2017-09-13 / Political Page

I On Politics

CROWLEY’S STATEMENT ON TRUMP’S DECISION TO REVERSE DACA PROGRAM: House Democratic Caucus Chair Crowley released the following statement after President Trump announced plans to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

“President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would be shocking if it weren’t so predictable from a president who has routinely demonized immigrants, elevated politics above principles, and catered to the most extreme voices in his party. Given that today’s action comes after President Trump repeatedly claimed he wanted to help these young people, all Americans should realize how empty his promises are when compared to the reality of his political interests.

“The DACA program has allowed nearly one million young adults to contribute to their communities. These are young people who believe firmly in the promise of the United States and consider themselves patriotic Americans. Under DACA, immigrant Americans have been able to go to college or start businesses. They’ve been able to protect our country in the military or aid the elderly and sick at home. In New York City, the DACA program has strengthened not just our economy, but our neighborhoods, as immigrants became community organizers fighting to improve our hometown. It is absurd to think that our nation’s interests are served by ending this program and forcing these individuals back into the shadows. Without a doubt, this action is both heartless and senseless,” Crowley (D-Elmhurst) concluded:

“It is now time for Republicans in Congress to stand up. At a minimum, Congress must act to reverse this harmful and revolting policy change. Bicameral legislation has been introduced that would protect this population – and there is no reason for Republicans to delay bringing it to the House and Senate floors for a vote. I look forward to seeing whether my colleagues will stand up for what is right.”

MALONEY ON TRUMP DECISION TO RESCIND DACA: In response to the Trump administration announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will be rescinded, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) co-sponsor of the BRIDGE Act and American Hope Act of 2017, released the following statement:

“Since 2012, when DACA was first launched, nearly 800,000 young people have been enrolled in the program. DACA helped breathe life into the American dream for a generation of people who came to the United States as children seeking a better future, just as earlier generations of Americans did so. These individuals are our neighbors and friends who have grown up here in the United States, who have done nothing wrong, and have only ever known the United States as their home. Before DACA, these young people had lived in the shadows of our communities. Since DACA began, these good-hearted Americans have come forward in hopes of being granted fully legal status and the chance to continue making positive contributions to their communities and our country without fear of deportation.

“DACA participants bring real economic benefits to our states and nation. A recent Center for American Progress assessment found that ending the DACA program would remove at least $460.3 billion from the US GDP, cumulatively over a decade.

“I will continue to do all I can to protect DREAMers and reverse this decision as we continue to work toward real, comprehensive immigration reform. The BRIDGE Act and the American Dream Act are good places to start. House Republican leadership should allow votes on these important pieces of legislation. It is our diversity and opportunity that makes this country so great, and I hope all my colleagues will take that to heart.”

PERALTA RESPONDS TO TRUMP’S DECISION ON DACA: “After saying that “We love the DREAMers’ and describing them as ‘terrific,’ President Donald Trump’s decision to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is brutal and incomprehensible. It is disheartening to see how this president, son and grandson of immigrants, just killed the hopes and dreams of hundreds of thousands of DREAMers. The First Lady is an immigrant herself, so the action taken by President Trump is appalling,” NYS Senator Jose Peralta declared. He continued:

“Repealing DACA is not only immoral, but it’s economic suicide, since, according to a study by the Center for American Progress, DACA beneficiaries will contribute $460.3 billion to the US gross domestic product over the next decade. DACA not only provides hope and opportunity, it boosts our economy and creates jobs.

“President Trump is punishing young people who came to the United States by no fault of their own. Let’s not forget that DREAMers have already been properly vetted through the system and have met the rigorous requirements placed on them, not only to initially qualify but to renew the program as well. Not only that, DREAMers are our everyday neighbors and future doctors, engineers, teachers, architects that will move this country forward and build on the foundation of those who came before them.

“In light of this tragic and unjustified decision, now more than ever it is imperative that we, in New York, pass my DREAM Act legislation, a measure that will allow our undocumented immigrant college students enroll in the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), leveling the playing field for all college students. It is time to help DREAMers, not attack them.

“Since being elected to public office, first to the New York State Assembly and now to the New York State Senate, I have been and continue to advocate for the rights of immigrants, not only in our city and in our state, but nationwide. This year I helped secure $10 million in the state’s budget for the immigrant and legal defense fund, the most that any state has allocated towards this, which now more than ever has become vital since Trump’s decision to revoke DACA. We cannot afford to lose our DREAMers to appease political rhetoric. This is a sad, tragic day for America. I hope this Administration rethinks this decision and works to put people before politics.”

CROWLEY’S BIPARTISAN CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE REFORM BILL PASSES HOUSE: Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, announced on September 5 that the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act (H.R. 1843), bipartisan legislation led by Crowley and Rep. Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) that will protect taxpayers from having their money wrongfully seized by the government.

“Civil asset forfeiture started as a tool to combat criminal activity, but it has morphed into a complex process that can unfairly entangle innocent Americans,” said Chairman Crowley. “There is no question the process is flawed and in need of reform. That’s why I’m proud to partner with Congressman Roskam to pass this critical legislation.”

