Work Week with Congressman John Faso Friday, June 16, 2017
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A Message from Congressman John Faso

Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and four others were wounded this week by a gunman in a politically motivated attack while participating in a morning practice for the Congressional Baseball Game in Alexandria, Virginia. All of the victims, including two brave Capitol Police officers, are expected to recover from their injuries. Mary Fran and I are grateful for your messages of support and ask that you continue to pray for the victims and their families, especially Majority Whip Scalise, who is expected to face additional surgeries and convalescence.

Our country is facing a deeply important moment, one that will potentially affect the future of our discourse and governing institutions. Policy disagreements are healthy. We may even disagree strenuously at times, but we should never lose sight of each other’s common humanity. This week I joined my House colleagues, Republican and Democrat alike, in defense of this simple but often-forgotten principle. Extreme political rhetoric is dividing our country in profound and disturbing ways. We must find opportunities to work together to meet the challenges the American people hired us to solve. A unified America is a stronger, more prosperous, more generous country. The path back to this stronger America will be long and difficult, but it is a path that leads home.

Week in Review

Congressional Baseball Game 2017

America needed “America’s game” this week. The annual Congressional Baseball Game for charity, a tradition since 1909, went ahead as scheduled. Capitol Police Officer David Bailey, wounded by gunfire on Wednesday, stood before a cheering crowd of supporters and threw out the first pitch. I was on hand to root on my Republican and Democratic colleagues in friendly rivalry. In the end, the Democrats took home the prize, but awarded the trophy to Republicans in solidarity with Majority Whip Steve Scalise, another unifying gesture among many scenes of bipartisan cooperation that evening.

Veterans Advisory Committee Meeting

Our Veterans Advisory Committee was established to hear from 19th Congressional District veterans and contribute to more effective policy decision-making at the federal level. With the recent, and welcome, announcement that the VA will incorporate the same electronic health records system as the Defense Department, beefing up cybersecurity and cutting down on hundreds of millions of dollars in duplicative systems and taxpayer waste, the Advisory Committee met this week in Cobleskill to discuss how we can improve physical and behavioral health locally, among other topics. The meeting preceded passage this week of my cosponsored VETERAN Act, which allows veterans to receive premium tax credits for private health insurance. Special thanks to all of our participants for their commitment to these issues and service to our nation.

Discussing Land and Water Conservation with Teddy Roosevelt’s Great-Grandson

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has helped to preserve thousands of acres since Congress created it in 1964. New York has received over $300 million from the LWCF for a number of different projects and is a major beneficiary of the state-managed LWCF State Grant Program. The 19th District has directly benefited from a number of LWCF-funded projects, including the FDR National Historic Site, Ticeteneyck Mountain in Ulster County, and the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. This year I was proud to cosponsor bipartisan legislation to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Theodore Roosevelt IV of the LWCF Coalition stopped by to share his support for the Fund and the importance of conserving our region’s abundant and beautiful natural resources for future generations. The Bull Moose would have agreed.

Legislative Corner

Supporting Local Hydroelectric Power and Public Water

This week the House passed my bill, H.R. 2292, legislation that would allow the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to extend the construction license for the Cannonsville, Delaware County hydroelectric project for as many as eight additional years. FERC provided the original, two-year license for the project in 2014. This license extension is necessary to prepare the construction of the site at the Cannonsville Dam in an environmentally sensitive manner without releasing potentially damaging water flows from the dam into the Delaware River’s West Branch. A 21st century infrastructure program must include clean energy infrastructure such as the Cannonsville hydroelectric facility. But we must get these projects right, which is why my legislation asks FERC for the additional extensions. I am pleased that we could bring together members from across New York State and both sides of the aisle in support of clean energy and the continued protection of our public water supplies. My bipartisan legislation passed by a vote of 400 to 1.

Watch my remarks here or click the image above.

VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017

This week the House passed S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. This bill institutes many reforms at the VA, and gives the department’s secretary the power to expeditiously fire, demote, and suspend VA employees based on their misconduct. This bill also includes many whistleblower protections for VA employees, guaranteeing that this law cannot be used to unjustly target any employee.

I was proud to support this important bill, which will help to ensure that our nation’s brave and self-sacrificing veterans continue to receive the care they deserve.

Father’s Day Message

Happy Father’s Day to our 19th Congressional District dads. Fathers contribute greatly to the health of our society. Their responsible examples to children help make self-government and civic engagement possible for the next generation. On behalf of Mary Fran and me, Happy Father’s Day to those working hard every day to make the 19th Congressional District a better place to live, work and raise a family.

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