Only 35 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 April 6

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

Before rebutting his weekly newsletter,

we need to call attention to an interview with Congressman Faso this week on WAMC.  In the interview, a constituent asked him point-blank if he would refuse any monies from Robert Mercer, in light of stealing data from millions of Americans.

Mr. Faso obfuscated and deflected with “Obama used data” argument.  He then failed to answer the question.  So, we will continue to ask:

“Congressman Faso, will you refuse any funding or contribution from the Mercers?”

Enrollment for the Dairy Margin Protection Program Reopens April 9th

Dairy farmers are in the midst of a prolonged economic crisis as market conditions, trade barriers, consumption patterns and ineffective government policies have created a perfect storm of damaging factors. Farmers are receiving milk checks which are approximately 25% below their cost of production. After consultation with dairy farmers in the district and my Ag Advisory Committee, I have been working with my colleagues to bring changes to the Margin Protection Program enacted in 2014. The existing MPP program has simply not worked and has been quite expensive for farmers who participated. With recent changes enacted last December, the Agriculture Department is in a position to redesign the program, which will afford farmers a modicum of relief.  Dairy farmers are critical to the Upstate economy. In New York, the dairy industry accounts for $2.4 billion a year in business, which is roughly 45% of farming revenue in the state. I’ve also written school superintendents alerting them to positive changes in the school lunch program, allowing districts to provide flavored, 1% milk to students.  This will provide necessary nutrition for our students while modestly increasing consumption of fluid milk.

NOT SO FAST, FASO:  

In its budget released in February 2018, the Trump administration proposed deep cuts in funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including reductions in rural development and farm programs. The budget proposal calls for a $3.7 billion, or 16%, decrease in USDA spending compared to the 2017 level.

The 3.7 BILLION will be needed to offset the Republican Tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

 Punishing Russia’s Oligarchs

The Treasury Department issued new sanctions against Russian oligarchs and related entities in response to Russia’s destabilizing and malign activities across the globe. Through the assistance of these oligarchs, Russia pursues its military and diplomatic goals by seeking to undermine faith in democracies across the globe, including in the United States and our allies. These new sanctions punish those who benefit from Russia’s destabilizing activities and send a clear and declarative message. These new steps come about after convincing evidence was revealed of Russian efforts to kill a former Russian spy and his daughter living in Great Britain.

Not so fast, Faso:

President Trump did not announce these new sanctions himself, instead letting Treasury Secretary Steve Munchin announce them. Trump has steadfastly refused to criticize Vladimir Putin, whom Western leaders believe to have ordered the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the U.K. In fact, Trump congratulated Putin recently on his sham re-election and is reportedly invited him for a visit to the White House. Meanwhile, the Administration only recently implemented sanctions on Russia that Congress mandated last summer by a large bipartisan margin.

The Department of Homeland Security has done little to help states upgrade their voting machines against Russian hacking, although DHS found that Russian cyberattacks had targeted the election process in 21 states in 2016.

If Faso and his fellow Trump enablers in the Republican Party were serious about fighting Russia’s malign influence around the world, they would force Trump to take stronger measures to defend our democracy, and would support–rather than denigrate–Robert Mueller’s efforts to understand how Russia undermined our 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.


Raising Awareness and Increasing Research of Lyme disease

Lyme disease is an often misunderstood and complex illness. Both of these factors make curbing Lyme disease a far more difficult task, especially when trying to diagnose and provide care. Lyme disease and related tick-borne illnesses are growing rapidly, and it is critically important that as a society we do what we can to educate the public on this epidemic so our communities and families can take the necessary steps to comprehensively address this issue. I introduced legislation to raise money for Lyme disease and related tick-borne illness research through the sale of a USPS semipostal stamp. We need to continue to raise public awareness and fund robust research of tick-borne illnesses.


Not so Fast, Faso:

John, you have lost all credibility on health care issues when you broke your promise to your constituent Andrea Mitchell by voting to take repeal the Affordable Care Act.  Lyme disease is treatable if caught early.  By voting to take away health insurance for thousands of your constituents, you made early detection more difficult and expensive.  Raising money by the sale of a Stamp is a poor substitute for affordable healthcare – especially in a district afflicted by Lyme Disease such as NY-19.

