37 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 23

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

Mental Health Programs Need Adequate Funding

Due to the constant use of short-term funding measures, many mental health programs authorized under the 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in 2016, have gone underfunded or have not been funded at all.
I co-led a letter with a bipartisan coalition of 27 colleagues urging committee leadership to robustly fund mental health programs in the upcoming government funding bill. We cannot allow mental health programs to continue to go underfunded or passed off as not an immediate priority. This is particularly important with inmate population in local jails and community mental health programs, especially in medically underserved areas.

Not So Fast, Faso:

The Republicans (R) control all funding measures at the moment – isn’t it more than a bit disingenuous to complain about short-term, under or non-existing funding?   What was that letter in parentheses after your name?  Hint: it’s not (D).

Under Pressure, Governor Cuomo Lashes Out

Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a letter to my office lashing out about the passage of the federal tax bill, which I did not support. It was an odd and surprising move by the Governor who seems more focused on engaging in hyper-partisan political fights than in substantive governing. Mr. Cuomo objected to my inquiring of the Treasury Department about whether establishing state charitable foundations to receive state and local tax payments from taxpayers in New York would qualify under IRS rules as deductible. I did so in response to inquiries from constituents and local accountants concerned about this question.
I sent a response to the Governor reminding him that he could have worked with those in the New York delegation who shared his stance on the tax bill instead of simply grandstanding for political gain.

No So Fast, Faso:

You’re saying you Don’t Support the federal Tax Bill?

Yes, you were given a pass by House leadership not to vote for it.  However, are you now saying you don’t support Paul Ryan as Speaker who orchestrated its passage?  Are you now saying you don’t support President Trump who signed it into law? Are you now saying you don’t support the Republican Party?  You voted for that leadership.

Ryan, Trump and Republicans are responsible for the passage of the horrific, awful, no good, terrible, giveaway-to-the-one-percent Tax Bill.  If you’re still with them YOU SUPPORT THE FEDERAL TAX BILL.

We see you trying to run from it, but you can’t hide and this tactic won’t work in the upcoming campaign.

Let’s dive deeper into this issue:  Hold on there, Faso. Let’s see how you actually voted on the federal Tax Bill.  On Nov.16 (House version of Tax Bill), Dec.19 (Conference Committee version of Tax Bill), and Dec. 20 (final version of Tax Bill)–with the assurance that there were enough Republican votes to pass the bill–you voted “NAY.”  You stated, as your reason, “I remain concerned about the elimination of the deduction for state income taxes and will continue to advocate for such a policy and ensure this plan works for New York middle class families.” Is that your only objection?  Let’s get serious.

While most households would get a tax cut from the Republican tax bill, 82 percent of the benefit would go to the wealthiest 1% over time, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.  The bill would sharply cut taxes for corporations and individuals, though many of the tax cuts for individuals expire as a budget gimmick to make the bill look less costly. The average household would pay $1,600 less in taxes next year, increasing after-tax incomes 2.2 percent, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.  But the benefits skew toward the wealthier households, especially over time. In 2025, the last year before the individual tax cuts expire, 76 percent of households would pay about $2,500 less in taxes. But by 2027, only a quarter of taxpayers would see a cut. The rich would greatly benefit from the plan, despite Republican’s repeated claims to the contrary

You say you’re working for New York middle class families, Faso?  Talk about “grandstanding for political gain”!

Passage of STOP School Violence Act

Earlier this week, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 4909, the STOP School Violence Act. The final vote tallied to 407-10, and the Senate has introduced its own companion version on a strong bipartisan basis.
No child or educator should feel unsafe in their own school. We are faced with a complex problem in dealing with school security and it requires a multi-faceted solution. The STOP School Violence Act strengthens school security by making improvements in multiple layers of the security apparatus, most notably implementing measures to prevent violence before it happens.
Specifically, the new legislation provides funding through a competitive grant program for training of law enforcement, students, and school faculty to better identify threats. This funding also finances new equipment, such as lighting and reporting systems, metal detectors, locks, and other advanced security upgrades.

No so Fast, Faso:

This is all well and good, but nowhere near enough. BTW: your very first vote in Congress was to repeal an Obama-era rule that made it more difficult for mentally ill people to buy guns. The rule, made in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, added people deemed disabled as a result of mental illness to the federal background check database for gun purchases. But YOU, John Faso, voted to repeal it!  Kids are dying while you try to have it both ways. It’s time for you to show whose side you are on.

And while we’re on the subject, there is nothing in the STOP School Violence Act related to gun safety. No effort to expand background checks, ban assault rifles, high-capacity magazines or bump stocks, or raise the age for buying guns. This bill, passed on the same day that thousands of students walked out of class to protest gun violence, is a transparent attempt to change the subject and move on. Just what your benefactor, the NRA, wants.

