Work Week with Congressman Faso
Table of contents

Budget Deal Strengthens Military Readiness

Today’s budget deal is a step forward that allows Congress to move on and tackle the problems Americans sent us here to solve. This bipartisan agreement includes a number of provisions that are wins for New Yorkers, including strengthening the state of our military readiness, improving care for our veterans, and providing more funding to fight the opioid crisis.

Additionally, I wanted to express my support for the special committees organized to propose genuine reform to the congressional budget process and another to address the funding crisis for multi-employer pension plans.  For far too long, Congress has governed from funding crisis to funding crisis, inhibiting its ability to tackle our nation’s most pressing problems. 

It should also be noted that the nation faces a looming debt crisis which is not made better by this legislation. My support for the bill is overwhelmingly influenced by the critical defense funding gaps affecting military readiness. Secretary Mattis has been very persuasive in his arguments as to the impacts of the budget sequester on our troops and the need to rebuild core aspects of our national defense. I trust his judgement in this regard. 

Synthetic Drugs are a Scourge on our Communities

This week, I assumed the lead sponsorship role for the bipartisan Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention Act (STOP Act) of 2017. The legislation currently has 252 bipartisan cosponsors (169-R, 83-D) in the House of Representatives. Congressman Richard Neal, who represents the district in Western Massachusetts, is the lead Democratic sponsor.

Synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil are hundreds of times more potent than heroin, which itself has been a catalyst of our drug epidemic. A large portion of these dangerous synthetic drugs comes into the country across our borders through mail packages. We should be doing all we can to stem this flow of drugs.

By having more data in advance of a package moving across our borders, we can better target suspicious packages that may contain synthetic drugs. This is a good step in the right direction and a key part of the strategy to combat our nation’s devastating heroin and synthetic drug epidemic.

Strengthening Dairy Programs to Help Upstate New York

After speaking to and working with our dairy farmers in Upstate New York, I understood there was a need for a substantial and long-term fix to the Margin Protection Program and the LGM-Dairy program. These programs have failed Upstate dairy farmers, and changes were needed to ensure they work as they were intended to work.

As a member of the Agriculture Committee, I have been working with my colleagues on a solution, and I am encouraged that this deal includes significant improvements to these programs. I will continue to work with dairy farmers in Upstate New York to promote financial viability by better reflecting the cost of dairy production in these programs.

Improving the Transition from Foster Care

I am pleased to see my legislation improving the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program included in today’s budget deal. This program is critical in assisting older former foster youth transition to an independent life, including providing education and training vouchers. This improvement increases the age the states can provide assistance from 21 to 23.

Advocating for Pine Plains Central School District

Pine Plains Central School District faced an onerous fine from the IRS that would have been detrimental to their efforts to provide a quality education to its students and put a significant strain on local taxpayers.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Martin Handler said in their press release, “As a result of the Congressman’s efforts, the school district has been able to recover significant taxpayer funds that can now be used to further the district’s educational goals."

The school district had been fined for late payments of withholding taxes and incomplete document submissions by a former employee.

One of my office’s core responsibilities is to assist constituents with federal agencies. After my office reached out to the IRS, I was pleased that the agency quickly addressed the issue with the school district and determined that significant fines would not serve the best interests of taxpaying residents or students.

Read more from the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Securing Funding for the Upper Delaware Council

This week, I was able to inform the Upper Delaware Council that they would be receiving necessary federal funding from the Department of Interior in order to continue their critical operations. UDC was set to begin a plan to close operations if funding was not secured by the March 30th deadline.

This funding is absolutely critical for UDC and the important work that they do. I am happy that I was able to work with the Department of Interior to help them understand the critical work UDC performs to conserve and manage the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River and ensure that they receive their funding before their deadline.

Pawling Fire Department’s 21st Annual Sportsman’s Dinner

I attended the Pawling Fire Department’s 21st Annual Sportsman’s Dinner. The department brought out a big crowd for the event and I was happy to participate.

It is clear the department has a lot of support in the community due to their dedicated service. Thank you to all of the volunteers who helped make this year’s event happen. And a special thanks to Sheriff Butch Anderson, Supervisor James Schmitt, and Senator Terrence Murphy for attending with me, along with Pawling Fire Chief Everett White for your leadership.


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