 

Discussing Regulations with Tuthilltown Distillery

I visited the Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery to learn more about the local spirits industry and discuss government policy that affects their business. The owners of Tuthilltown have been staunch advocates for the Craft Beverage Modernization Act, which had over 300 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and was enacted into law late last year. I was a co-sponsor of that proposal and am glad that beverage producers in Upstate will be more competitive after the change.

Not So Fast, Faso:  

Last year, The Distilled Spirits Council cautioned that potential tariffs could be detrimental to the booming U.S. whiskey industry, an iconic American product with exports nearing $1 billion a year.  Now with Trump’s trade war is a reality, US Distilleries stand to take a substantial hit. 

What is Congress – and what are you doing to stop the madness of Donald Trump’s ill-advised economic policies?

 

Discussing Sustainable Energy with Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Small Business Owners, & Bard College

I met with representatives from Citizens Climate Lobby, local sustainable energy business owners, and Bard College officials to discuss the importance of clean energy jobs to Upstate New York. The private sector has great potential to move forward efforts to address the changing climate. Just recently, I joined with my colleague Rep. Lipinski (D-IL) to introduce a bill to spur innovation in the private sector that will increase efficiency and continue technological development in clean energy. We should do all we can to incentivize progress and assist the private sector economy in innovating and inspiring technological changes which will reduce the impact of climate change.

It’s laudable that Rep. Faso supports the development of clean energy companies in District 19 and that he recognizes the reality of climate change. However, while the private sector “innovates” in this area, the Trump Administration–particularly the EPA, which is supposed to protect the environment–is doing everything it can to encourage and protect the fossil fuel industry. For example, Scott Pruitt, the scandal-scarred EPA Administrator, recently announced that his agency is reversing the Obama-era rules requiring higher fuel economy standards for cars. Pruitt has also taken jurisdiction over enforcement of the Clean Water Act away from regional EPA administrators, which will allow him to build on Congress’s repeal of Obama’s “stream protection rule” so that coal companies can strip mine mountaintops without interference. And let’s not forget that Trump is allowing the Keystone Pipeline to move forward, with dire consequences for climate change. So while supporting private clean energy development is a step in the right direction, government action is required to safeguard our environment and reverse climate change.

Faso votes against the environment

It’s nice to hear that Representative Faso is concerned about the impact of climate change and about inspiring the private sector to develop clean energy.  But what really counts is how he votes in Congress toward that goal, and, let’s face it, his record is abysmal.  The League of Conservation Voters gives him a score of 34% on pro-environmental votes, both for 2017 and as a lifetime voting score.  The large majority of his votes have been in step with his Republican colleagues and the President in weakening the federal government’s ability to encourage development of clean energy and protect our air, land and water.

Here are two examples of how Faso votes.   This year Faso voted Yes for the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act of 2017, which would delay public health protections, including limits on deadly toxic pollution such as mercury, arsenic, and chromium, from brick manufacturing facilities. The BRICK Act was also modified in the Rules Committee to incorporate H.R. 453, the Relief from New Source Performance Standards Act of 2017, which would delay regulations on stronger emission from new woodstoves and boilers, including particulate matter (soot), nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and carcinogens like benzene and formaldehyde.

Note how the following Faso vote frustrates attempts by the private sector to develop clean energy production and jobs. (And note the hypocritical title of this bill):  Faso voted Yes for H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, 2018, which includes dangerous public health and environmental policy riders while also cutting critical investments in our renewable energy future. This bill attacks the government’s ability to assess the real costs of the impacts of climate change, slashes funding for clean energy and energy efficiency, and includes a radical provision exempting the administration’s repeal of the Clean Water Rule from long-standing requirements under the law. It also contains a rider that would stop the implementation of the beneficial National Ocean Policy, which allows agencies at all levels to coordinate ocean development activities.

Expanding the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site

 In 2014, Scenic Hudson received by bequest an 89-acre property adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site. The property is widely regarded as the gateway to the National Historic Site, protecting views and establishing the historical context for visitors.  After discussing with Scenic Hudson the benefits of transferring the land to the National Parks Service, I introduced legislation to authorize the acquisition of this 89-acre property to be added to the FDR Historic Site. An act of Congress is required as this parcel was not an original part of the Roosevelt estate.  The FDR National Historic Site is one of New York’s most noteworthy cultural sites and an economic catalyst for Dutchess County. With nearly 200,000 annual visitors, the FDR Historic Site brings visitors to stay in local inns, eat in local restaurants, and support small businesses in the region.