“Today we took a big step toward delivering justice for victims of IRS abuse,” said Congressman Roskam. “It’s clear to everyone involved that the IRS and DOJ abused their authority and took money from people who did nothing wrong. With today’s legislation, we’re making sure they can never do it again. I want to thank the Clyde, Hirsch, Sowers, and Taylor families for their bravery and willingness to share their stories in the hopes of preventing future injustice. I appreciate the support of Ranking Member John Lewis and Congressman Joe Crowley on this bipartisan bill. I’m glad we can finally put this ugly chapter to rest.”

The House of Representatives passed the Crowley-Roskam bill in 2016, but the legislation did not receive a vote in the Senate before the session of Congress expired. With today’s passage, the bill will now head to the Senate for consideration.

MALONEY THANKS WOMEN’S HISTORY MUSEUM CEO WAGES FOR HER SERVICE: Following the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) announcement that President and CEO Joan Bradley Wages will be stepping down from her position at the end of this year. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY- 12), author of HR 19, the Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, thanked Wages for her dedication and tireless work.

“I have had the great privilege of not only working with Joan Wages towards finally establishing a physical museum dedicated to American women’s history on the National Mall, but also of calling her a friend. Joan made it her professional life’s work to bring women’s history out of the shadows and into the national spotlight, and she has been an incredible advocate in the fight for a women’s museum. Thanks to her work and fundraising efforts, the American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission was able to carry out its work and issue a bipartisan report unanimously recommending the establishment of such a museum. I cannot thank Joan enough for her friendship and steadfast support and advocacy for this project. I wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.”

MALONEY ON HOUSE PASSAGE OF HURRICANE AID PACKAGE: Following the House vote approving emergency aid for Hurricane Harvey relief, Congressswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY- 12) released the following statement:

“As someone who represents a district that was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, I have a hardearned appreciation and respect for what the survivors of Hurricane Harvey have been going through up to now and of the daunting challenge they face in rebuilding and recovering. That is why I wholeheartedly support this aid package and am proud of the House for doing the right thing and voting for the emergency funding Houston so desperately needs.

“The enormity of the economic impact that this kind of mass trauma can have and the toll it can take on people’s lives is hard to overstate. I hope the Senate will follow suit and quickly take up this bill and vote for this aid package so that we can get the needed funds to Houston as soon as possible.”

ADDABBO PAYS TRIBUTE TO ASSEMBLYMAN

MICHAEL SIMANOWITZ: Following the passing of Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz, NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo released the following statement: “Mike Simanowitz dedicated the majority of his professional life to public service and helping others. I understand that his name, ‘Mike’ or ‘Meir’ in Hebrew means ‘light’ and he truly was the light for so many of his constituents, helping them find answers to their concerns. As a husband, father and community leader, he will be missed. My prayers are with his family during their difficult time.”

QUEENS REPUBLICAN, CONSERVATIVE

PARTIES JOIN FORCES FOR MALLIOTAKIS: The Queens County Republican and Conservative parties have joined forces in support of Nicole Malliotakis for mayor.

“The Queens County GOP is united behind Nicole and we welcome all parties in our effort to elect a honest and capable candidate for mayor,” said former Congressman and Queens County GOP Chairman, Bob Turner. “New Yorkers are in need of a mayor who has legislative experience, a clear vision for New York City, and the ability to execute that vision for all New York City residents.”

Mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis said, “Whether it’s our failing schools, the homeless crisis or the transit nightmare, New Yorkers are reminded time and again that we cannot afford another four years of Bill de Blasio.” The borough of Queens needs more school choices for parents, has a growing housing problem, and a noticeable uptick in quality of life issues, to name a few, she added.

Queens County Conservative Party Chairman Tom Long added, “What better way to help Nicole Malliotakis become the next mayor of New York City, than by meeting the people of Queens and listening to their concerns, as well as Nicole sharing her plans for the future of our city.” On Wednesday, September 13, the Queens County GOP and the Queens County Conservative party will host a fundraiser for mayoral candidate, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, at American Legion Post 1424 in Forest Hills from 7 pm- 9 pm.

“I thank Chairmen Turner and Long for helping me raise the funds necessary to get our message out. Together, we can make Bill de Blasio a one- term mayor and put our city Back on track; but, we must be united and stay focused from now through Election Day,” said Malliotakis. Both Turner and Long will be inattendance at the upcoming funder, as well as Executive Committee members from each party, donors and supporters of Malliotakis.

MALONEY AMENDMENT TO FUND WOMEN’S HISTORY INITIATIVE PASSES HOUSE: The House of Representatives passed an amendment by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY- 12) to provide $2 million for the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative. The initiative aims to make important improvements to existing museum exhibitions that would “more accurately and completely tell the story of our nation’s history and will help lay the ground work for a future Smithsonian museum dedicated to American Women’s History Initiative. The initiative aims to make important improvements to existing museum exhibitions that would “more accurately and completely tell the story of our nation’s history and will help lay the groundwork for a future Smithsonian museum dedicated to American women’s history,” explained Maloney.

Maloney is the sponsor of HR 19, