2015-01-21 / Political Page

Crowley Calls Homeland Security Bill ‘Reckless And Dangerous’

Congressmember Joseph Crowley last week blasted the House Republican majority and voted against their “reckless and dangerous” Homeland Security funding legislation that includes radical anti-immigration amendments to block President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration reform.

The Republicans used the same tactic to upend the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, known as DACA, which protects undocumented young people who came to the United States as children, Crowley charged.

“Madam Chair,” Crowley (D–Queens/Bronx) began addressing Rep. Diane Black, “I think my Republican colleagues are taking the American people for fools.”

Referring to Sept. 11, 2001, in which he lost “too many constituents and friends,” he stated: “In the years since, New York City has been the focus of attempted terror plots. We’re home to one of the largest airports in the country, and the associated security threats that go along with it.

Photo Courtesy Congressmember Crowley Photo Courtesy Congressmember Crowley “So let’s be clear,” he declared for emphasis, “Homeland Security funding is something I take very seriously. And frankly, it’s something that I would expect my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to take seriously as well.”

“But this is not a serious effort by any stretch of the imagination,” he stated. You know what is good for our national security? Bringing people out of the shadows, so that we know who’s here in our country. Focusing our limited enforcement resources on true threats. And not holding up needed funding for security and law enforcement programs, to make a political point.”

Shifting them to the immigration issue, Crowley said, “To my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, I’d say:

“If you genuinely think that the best way to handle our immigration system is to deport parents who are trying to feed their families instead of true criminals;

“If you want to deport children raised in this country as Americans;

“If you want to destroy all our recent economic gains—a sucker punch to the economy— by deporting 11 million people at a cost of $285 billion;

“Then you know what? Bring up a bill and lets’ have a real debate.

Getting more serious as his message progressed, Crowley told his opponents, “Don’t walk in here and tell me and the American people that this garbage belongs in the Homeland Security funding bill. The American people are not suckers and they are not fools. They know what you’re doing.”

Crowley continued: “Our Homeland Security programs are more important than these kinds of political games. They deserve the bipartisan, negotiated approach that marked this bill all through the fall.

And he added, “I just wish all my colleagues would stop catering to partisan extremists, because this bill is a betrayal of our economic gains, a betrayal of our national security, and a betrayal of our history as a nation of immigrants.”

Crowley’s anger at the emboldened Republican majority in the House, backed up by their new U.S. Senate majority, is just one indication of the party’s apparent feeling of invincibility. Another instance of this reckless attitude was demonstrated last week when the House voted to make changes in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul which was passed by the Democrats a couple of years ago to prevent the nation’s banks from making the risky moves that led to their collapse in 2008.

Of course, we—the U.S. government— bailed the banks out of that hole and put them on a sound footing again, with Dodd-Frank in place to prevent them from getting rambunctious. Now, along comes the new Republican majority to meddle with the bank controls that are in place and eventually strip them away.

VALLONE HOLDS FIRST SENIOR TASK FORCE MEETING: Joined by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Councilmember Paul Vallone held the inaugural meeting of the Senior Task Force, which he chairs, and told the senior advocates present: “The glaring need is to put into place an immediate safety net across each agency, which will come to the aid of a person in crisis [this] remains the primary goal of the task force.”

Present at the meeting were several judges, legal professionals, providers and advocates. Vallone (D–Bayside) stated, “The goal of this new private and public partnership is to tackle our city’s policy and procedure when facing critical senior issues,” and also examine “the roles of Adult Protective Services (APS), the Department of the Aging, the Department of Health and Department of Mental Hygiene when faced with seniors in critical need of services.”

Vallone said that “one agency in particular— APS—is burdened with providing all of these services and needs”. Because APS is governed by the state, he said, “it was important to determine in what areas the city could act in order to create a more efficient and effective APS program.”

The lawmaker, who also heads the Subcommittee On Senior Centers, stated, “The task force will look at every aspect of existing procedures when the first phone call comes in from a concerned family member, neighbor or health care professional when they believe there is a person in need.”

Vallone explained, “These concerns include issues with elder abuse, dementia and Alzheimer’s, failing health, disabilities, economic crisis or financial abuse, eviction, or the simple inability to care for themselves anymore.”

Because of these growing issues, he said, the members discussed existing policy and legislation and how these may be amended, modified or simply changed.

Vallone also applauded Mark-Viverito for working with him to establish the work force.