Not so fast Faso:

President Donald Trump’s budget released last month recommends extreme staffing cuts of nearly 2,000 National Park Service rangers at a time when national park visitation is at an all-time high.
The president’s budget proposes a drastic 16 percent cut to the Department of the Interior, which houses the National Park Service, and a cut of seven percent to the park service itself. In 2016, the national parks received record visitation rates of nearly 331 million visits. Cuts to park staff could lead to a reduction in services to the public, closed facilities, and heavier workloads for remaining staff.

“The president’s budget proposal once again demonstrates that the administration is actively working to undermine our national parks and the environment on which they depend,” John Garder, senior director of budget and appropriations at the National Parks Conservation Association, said in a statement.

Discussing Strengthening our National Defense on Fox News

I was interviewed on Fox News to discuss the omnibus spending bill. Our military has been slowly degrading over the past eight years and it was critical to make significant investments to rebuild our armed forces. We’ve also experienced over 80 military training fatalities over the past year which is both shocking and unacceptable.
Congress delivered the biggest increase in defense funding over the past fifteen years. The increase includes the most significant pay raise for our troops in the past eight years. Ensuring our military gets the support and resources they need to protect our national security will always be a priority.

Not so fast, Faso:

Congress increased the defense budget by $61 billion to nearly $655 billion–the largest amount of spending in 15 years and even more than Trump asked for. You and your party say that we needed to spend this much to reverse the degrading of our military capability in recent years. Yet just the growth in our defense spending from last year is nearly as big as the entire Russian military budget. As of June 1, 2017–before this huge increase–we spent more than on defense than the next seven countries combined. And we are supposedly winding down our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet this year’s defense budget includes $65 billion for “overseas contingency operations.” We’re not against a pay raise for our troops, but it’s time to reconsider our grossly excessive military spending on things like planes and ships and invading other countries.


Punishing Russia for its Brazen Actions

Russia is responsible for the nerve agent attack against an ex-spy and his daughter in the UK earlier this month. This thuggish behavior by the Russians is reminiscent of Soviet-era thinking and leadership. Vladimir Putin is not our friend. I’m glad the administration and our closest allies in Europe have responded in unison.

Not so fast, Faso:

Neither you nor your Republican buddies in the House said anything when Trump congratulated Putin on his sham reelection. The House Intelligence Committee has shut down its Russia investigation and has tried to turn the spotlight to its ridiculous allegations about supposed partisan bias in the FBI and the Justice Department. And the GOP-led Congress has failed to insist that this Administration protect us from further Russian meddling in our elections. If you really think Putin is dangerous, say so!

Keeping an Eye out for Tax Scams

The IRS maintains a list of popular tax scams called the “Dirty Dozen”. The list is compiled annually in order to update the public on the worst of the worst scams as people file their taxes. The full list is worth a glance to ensure you are not falling victim to increasingly popular and creative scams.

We hope you add to the “Dirty Dozen” list the nefarious tax scam bill passed by Congress last year, which will add $1.5 trillion to our national debt while mostly benefiting corporations and the wealthy. The rest of us, of course, will have to repay that debt with interest.

Donating Books from the Library of Congress to Dutchess Co. Libraries

On Thursday, I dropped off two boxes of books to libraries in Dutchess County. The Pine Plains Free Library and the Pleasant Valley Free Library both received a box of books donated through the Library of Congress Surplus Book Program. This program makes extra books no longer needed at the library available to Congressional offices for the purpose of donating to local libraries.

Not so fast, Faso:  

This empty gesture is the perfect example of your hypocrisy and using your weekly newsletter to hide your party’s true agenda:   

In its Fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, unveiled last month, the Trump administration has once again proposed the permanent elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (and with it virtually all federal library funding).   

But thanks for the two boxes of books, John.

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.

See the incompetence of Betsy Devos discussions in other weeks’ rebuttals.

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.” [www.washingtonpost.com  12/1/17]

 

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

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