36 More Work Weeks with Congressman Faso

Welcome to the response to John Faso’s weekly newsletter “Work Week With Congressman Faso.”

Each week we will highlight what the Congressman is neglecting to tell his constituents, point out his inconsistencies and hypocrisies and show how he damages NY-19 with his devotion to Trump and the Republican Agenda.

Week Ending March 30

John Faso’s statements from his weekly newsletter are in red:

Discussing Higher Education Policy at SUNY Oneonta

I had the pleasure of meeting with SUNY Oneonta President Nancy Kleniewski and her staff earlier this week. We discussed education policy and President Kleniewski gave me a campus tour. The building modernizations on the campus are truly impressive. We discussed a range of issues relating to higher education, including student debt and job placement opportunities.

Faso pretends concern about student debt

Representative Faso wants us to trust that he’s got our backs on higher education policy, particularly student debt.  What kind of trust is he talking about, when he and his Republican colleagues in the House proposed a sweeping overhaul of a federal law that governs almost every aspect of higher education, a plan that would eliminate popular student aid programs and impose restrictions on others.

The legislation would end the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, a $732 million program that provided aid to 1.6 million students in the 2014-15 academic year. It would also wind down the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant, a federal program that provides money to students willing to work in high-needs schools or teach subjects in desperate need of educators for four years.  House Republicans are also envisioning the end of loan forgiveness for college graduates who pursue careers in the public sector, much as the White House budget does.  They propose doing away with Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a program that presently wipes away federal student debt for people in the public sector after they have made 10 years’ worth of payments.  “It’s a very regressive and punitive change,” said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “The cap provides some insurance that your costs will never exceed a certain amount of money. It’s useful and worth exploring, but taking away any form of loan forgiveness is a big penalty.” [washingtonpost.com  12/1/17]

While not Ideal, the Omnibus had Priorities for the Nation and Upstate New York

The budget process in Washington is seriously broken, and the timing of this legislation – more than six months into the fiscal year – is a perfect illustration of this dysfunction. Nonetheless, the omnibus appropriations bill includes numerous priorities for Upstate New York communities, families, and businesses. Many of the provisions in this bill were issues I advocated for, including rebuilding the military, increased funding for mental health services, more robust funding for combating the opioid crisis, and numerous environmental improvements.  Most important, this legislation reverses serious declines in military readiness and addresses critical priorities set forth by Defense Secretary James Mattis. President Trump signed this legislation into law on Friday afternoon.

Not so fast, Faso:  

Look at how you actually voted in the past on those “priorities”.  There’s a serious disconnect between what you say you favor and how you vote.

Rebuilding the military and improved support for Veterans: On Feb.15, 2018, you voted for H.R.620, along with the House Republican majority, to gut the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), one of the major federal supports for veterans.  The Republicans pretended they are proposing merely a “supplement” to the ADA, but in reality, their vote renders the ADA broken, making it much more difficult, and a lot more time-intensive for the rights of millions of disabled Americans to be protected. And look at what your votes for the Republican health care bill doesn’t do for veterans.

Increased funding for mental health services and More robust funding for combating the opioid crisis:  Faso claims he urged the House Appropriations Committee to robustly fund mental health programs in the omnibus package.  But he voted twice for the Republican health care bill that stoked outrage among mental health and addiction groups for its proposed steep cuts to Medicaid, the government’s single largest payer for mental health services and in the process dismantle the tools used to fight substance abuse.

Numerous environmental improvements: Faso touts his introducing a bill to “spur innovation in key areas to combat climate change.”  But he belongs to the party that doesn’t believe in Climate Change and is led by a President who pulled our country out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and opened the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and much of the East and West coasts to oil drilling, while promoting the fossil fuel industry.  He also touts his working for Dept. of Agriculture loan program support for Habitat for Humanity but doesn’t mention the fact that Trump had proposed a budget will cut funding to the Dept. of Agriculture by 15% and eliminate this loan program.

Curbing the Opioid Crisis by Fighting Foreign Synthetic Drugs

Much of the deadly synthetic drugs that are causing a spike in nationwide drug overdoses enter the country through the U.S. Postal Service. The STOP Act would strengthen monitoring and enforcement procedures by requiring foreign postal services to provide advanced electronic shipping data to flag packages for more rigorous inspection. This legislation, H.R. 1057/S. 372, is a bipartisan effort to address this serious issue. I’m lead sponsor on this bill with over 260 sponsors from both parties in the House. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) leads 30 bi-partisan sponsors in the Senate. The STOP Act is a common-sense proposal and one that will be a significant part of any strategy to cut off the stream of deadly synthetic drugs like fentanyl entering American streets from overseas producers.


Not So Fast, Faso:

The opioid crisis is a health care issue.  Unless people have access to healthcare to get treatment, we will not solve this crisis.  