Let’s dive deeper:  Faso, an NRA champion, voted on gun legislation that contradicts his stated desire to address background checks and mental health.

  • The congressman voted to allow concealed weapons across state lines, regardless of individual state laws.
  • He voted to allow veterans deemed mentally incompetent to purchase guns.
  • He voted to prohibit restrictions on individuals deemed incapable of managing their federal benefit payments.

Faso’s votes have been in line with Trump 87 percent of the time. The rare times he votes against Trump’s positions are when the GOP does not need his vote for legislation to pass. Now that the midterms are approaching, Faso wants to present himself as a moderate. We can’t be fooled again.

Punishing the Russians

I support the sanctions placed on Russian individuals and entities who interfered in the 2016 election and sowed discord in American society. We must combat Russia’s efforts to divide and polarize our nation along partisan lines through fake news and phony internet sites.

Not So Fast, Faso:

Your Republican colleagues on the Intelligence Committee ended their investigation into Russian interference and issued a bogus report, saying there was no collusion between Trump and the Russians, yet they really didn’t interview the people they should have, and the people they did interview weren’t under subpoena, i.e., weren’t forced to tell the whole story. It’s time you stood up to what is very likely treason at the highest levels of government.  

You were entrusted with a sacred and solemn duty to act as check and balance to the Executive Branch as set forth in our Constitution.  Our Founding Fathers foresaw a day when a tyrant would try to consolidate power. What they didn’t foresee was the Legislative Branch would fail so miserably in their duty.  

On November 6, 2018, we will rectify this situation.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Needs Re-authorization

The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established in the 1960’s and has been a critical investment tool to support public land conservation and ensure access for the community to the outdoors. Currently, there is a 216-acre parcel of land along the Appalachian Trail within the 19th District that is labeled as a priority acquisition using LWCF resources.
The LWCF has worked for Upstate New York and we should ensure it continues to work. Reauthorizing the program is in the best interest of Upstate New Yorkers, who have had the pleasure of enjoying lands under conservation.

Not So Fast, Faso:

The head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is doing his best to dismantle the agency that protects our air and water. You have said nothing about his outrageous expenditures on flights or what he is doing to our environment.

Worse, you voted to repeal the Obama-era “stream protection rule,” which would have stopped coal companies from dumping debris from the strip mining of mountaintops into the valleys and streams below. You’ve defended this decision as a move to protect the jobs of coal miners. But coal is a dying industry–coal miners are vastly outnumbered by workers in clean energy industries–and environmental pollution is forever.

How are you going to accomplish that, Faso, when your Republican party and President have appointed Ryan Zinke as Secretary of the Interior, who stated, as soon as he was appointed, that he would support the Trump administration’s plan to hand over federal public lands to the oil and gas industries.  He spent his first year in office selling off rights to federal public lands.  And he attacked the Antiquities Act, the land preservation law signed in 1906 by Zinke’s supposed hero, Theodore Roosevelt. 

The LWCF is America’s most important conservation and recreation program, which has saved places in nearly every state and every county in the U.S.  It will expire on September 30, 2018 without action from Congress.  But with the present Republican control of Congress and Zinke as the present head of Interior, there’s slim-to-no chance that LWCF will continue to protect public land.  One group who realize the seriousness of this offensive on public lands, is Zinke’s fellow veterans, who consider Zinke a sellout. [VetVoiceFoundation, 3/10/2018]  And Faso, with his voting almost 90% of the time with his Republican colleagues, is a sellout right along with him.

SNAP Program Should Also Promote Healthy Choices

The Bipartisan Policy Center released a report recommending changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). One recommendation is to eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the list of items eligible to be purchased with SNAP benefits in favor of healthier options.
I agree that SNAP benefits should be used to purchase healthy foods and will be working with my colleagues on the House Committee on Agriculture to promote healthy eating and limit the use of SNAP for purchasing soda in the upcoming Farm Bill.

Not So Fast, Faso:

Republicans often complain about the “nanny state,” but Rep. Faso and Donald Trump have no problem telling poor people what they can and can’t buy with food stamps. Trump recently proposed that SNAP recipients be forced to accept half of their benefits in the form of a “USDA food package” that would consist of products such as pasta and canned fruits and vegetables. Of course, this would mean a less healthy diet with fewer fresh fruits and vegetables and less meat. But it would help reduce the cost of SNAP by $213 billion over 10 years–a 30% cut. We don’t know where Faso stands on this proposal, but his support for the Bipartisan Policy Center idea suggests that he supports it.

The Cary Institute is Performing Cutting-Edge Research

The health of our lakes and ecosystem is a significant issue. The National Science Foundation recently awarded a grant to the Cary Institute in Millbrook. This grant will aid the Cary Institute in studying how we can best manage freshwater resources. Results from this research will help lawmakers and local officials create policy measures that better account for potential impacts to lakes and other freshwater bodies of water.