“Hearing from this diverse group of participants, who are on the ground every day protecting seniors in our city, will ultimately allow for the development of meaningful, substantive changes in the current APS system. This collaborative effort of passionate professionals will ensure that the city is able to provide the highest level of care for its most valuable residents.”

AG JOINS FACEBOOK TO FIND MISSING KIDS: New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has joined Facebook in announcing a new system to help find missing children by “revolutionizing” the way AMBER Alerts are delivered, the AG said.

Schneiderman explained that, in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Facebook’s new distribution system will send AMBER Alerts to people’s newsfeed if they are in the targeted search area after a child has been abducted.

Schneiderman said this step is just the latest by Facebook to ensure public safety on its platform, following an agreement with the AG last year to implement safeguards to prevent the illegal sale of firearms on its site.

The AG explained Facebook’s new system will allow it to send an AMBER Alert directly to the mobile phones of people in the designated search areas when a child has been abducted. The alert will include important details about the child, such as a photo, description, location of the abduction, and any other available information.

MALONEY RE-INTRODUCES TRAFFICKING ACT: Wasting no time, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney has reintroduced the bipartisan Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act. Congressmember Ted Poe (R–TX) shares sponsorship with her. The bill passed the House unanimously last year, Maloney noted.

The lawmaker said the legislation will “strengthen our hand against human trafficking and is long overdue.”

“This legislation will attack this crime at the source by going after the ‘johns’ and traffickers,” said Maloney (D–Queens/Manhattan). “It will also provide services to the women and girls who have been sold into sexual slavery. She thanked Poe “for his strength and leadership “and recalled they passed the bill in the House last year and hopes they can “get it through the Senate as well”.

Poe stated: “In a time of seemingly constant partisan deadlock there is one thing we can all agree on: our children are not for sale.”

Maloney explained the bill “repurposes and reauthorizes a grant program to create a victimcentered model block grant to help state and local government develop and implement comprehensive victim-centered programs to train law enforcement to rescue victims, prosecute human traffickers, and restore the lives of victims.”

MILLER’S ‘VALENTINES FOR VETS’ DRIVE: Assemblymember Michael Miller (D–Woodhaven) announced his office will be collecting cards, candy (sugar-free snacks a plus), toiletries, muffin pans (6-count), oven mitts, watercolor paint, knit hats/ gloves, socks, food storage, containers, large puzzle pieces—to be given to the men and women veterans hospitalized at the St. Albans VA Hospital and the NYS Veterans’ Nursing Home.

Bring your donations to Miller’s office at 83- 91 Woodhaven Blvd., Woodhaven. Any questions? Miller’s office can be reached by phone at 718-805-0950.

CUOMO APPOINTS QUINN SPECIAL ADVISOR: Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn as a special advisor, he announced.

“Christine Quinn is a proven leader and champion of progressive causes, and I am proud to have her join our team,” the governor stated. “I am confident that she will fight for the issues most important to New Yorkers, just as she did as speaker of the City Council and during her many years as a public servant and advocate.

Quinn, who lost the recent race for mayor, said, “I can think of nothing more important than working to make New York state a more fair and just place for everyone to live and raise a family… I look forward to the opportunity to serve New Yorkers in every part of the state. I am thankful to the governor for his confidence.”

ADDABBO TO ADDRESS ISSUES PLAGUING DISTRICT, STATE: With the 2015 legislative session in full swing, state Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. (D–Southern Queens) is again focusing his efforts on aiding small business, city schools, a transparent Albany and much more.

“The first question for the State legislature is “how to effectively use funds from the State budget,” he stated. One point in particular he said, is “how to spend the $5.6 billion in revenue received as a result of legal settlements with corrupt banks and other financial institutions.”

Area hospitals, such as St. John’s Episcopal and Jamaica Hospital should be a high priority for funding he said. He’s also highly in favor of the Paid Family Leave Act.

This session will also feature a Small Business Summit to use as a tool to cultivate additional ways to help small business thrive. Small businesses are an important part of the community and they deserve our support, Addabbo said.

As for schools and education, he stated, this session will face the question of renewing, revising or eliminating mayoral control over the city’s school system. Currently, school control is in the mayor’s hands. Addabbo said he would “like to see this law remain in effect, with revisions that give parents, teachers and administrators a greater voice.”

He added: “A school’s environment and its administration’s ability to deliver the needed education… are always high on my list.” Which means he’ll visit many schools for parent meetings.

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