You voted to take your constituents’ healthcare away.  

Faso Introduces Resolution to Recognize Upper Delaware River and Working with Environmental Advocates

The Upper Delaware River Watershed is tremendously important to our regional economy. It attracts visitors from around the globe who come to enjoy the top notch outdoor and nature-based experiences it offers, while at the same time supporting our local businesses. With the help of more than 100 Delaware River advocates, I introduced a resolution recognizing the importance of the river.
I met with Delaware River and Chesapeake watershed advocates to discuss the issue of funding for the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, along with my newly introduced resolution recognizing the importance of the Upper Delaware River. Funding for this on-going program was secured in the recently passed appropriations measure. I was pleased that Colchester Supervisor Art Merrill and former Hancock Supervisor Sam Rowe were in attendance as well as Jeff Skelding and other representatives of the Friends of the Upper Delaware River.

Not So Fast, Faso:

Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency belong on the Wall of Shame along with other Trump appointees Betsy Devos and Ben Carson.  

Within the first weeks of his Presidency, Donald Trump signed an executive order to roll back President Barack Obama’s clean water rule. That environmental regulation was issued in 2015 to give the federal government authority to limit pollution in major bodies of water, rivers, streams, and wetlands.

“Trump just put millions of acres of wetlands on the chopping block, and our wildlife and waters will suffer,” Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.

Regarding Scott Pruitt, former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy suggested Friday evening her successor at the agency  has no idea what he is doing.

During an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” McCarthy was asked “how bad is it” under Pruitt. “It couldn’t be worse, right?” asked host Maher.

“It’s true,” she replied. “The only thing that could be worse is if he actually knew what he was doing.”

Discussion with Ben Shapiro

Earlier this week, I had the chance to listen to Ben Shapiro. Ben strongly promotes free speech and Judeo-Christian values on his popular national daily podcast which has over 1 million listeners.

Not So Fast, Faso:

One of the most divisive, intellectually dishonest conservative muckrakers this side of Ann Coulter.

Ben Shapiro wrote ‘The People Vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama,” a quickie book filled with to cash in with his rabid base.  Not so astonishingly, he remains silent on the real and present danger caused by the corrupt Trump administration.

But nice picture, John

Meeting with Pawling Middle School

I had the chance to meet with the kids from Pawling Central School District Middle School. The Dutchess County group took a trip to Washington to learn more about our country’s founding and to visit some of the historical sites. My staff was also able to give them a tour of the Capitol building. Thank you to Principal Allan Lipsky for your role in shaping the lives of our youth.

Not So Fast, Faso:

Did you watch the disastrous Betsy DeVos interview on 60 Minutes?  Better yet did you watch Kate McKinnon as Betsy DeVos on SNL? In a cabinet consisting of incompetents, Betsy Devos stands high above the rest:

“While it was laughable to see Education Secretary Betsy DeVos mocked on “Saturday Night Live,” or struggle to answer even basic questions about the American educational system during an abysmal interview on “60 Minutes,” the potential for long-term damage to the nation’s education system should be even more concerning. Her ideas, or more likely the marching orders she gets from the Trump administration, put schoolchildren, especially students of color, at risk.”

Boston Globe, March 23, 2018


Friends Committee on National Legislation

The Friends Committee on National Legislation stopped by to discuss immigration issues, such as protections for participants in the DACA program. I will continue to advocate on behalf of DACA participants so they can continue to contribute to American society.  Through months of negotiations, I have come to support three different proposals that would address DACA, while also accounting for the need to strengthen border security. I remain hopeful that Congress can address this issue on a bi-partisan basis.

Not so fast, Faso:

The best thing you could do for DACA participants is switch parties:

DACA is ending because Trump ended it.

Was he under pressure from Republicans to act? Yes. Was one of them his own attorney general? Indeed, though Trump has shown himself to be ready, eager and willing to ignore or publicly scorn Jeff Sessions.

As for the congressional GOP’s work-rate, well, let’s consider Majority Whip John Cornyn’s assessment from February.

“I don’t see it,” he said of the potential for a new round of talks. “We couldn’t get it together this week. We’ve got other things we have to do, which are pressing.”

So, yes, Republicans might well be working hard, but no, it’s not on pursuing a viable path to salvage DACA.  No matter what Trump argues, and he’s made this claim repeatedly on Twitter, the facts are clear.

Gregory Krieg, March 5, 2018


That’s it for this week’s rebuttal.

To be continued next week….

Catskills Freedom Network is a federally registered political committee. Prepared by CFN PAC and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. catskillsfreedom.org

That’s it for this week’s rebuttal.
To be continued next week….

Catskills Freedom Network is a federally registered political committee. Prepared by CFN PAC and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. catskillsfreedom.org