Work Week with Congressman John Faso
Friday, May 26, 2017
Table of contents

Week in Review

Statement on Manchester Terror Attack

Twenty-two people, including an eight-year-old girl and an off-duty police officer, were killed this week following a terrorist bombing at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The bomber appears to have intentionally targeted girls and young women attending a concert performance by singer Ariana Grande.

This heinous act is another tragic reminder that our country and its allies remain locked in a multigenerational struggle against the forces of radical Islamic terrorism. It is one we must win. On this battle depends the survival of Western civilization, its freedoms and culture of liberty. We send our thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing and their families. And we stand, as always, with our allies in Britain in their time of need.

Columbia County Honor a Vet

This week I was privileged to participate in an important recognition ceremony for World War II US Army veteran Francis LaCasse. Technician Fifth Class LaCasse saw action as part of the Allied operations in North Africa, eventually participating in the Italian campaign that helped topple the Fascist government. Fighting in Salerno, Campania, Mr. LaCasse and his fellow soldiers were pinned down under withering fire. Risking his life, LaCasse administered first aid to a wounded comrade, even though two others had been killed and wounded. For his conspicuous bravery and service, Technician Fifth Class LaCasse was awarded the Silver Star, European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal with two Bronze Arrowheads, as well as the American Defense Service Medal and Expert Tank Gunner Badge. A dairy farmer and member of American Legion Post 1160 in Copake Falls, Francis passed away in September 2016 at the age of 97. It was my honor to be joined by Ancram Supervisor Art Bassin and Deputy Supervisor Hugh Clark to present his son Stephen with an American flag flown over the US Capitol. We extend our gratitude to our hometown hero and Greatest Generation patriot, Mr. Francis LaCasse.

Greene County Honor a Vet

GL "Johnny" Lyles served his country with honor during the Vietnam War and was awarded the Purple Heart after sustaining injuries resulting from a landmine. Like so many others of that generation, Johnny returned home to an indifferent if not openly hostile country. Sadly, Johnny succumbed to lung cancer and passed away in September 2016. This week I was privileged to join Johnny's family as well as Greene County veterans' organizations, Senator George Amedore, Assemblyman Pete Lopez and numerous local officials for the annual "Honor a Vet" ceremony. I presented his wife Joan with a flag that was flown over the US Capitol as a gesture of our appreciation for Specialist Lyles' service. Thank you to this brave hometown hero. May he rest in peace.

Honoring Veteran and Former Congressman Chris Gibson

This week I spoke to the House of Representatives about my Kinderhook neighbor and friend, former Congressman Chris Gibson. Chris has repeatedly answered the call to serve, first as an officer in the US Army with 24 years of experience and later as the representative for the 19th Congressional District. His leadership and dedication to public service will continue to stand as a model of statesmanship. You can read my full remarks entered into the Congressional Record here.

Click here or the image above to watch.

Organic Trade Association Policy Conference


The Hudson Valley is the (organic) breadbasket of our state. Here in the 19th District, we’re blessed with 216 organic producers and a thriving farmers market culture. As a member of the Congressional Organic Caucus, I was pleased to speak to farmers and advocates at the Organic Week DC event on the importance of organic agriculture. Special thanks to Jayson Werth, Washington Nationals left fielder and organic farmer, for his impassioned remarks on behalf of organic food.

Jewish American Heritage Month Celebration 2017

May is Jewish American Heritage Month. Jewish Americans have contributed greatly to the tapestry of American culture through their many achievements in the arts, government, business, science, sports, medicine, and more. This week I was privileged to speak before a gathering of Jewish organizations and advocates at the US Senate where I delivered remarks noting the outstanding contributions of our honorees, including Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, a leading proponent of religious freedom worldwide whose International Fellowship of Christians and Jews builds interconfessional bridges and provides humanitarian assistance to Jews in need.

Faso Visits Canada to Assess Air-Traffic Control Operations

This week I joined my colleagues from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on a bipartisan trip to Ottawa, Canada, to assess the progress of air-traffic-control operations in the country, where its private Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) has been serving the safety needs of air traffic there since 1996, efficiently and safely moving 12 million aircraft every year. We also met with senior Canadian officials and executives from private operators of Canada's modern air-traffic-control system.


Legislative Corner

Statement on the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Request

President Trump’s 2018 budget plan makes some notable, and welcome, recommendations such as balancing the budget in 10 years and boosting our national defense readiness. Deep cuts to domestic programs, however, would threaten Upstate New Yorkers at a time when a still-struggling regional economy and fragile jobs market have left many families concerned about the future. As a member of the Budget Committee, I intend to thoroughly review the details of this suggested budget plan and offer my support for policies and programs that thoughtfully reform federal spending and protect programs critical to our communities.