Not So Fast, Faso:

John, this this is getting old:   Once again your statements directly contradict the policies of your Republican policy:

NY Times 1/31/18:   “The Trump administration has formally suspended a major Obama-era clean water regulation ahead of plans to issue its own version of the rule later this year. President Trump has taken aim at the bitterly contested rule, known as Waters of the United States, since his campaign, calling it “one of the worst examples of federal regulation.” Among Mr. Trump’s first actions in office was an executive order directing his Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, to begin the legal process of rescinding the rule and replacing it with a more industry-friendly alternative.”

The New York National Guard Serves as Protectors, Healers, and Global Ambassadors of New York

I met with Major General Tony German and Major General Ray Shields of the New York National Guard to discuss the importance of the Guard along with the wide array of duties they perform. One specific issue that we discussed is how government shutdowns negatively impact the Guard’s operations and cost taxpayers millions of dollars in wasted spending.

John, the Republicans control the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Presidency.  If government shutdowns have such an negative impact, here’s an idea:

Don’t Shut it Down.  

You and your party are in control have the power to keep the government open.  What you’re really saying is that the incompetence of your Republican leadership “has negative impacts to the Guard’s operations and costs taxpayers millions in dollars in wasted spending.”

Importance of Rome Labs in Upstate New York

I am happy to have had the opportunity to meet with four-star Air Force General Ellen Pawlikowski to get an update on Rome Labs in Oneida County and the legislative priorities of the Air Force for the upcoming year. General Pawlikowski also discussed the negative effect that government shutdowns have on the military’s civilian workforce. The civilian workforce has an extremely important role in contributing to military readiness. A number of NY 19 constituents work at Rome Labs.

Defender of Community Health Centers

Rose Duhan and other representatives from the Community Health Care Association of New York State stopped by to discuss issues before Congress that are important to their mission. Community health centers provide high-quality primary and preventive health care throughout Upstate New York, especially to under-served populations.

Since joining Congress in January 2017, I have been a strong advocate for community health centers. I was happy to meet with Rose and other members of the state association and look forward to continue working with them to ensure community health centers in New York are able to fulfill their mission. I was honored to receive an award from the group in recognition of my efforts.

Not So Fast, Faso:

John, if you care so much about community health centers, it is impossible  to explain your vote for the American Health Care Act, the Obamacare repeal and replace bill that would have gutted Medicaid, one of the primary funding sources for CHCs. Under that legislation, the federal government would have capped its contribution to Medicaid, giving states block grants that would have forced draconian cuts in state Medicaid programs. While Congress did raise the allocation for CHCs by about 10% in the recent budget deal, the several-month delay in approval of those funds and the renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program–mainly because of Republican resistance–forced many CHCs to “curtail services, freeze hiring or put off purchases of equipment,” the New York Times reported.

New York Apple Association

This week, I met with representatives from New York Apple about NAFTA trade negotiations, the status of immigration reform in Congress and the upcoming Farm Bill. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I will continue my advocacy on behalf of New York farmers and agricultural producers to insure that Northeastern farm interest are protected. We were also joined at our meeting by a young apple farmer, representing the third generation on his family farm.

Not So Fast, Faso:

You say you are for farmers?  They need immigration reform so they can have enough pickers to pick their crops that you oppose.  They need the kind of real tax breaks that the Republican tax bill did not provide, and you voted for the leadership that put that bill through. Shame on you.

National Humanities Alliance

I met with representatives from the National Humanities Alliance about federal funding for the arts and humanities. New York 19 has a high concentration of arts and humanities-related organizations and businesses which enrich our culture and drive tourism. These institutions help generate economic growth and tourism throughout the Hudson Valley, Central New York and Catskills.

John, this is getting real old.   It’s as if you don’t think we follow what your party is doing to the country:   

President Donald Trump’s newly unveiled 2019 budget again proposes the elimination of funding for the three major entities that award federal funding for public broadcasting and the arts: the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Assisting Affordable Housing

I met with Kevin O’Connor of RUPCO, a non-profit housing organization in Kingston and other affordable housing advocates from around the state earlier this week. RUPCO is a NeighborWorks organization that works to create affordable housing opportunities in the 19th District.  With the appropriations process ongoing, I am leading a letter with Representative Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) advocating for sufficient funding to continue this important work. Access to affordable housing is an essential need for our most vulnerable populations.

American Urological Association

The American Urological Association, led by Dr. Ronald Kaufman of the Albany Medical Center,  stopped by my office to discuss numerous issues currently before Congress. Of particular concern is the looming shortage of primary care and specialty physicians needed to care for our increasingly aged population. We also discussed critical medical research being conducted at the National Institutes of Health.  



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