District Work Week with Congressman Faso
Friday, May 12, 2017
Table of contents

Week in Review
Amphenol Tour to Support Local Manufacturing

This week I had the opportunity to tour the Amphenol Aerospace plant in Sidney, Delaware County. Employing over 1,000 workers, Amphenol is one of the largest manufacturers of interconnect products in the world. They produce cables and electronic accessories for the military, commercial aerospace and industrial markets. Fun fact: Amphenol connectors are used in both NASA's Space Launch System and Orion spacecraft programs.

Unalam Tour in Delaware County

I also toured custom wood manufacturer Unalam’s Sidney facility where I learned about the construction of laminated poles, beams, spiral staircases and much more. Unalam is a multi-generational family business specializing in innovative wood products and designs. I met with Unalam President Craig Van Cott, Executive Vice President Zoe Vandermeulen, Vice President of Engineering Rik Vandermeulen and Vice President of Operations Leif Van Cott. We discussed healthcare concerns for small businesses and their employees; NAFTA and trade issues that impact the lumber industry and manufacturing businesses; and the Upper Susquehanna River Basin Comprehensive Flood Damage Reduction Feasibility Study that identifies current flooding risks and suggests policies to mitigate their impact.

Greene County Senior Corps Visit


I had a great meeting with Greene County Senior Corps RSVP volunteers as well as Erin McGrath, Acting Director of Senior Corps, Corporation for National and Community Service; Jessica Vasquez, New York State Director, Corporation for National and Community Service; Ruth Pforte, Volunteer Coordinator, Greene County Department of Human Services; and Terry Ward, Executive Director, Greene County Department of Human Services at the Washington Irving Senior Center in Catskill. I helped administer the Senior Corps oath and packaged and delivered meals for RSVP’s Meals on Wheels service project.

During the visit I also received an overview of the Senior Corps RSVP program, one of the largest volunteer networks in the nation for people 55 and over. I listened to volunteers discuss the importance of Greene County RSVP and their efforts to aid seniors who are no longer able to drive or are homebound due to physical restrictions. I reiterated my support for Meals on Wheels and thanked the volunteers and staff for their dedication and service to our community.

Faso Issues Statement on FBI Director James Comey

The firing of FBI Director James Comey is at the same time unsurprising and shocking. It is unsurprising in that his actions relating to the Clinton email matter caused major controversy on both sides of the political aisle. He appeared to assume a decision-making position which would have been better left to his Justice Department superiors.

However, the firing was shocking in that the FBI has an ongoing investigation into Russian efforts to influence the US elections last year. The public must have absolute confidence that the FBI investigation will be thorough, and result in a complete resolution of that question regardless of the outcome. The facts must be known.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon the administration to nominate a new FBI director who is someone of unquestioned integrity and experience, acceptable to both Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, to lead this critical agency on the Russian investigation and all other matters coming before it. If the nominee does not pass that test, then the only alternative in my view would be the selection of an independent investigator to get to the bottom of this matter once and for all.

Delivering for the 19th District

On May 3 the House voted on appropriations to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year. This bipartisan agreement avoids a government shutdown and includes an array of legislative victories for the 19th District. Here are several provisions which will positively impact our community:

Provides School Lunch Choice for Parents and Schoolchildren

Earlier this month I wrote a letter to Agriculture Secretary Perdue stressing the importance of milk choice in schools. Twelve additional members of Congress joined the bipartisan letter in support of science-based childhood nutrition. Language allowing for the option of flavored, low-fat milk was included in the appropriations package, at last sending back control to local school districts. This is a victory for our Upstate dairy farmers.

Fights the Opioid Crisis

Opioid and heroin addiction across our Upstate New York communities is an epidemic that takes coordination and funding to effectively combat. I was pleased to support an additional $650 million to prevent and treat addiction. I am also supportive of the funding increase to the Mental Health Block Grants which benefit community-based mental health systems for our residents and their families.

Enhances Rural Broadband Access

I voted for more than $65 million for the Distance Learning, Telemedicine, and Broadband Program, which helps rural communities digitally connect with the rest of the world. This USDA program assists rural schools, first-responders, businesses, and homeowners gain access to advanced telecommunication technologies through a series of grants and loans.

Provides Funding for Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds

I also voted to rebuild our nation’s water infrastructure by supporting the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds. The 2017 spending package authorizes $2.3 billion for these programs which work to improve safety, efficiency, and other infrastructure projects needed to protect our water supply.

Bolsters Funds to Provide Raises to Members of Our Armed Forces

The bill also includes a defense funding increase of $19.9 billion when compared to 2016 enacted levels. A portion of this money will be used to fund a 2.1 percent pay increase for our Armed Forces, the largest pay increase for the troops in six years. Other funds will support military readiness and training so critical for the safety of our troops.

Read about more of the legislative victories for the 19th District here.

Legislative Corner

Climate Solutions Commission Act

I recently introduced the Climate Solutions Commission Act with my colleague, Representative John K. Delaney (D-MD) and 12 other bipartisan members. The bill creates a bipartisan commission to recommend economically viable policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Climate Solutions Commission Act is endorsed by the Environmental Defense Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the Partnership for Responsible Growth, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

To learn more about the bill, click here.

House Lyme Disease Caucus

I strongly support providing more resources for Lyme disease research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In April I sent a letter and official request to the House Appropriations Committee for increased funding for Lyme disease research.

I am a member of the House Lyme Disease Caucus. Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses are serious issues in Upstate New York. For too long, Lyme disease has been misdiagnosed, ignored, and untreated. It is the responsibility of Congress to work towards more research and coordination between NIH and CDC in order to mitigate the spread and current effects of Lyme disease. I look forward to working with other House Lyme Disease Caucus members to develop effective bipartisan solutions to these vector-borne diseases.

Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus

This week I joined the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, a bipartisan and bicameral group of legislators who advocate for the interests of America’s sportsmen and women. As a member of the caucus, I will work to enact legislation that safeguards recreational access for Upstate hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. I am also committed to upholding the Constitution by advocating for the Second Amendment.

Flexible Flow Management Plan

Recently I sent a letter to New York City, New Jersey, New York State, Delaware, and Pennsylvania in support of a finalized Flexible Flow Management Plan (FFMP). The current FFMP, which governs New York City reservoir releases in the Delaware River Basin, expires on May 31. The FFMP is a critically important interstate water management tool that helps mitigate the downstream impacts of New York City’s reservoirs. In the letter, I urged all Decree Party Members to consider a number of positive reforms to the FFMP including thermal mitigation banks to support cold-water fisheries and flood-mitigation improvements that will help decrease the risk of disastrous flooding events. I will continue to work with the Decree Party Members from neighboring states to support policies that benefit our residents.  

Faso Visits NY StateWide Senior Action Spring Meeting

This week I spoke to a gathering of constituents at the NY StateWide Senior Action Council's spring meeting in Kingston. In addition to an audience Q&A, we discussed policy matters ranging from the federal budget process to protecting the future solvency of Medicare and Social Security. Thank you to all the attendees for their thoughtful questions and civic engagement.

Faso Answers Constituents’ Questions on Vox Pop

I had the opportunity to join Dr. Alan Chartock in the WAMC studios where I took questions live from callers on Vox Pop and recorded a session of Congressional Corner that will air next week starting Wednesday. To listen to the Vox Pop session, click here or the image above.

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