Combating the Scourge of Human Trafficking
This week I was joined by colleagues from both sides of the aisle in support of legislative initiatives that will enhance our efforts to fight human trafficking, a modern-day form of slavery. On Tuesday, July 11 the House passed three pieces of legislation aimed at curbing this disturbing trend by enhancing prevention and enforcement measures:
- The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), reauthorizes $130 million to fund the prevention of human trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute traffickers.
- The Enhancing Detection of Human Trafficking Act, introduced by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) and Del. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-MP), directs the Department of Labor to implement a program to train personnel to detect and assist law enforcement in preventing human trafficking.
- The Empowering Law Enforcement to Fight Sex Trafficking Demand Act, introduced by Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), expands eligibility for Department of Justice grants jurisdiction to allow law enforcement agencies to qualify for federal funding for the development and implementation of programs that fight sex trafficking.
Fighting for Upstate Farms by Supporting Farm Service Agency Loans
Robust funding for the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) loan programs ensures greater financial security for Upstate farmers and provides access to credit in the face of low commodity prices. These funding levels provide beginning farmers with real opportunities that might otherwise be unavailable, and provide better financing and credit availability for existing farmers to grow their farms and agribusinesses.
I recognize the importance of the Farm Service Agency, which is why when the draft appropriations bill contained funding cuts for its loan programs, I took action. I strongly advocated for this funding, and sent a bipartisan letter along with 14 other members of Congress to the chairmen and ranking members of the House Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture in support of these programs.
After sending this letter, appropriators reversed course and adequately funded FSA loan programs. Proposed loan cuts could have devastated communities in Upstate New York and similar communities across the country. This bipartisan victory is a win for Upstate, a win for young farmers, a win for family farms, and a win for local economies.
House Passes Defense Authorization to Reform and Rebuild our Nation’s Military
To cap off the legislative week, I joined my colleagues in the House in supporting our military with the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support. Our military’s resources have dwindled over the last half-decade, reducing readiness and weakening American leadership in the world. The House-passed NDAA reverses this harmful trend and rebuilds our military while implementing major reforms such as fixing Pentagon-buying practices that have too often been fraught with waste. Our bill also significantly increases missile-defense funding so we are as prepared as possible for the emerging threats posed by rogue nations such as North Korea.
The bipartisan 2018 NDAA increases defense funding 10 percent from last year’s level to $696 billion, increases missile-defense funding by $2.5 billion above the administration's request, increases personnel for the Army, Navy, and Air Force, and gives our military a well-deserved pay raise. Additional uses for the funds authorized through this legislation include funding critical research and development projects, military construction, and funding operations overseas.
Amendment to Cut Property Taxes Included in Latest Health Legislation
On Thursday the Senate released their most recent version of healthcare reform, and I was pleased to see that my amendment to cut property taxes was included in this version of the bill. It’s long past time for Medicaid reform in our state, and Upstate New Yorkers cannot get property tax relief soon enough. Read the fact sheet here.