs, I am particularly proud to have introduced the Elevating America’s Workforce Act, which would invest $8.6 billion to help unemployed workers receive the training and skills they need. I look forward to continue working closely with local leaders on behalf of North Country workers, families, and businesses. Read more here.

Participated in Herkimer County Legislature Meeting

On Thursday, I participated in the Herkimer County Virtual Legislators Meeting to provide an update on my work to support our schools, small businesses, and rural communities as we work together to beat COVID-19. In addition, I provided an update on vaccine distribution and federal resources that have been utilized. It was great conversation and I appreciate the opportunity to participate!

Joined ARCC Virtual Lunch With Your Legislators

Today, I joined the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce (ARCC)'s Virtual Lunch With Your Legislators along with several state and local elected officials to discuss how we can continue to support our local small businesses as we address COVID-19. We covered many important topics including SBA programs, rural broadband deployment, supporting our local school districts, safely reopening the U.S.-Canadian border. Thank you to the ARCC for hosting this important event.

In The News

 

Watertown Daily Times:

Stefanik introduces bill to help keep rural hospitals afloat

WASHINGTON — In an effort to assure a number of north country hospitals continue to receive special benefits to help them remain financially stable, Rep. Elise M. Stefanik introduced legislation Monday to aid in the fight.

With Rep. Antonio R. Delgado, D-Rhinebeck, who represents New York’s 19th Congressional District, Rep. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, introduced the Protecting Rural Access to Care Act. The bill is meant to ensure rural hospitals currently designated as critical access hospitals are able to maintain that status, which gives them higher Medicare reimbursement rates and access to special grant programs.

Rep. Stefanik and Rep. Delgado introduced the same legislation together in August of last year, but the bill was sent to committee and never moved forward.

To receive critical access status, a hospital must be more than 35 miles away from another hospital that provides critical care. In rural and mountainous regions, as well as places where only secondary, smaller roads are available, that requirement drops to 15 miles.

Karoline Leavitt, spokeswoman for Rep. Stefanik, said at least two of the four critical access hospitals in New York’s 21st Congressional District — Lewis County General Hospital in Lowville and Gouverneur Hospital — are up for re-certification soon, and could be impacted by the new distance requirements. Other critical access hospitals in the district are River Hospital in Alexandria Bay and Clifton Fine Hospital in Star Lake, although neither is slated for re-certification anytime soon.

Rep. Stefanik said she worked with area hospitals and the administration of former President Donald J. Trump to pause the program’s re-certification process during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing hospitals up for review from losing their designation. Monday’s legislation is meant to be a more permanent solution for hospitals in the program, and also ensures new critical access hospital certifications are made following the pre-2015 rules until CMS issues new guidance. Under the bill, CMS would also be required to take public comment regarding any future rule changes.

In a joint press statement with the congresswoman, north country hospital officials expressed how important critical access-designated facilities are to the health care system in the region.

Gerald R. Cayer, chief executive officer of Lewis County General Hospital, explained that critical access designation was created in 1997 to address a slew of rural hospital closures that occurred throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

“Our elected leaders back then had the foresight to see the important role rural hospitals played in providing local access to vital health care services,” he said.

WWNY: Stefanik urges border-reopening discussion

Press Republican: Colleges to receive more federal funds

News ABC 50: Stefanik calling for international investigation on COVID-19 origins

Sun Community News: Stefanik helps introduce Protecting Rural Access to Care Act

Sun Community News: Stefanik looks to fund National Child Abuse Hotline with new bill

ABC 50 Now: Local Congresswoman joins effort to prevent and treat child abuse

Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Stefanik tries to keep smallest hospitals’ benefits

North Country Now: Rep. Stefanik introduces Protecting Rural Access to Care Act

Adirondack Daily Enterprise: North Country Officials Glad Biden is Planning for US-Canada Border Opening

Press Republican: Reps in Action: Jan. 28, 2021

WRGB Albany: Stefanik calling Gov Cuomo's handling of nursing homes 'corruption' and a 'scandal'

MyChamplainValley.com: Stefanik urges Biden to prioritize cooperation with allies on emerging technologies

Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Stefanik questions plan to keep Guard in DC until March | News, Sports, Jobs

Sun Community News: Local leaders outraged by N.Y. COVID-19 nursing home report

New York Post: Rep. Elise Stefanik says nursing home probe is ‘first step toward justice’

Press Republican: Local leaders outraged by N.Y. COVID-19 nursing home report

Albany Times Union: Lawmakers react to AG report faulting state's COVID-19 nursing home plan

Sun Community News: Stefanik helps lead bipartisan push for U.S.-Canadian border action

 

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