Only 21 More Weeks with Congressman John 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 July 13

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

Albany’s Irresponsible Spending Gambit

For years, the state of New York has dumped the costs of its Medicaid program onto county governments. This hamstrings our local governments who have no choice but to bear the burden of Albany’s irresponsible spending gambit.

The House supported my proposal to fix this spending scheme which would give the state until 2020 to remove the burden from counties in Upstate and Long Island. We’d eliminate $2.2 billion in county property taxpayer costs starting in 2020, and put hundreds of dollars annually back in the pocket of local taxpayers.

Not So Fast, Faso

Faso’s cynical ploy to play politics with Medicaid won’t work. First, any effort to relieve counties of their share of Medicaid spending would simply drive up state taxes for everyone in the state. Second, New York City already bears most of the burden of local Medicaid spending. If Faso’s bill is aimed at removing that burden only from Upstate and Long Island counties, New York City residents would have to pay higher state taxes while also continuing to pay their local share of Medicaid costs.

The subtext of Faso’s proposal (and the report of the the conservative think tank) is that suburban and rural areas should not have to help pay for a health program for the poor, who are disproportionately located in cities. That has long been the playbook of Upstate Republicans, who seem not to believe that all Americans deserve healthcare. It also fits perfectly with Faso’s support for last year’s failed American Health Care Act, which would have slashed the federal government’s Medicaid spending.

Legislation to Address Nationwide Truck Driver Shortage

According to the Trucking Association of New York, 89% of New York communities depend exclusively on trucks to move their goods. The trucking industry in the state provides more than 275,000 jobs and pays wages in excess of $13 billion annually. However, there was an estimated 50,000-driver shortage nationwide in 2017, according to the American Trucking Association. That shortage is expected to rise to 174,000 drivers by 2026, if the current trends continue.

This week, I signed up as a co-sponsor to H.R. 5358, the DRIVE-Safe Act, which would amend federal regulations currently preventing truck drivers under the age of 21 from crossing state boundaries. Currently, drivers aged under the age of 21 are not allowed to drive on interstate highways. The state of New York allows truck drivers under the age of 21, but older than 18, to drive within the state on intrastate highways, but not on interstate highways.

Demand for freight transportation is rising and the age of the truck driver workforce is growing older. This simple regulatory change would not only help alleviate the shortage, but it would also open up opportunities for young adults to enter the workforce and access good-paying jobs.

In his characteristic Orwellian style, Faso supports a bill called the DRIVE-Safe Act that would unleash teenage drivers on interstate highways behind the wheels of giant tractor-trailers. Even if they have 400 hours of on-road time behind the wheel, including 240 hours with a qualified mentor, as the bill calls for, teenagers have poor impulse control and lack mature judgment. I don’t know how the rest of you feel, but I’d be more wary about driving down the highway knowing that an 18 year old might be in the cab of the truck next to me or behind me.

If the goal is to increase the number of truck drivers in the country, perhaps training programs could be improved, wages could be raised and/or the number of hours of driving time required each week could be reduced. Surely there must be a better solution than increasing the danger of driving on our interstate highways.

Protecting Communities from Rising Recyclable Costs

This week, I urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to address the change in recyclable material import policy by the Chinese government. Previously, local waste facilities and county recycling agencies could sell their recyclables into the market, but now face higher costs to collect and sort through these materials that may eventually lead to increased rates for Upstate families.

An excerpt from the letter to Ambassador Lighthizer:

“I have heard from various recycling officials across my district and they have repeatedly expressed concern with the impact that this shift in Chinese policy will have on their local operations. Municipal and private recyclers are having difficulty in moving these materials to processing facilities and are having to pay haulers to get these materials into the waste stream.

I encourage the Administration to address this issue in ongoing trade conversations with the Chinese government because it is imperative that the United States remains a leader in the reutilization of waste materials while also proving municipalities with an efficient means of removing recyclable goods.”

This is beautiful, Faso.

How about urging your fellow Republican senators to pass a resolution calling on the Trump Administration to end its trade war with China immediately? If you think that recycling officials have problems because of this ill-considered policy, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until we all have to pay more for a large portion of the goods we buy. Wait until China withholds its rare earth supplies, making it difficult for manufacturers of cell phones and other electronic goods to operate. Wait until China starts selling U.S. treasury bonds! Think, Faso, think.

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

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