Only 34 More 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 April 13

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

Building on the Successes of the SNAP Program

This week, I wrote an op-ed for the Albany Times Union that explains how we can strengthen the food stamp or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by improving some of its shortcomings, such as the program’s ineffectiveness in promoting healthy nutrition choices, and its inability to effectively move people to self-sufficiency.  Reforms contained in the bill will require job training and employment for able-bodied adults aged 18-59.

Talking SNAP on the House Floor
I had the opportunity to talk about improvements to the SNAP program that were included in the recently released Farm Bill. Here is an excerpt of my comments on the floor:

“We are going to make it easier for people who are on the SNAP program to qualify for the program without having every nickel of any asset that they possibly have to count against their qualification. For instance, this legislation will allow a family on SNAP to have a savings account of up to $2,000 without that counting against the asset test. Today, that isn’t the case.

“A family who might need money for fixing their car or some other kind of family emergency, they aren’t allowed under the rules to have a $2,000 savings account. That’s wrong. And it is an outmoded notion and we have precluded that. These are the commonsense reforms that are contained within this proposal that I hope our colleagues will pay heed to and carefully study because we welcome their input and we know the American people are demanding we have reform in these programs and we encourage and really bring the job opportunities and the job training counseling to people who are dependent.”

I sent a follow up letter to the Treasury Department seeking an advisory opinion on recent changes made to the New York State tax law. Now that the state budget has been adopted, the letter requests Treasury to review the recently enacted legislation that would convert some state and local tax payments to payments that might be eligible for the charitable tax deduction under federal law.

It is imperative that New Yorkers are fully informed as to the potential benefits or shortcomings associated with these changes. As such, I’ve asked the Treasury Department to render an opinion on whether changes adopted in Albany will qualify for tax deductibility.

The House Budget Committee held a hearing with the Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to examine federal spending, with a focus on projections from the CBO for the next decade. Federal debt and deficits are a great concern of mine. Since mandatory spending takes up over 70% of the annual budget, we must examine options moving forward that will not burden our children and grandchildren with unaffordable interest payments for our spending today.

Not so fast, Faso:

The CBO projected $1 trillion annual budgets as far as the eye could see–largely because of the Republican legislation that cut taxes on corporations and the wealthy. Now the GOP scam artists are proposing a balanced budget amendment that would require deep cuts in social programs, including Social Security and Medicare, to make up the shortfall. Apparently that’s what Faso means when he talks about examining options that will not burden our children and grandchildren with unaffordable interest payments. (That horse is already out of the barn: in a few years, interest on the debt will exceed defense spending). Although Faso did vote against the tax bill, he voted in favor of an earlier House budget resolution that would have substantially reduced Medicare spending by turning Medicare into a voucher program. Under this excellent idea, seniors would be given a fixed amount of money each year to buy insurance on the private market. Of course, the voucher would be worth less each year as Congress authorized less than the increase in health costs. Way to go, Faso!

Land Trust Alliance

The Land Trust Alliance held an event this week in Washington and invited me to outline some of the conservation issues we are working on in Congress. We touched on my legislation – the Healthy Fields and Farm Economies Act – that will provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture with the tools and authority to fully measure, evaluate, and report on federal conservation program outcomes. Additionally, we discussed the need to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Not so fast, Faso!

Conservation, i.e., environmental protection, is absolutely not one of your strong points.  Your party approved Trump’s nomination of Scott Pruitt as head of EPA, which is akin to having Vlad the Impaler head Human Rights Watch. Not only is Pruitt on a mission to destroy EPA, something we haven’t seen since Reagan brought in Ann Gorsuch Burford (yes, she’s the mother of Trump’s right-wing Supreme Court justice)  to do the same thing, he’s trying to do it while living a life of luxury … at taxpayers’ expense. While facing a slew of possible ethics violations, Pruitt continues to rack up his expenses and ethic violations, including the $50 per night rental of a condo owned by the wife of a lobbyist, extravagant flights, travel and security costs, and large raises awarded to two top aides. And, Congressman Faso, you’ve said NOTHING.

Faso pretends to be a conservationist

Faso claims he and his fellow Republicans are “working on” conservation issues in Congress.  Really? That’s news to us, given Faso’s past voting record and position as a lobbyist. Faso is a former fracking lobbyist and ally to Environmental Protection Agency director and climate change denier Scott Pruitt. Faso voted to let coal companies dump coal tailings in streams. He voted to overturn the Securities and Exchange Commission requirement for oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments.  Now those corporations can do any questionable deals they like, hidden from the public. He signed on to an anemic House resolution to “study and address” climate change, that does not address any of the well-researched means our legislators have at their disposal to actually address climate change, such as cap-and-trade programs, emissions regulation, and staying in the Paris Accord.

National Down Syndrome Society Meeting

I met with representatives from the National Down Syndrome Society, including Kelly from Edmeston. We discussed challenges that people with disabilities face, such as the lack of robust employment opportunities. People with disabilities have one of the highest unemployment rates of any statistically measured group in the country. We need to look for effective ways to bring disabled people into the workforce and set them up for future life success.

Faso votes to cripple the Americans with Disabilities Act

You want us to believe that you promote bringing disabled people into the workforce?   No way, Faso. On Feb.15, 2018, you voted for H.R.620, along with the House Republican majority, to gut the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The ADA grants civil rights to people with disabilities by ensuring that they have equal access to public places and places of work and requiring business owners to supply “reasonable accommodation.” But look at what H.R.620 does to these protections.

H.R. 620, has two main components. The first requires “more education” for businesses on how to comply with ADA requirements, but has no built-in funding for this education, and is further weakened by Jeff Sessions’ 2017 Department of Justice elimination of 25 ADA guidance documents.  The second component reflects the standard American dilemma: Should we protect the rights of businesses, or the rights of individuals? Currently under the ADA, if a business is found to be in violation of the ADA — it has no wheelchair-accessible entrance, for example — a disabled person can file a lawsuit to get the business to comply. But with H.R. 620, a disabled person has to file “written, technical notice” (usually requiring a lawyer), wait 60 days for a response, then wait 120 more days to see if “substantial progress” is made on remedying the violation, before the issue can even be brought to court.

You and your fellow Republicans voted to cut the legs off the ADA, making it much more difficult, and a lot more time-intensive for millions of disabled Americans to find a workplace that will accommodate their disabilities and protect their rights.

American Dental Association Meeting

Representatives from the American Dental Association stopped by to discuss how the public and private sectors can work together to change the way opioids are prescribed. The opioid crisis has been crippling to our communities and one way to stem the crisis is to reform the way opioids are thought of and utilized by the medical community. Opioids’ highly addictive nature make them susceptible to abuse, especially among younger populations who may need a pain alleviant after surgery or an injury.


Again we state: the Opioid Crisis is a healthcare issue.  You voted to take healthcare away from thousands of your constituents.   

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

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