Faso Bill Language Passes in Key Amendment, Halts Hudson River Anchorage Process Until Congress Can Review

This week language I drafted was included in an amendment to a key piece of legislation delaying the Coast Guard’s proposed new barge anchorages along the Hudson River until Congress could fully review local concerns. The anchorage language was included in an amendment to H.R. 2518, the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2017. The last reauthorization for the Coast Guard’s major funding bill was passed in 2015 and is set to expire this year. The amendment passed unanimously by voice vote.

The approved amendment requires a six-month time limit for the Coast Guard to submit to Congress a “detailed summary” of the public comments it has collected related to its Proposed Rule for 10 anchorage grounds for barges between Yonkers (Westchester County) and Kingston, NY (Ulster County). The report must also include the Coast Guard’s responses to these concerns. None of the proposed anchorages may be established during this time. Once Congress receives the Coast Guard report, the agency may not approve the 10 proposed anchorages for an additional six months while the report is reviewed. The Coast Guard lifted its original September 7, 2016 deadline for written comments and extended the public comment period until the end of that year after I and others spoke out against the rushed and closed process for hearing local concerns. Read the full manager’s amendment to H.R. 2518 here.

Click here or the image above to watch.

Flexible Flow Management Plan (FFMP)

This month I sent a letter to the Delaware River Decree Party Members stressing positive reforms to benefit communities in the Upper Delaware River region and the need to avoid the reduced water releases which would occur if a deal is not struck by the May 31 deadline.

If the five Decree Parties cannot reach an agreement by this deadline, management of the reservoirs will revert to the 1980s management plan known as “Revision 1.” The 1983 Good Faith Agreement established the main water supply operational rules for the Delaware River Basin. The agreement included a series of reductions in releases that were designed to mitigate the impacts of drought on the water supply – with no consideration for flood control and recreational fishing. A reversion back to this 1983 agreement would reduce releases linked to the NYC Delaware Basin reservoirs. Full reliance on Revision 1 would mean that the reservoirs would retain more water, decreasing flood-management space. Without these necessary areas, there is the potential for more frequent catastrophic downstream flooding, such as the disasters of the early 2000s. This week I spoke via phone with New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin about the importance of our states working together to avoid reverting to a status quo ante which would negatively impact the environment and economies of New York and New Jersey.

Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act & Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act

A reported 16 percent of children between the ages of 14 and 17 have been sexually victimized. This week I voted for two bills that will better extend the arm of the law to protect our children from sexual predators and abuses. The first, H.R. 1761, the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act, fixes an existing law to close a loophole regarding the intent of an abuser, thereby protecting child pornography victims. H.R. 1973, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act, extends child abuse reporting requirements to national governing bodies such as USA Gymnastics. This reporting will better equip local and federal law enforcement agencies to combat child abuse.

We must do all we can to protect our children. To stay aware about possible sex offenders in your area, please visit www.nsopw.gov.

Social Security Number Fraud Prevention Act of 2017

Every year millions of Americans have their identities stolen, costing them billions of dollars. To help reduce the risk, I recently cosponsored H.R. 624, the Social Security Number Fraud Prevention Act of 2017. This bill restricts the use of Social Security numbers on official documents sent through the mail by the federal government, unless an agency decides that the information is necessary. H.R. 624 passed the House on May 24 with overwhelming bipartisan support. If signed into law, this bill will help protect our seniors, veterans and children from identity theft.

VA Scheduling Accountability Act 

Our veterans deserve nothing but the best service and treatment when visiting a Department of Veterans Affairs medical facility. With this in mind, I voted in favor of H.R. 467, the VA Scheduling Accountability Act. This bill directs the VA to ensure that each of its medical facilities is annually certified and in full compliance with all laws and regulations related to medical service scheduling. Should any facility fail to be certified, its senior leadership will not be eligible for any type of financial bonus or award. H.R. 467 passed with bipartisan support, 419 to 0.


Memorial Day Message from Congressman Faso

This Memorial Day Weekend, please take time during the holiday to reflect on the sacrifices made by more than 1 million Americans who have lost their lives in conflicts since 1775. Consider visiting monuments such as Hyde Park’s “Those Who Served” memorial, located behind the Town Hall, Oneonta’s “Wall That Heals” for our Vietnam veterans, and honor those who gave, as President Lincoln stirringly put it, their last full measure of devotion. A complete list of Memorial Day events and ceremonies can be found here. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend.


 
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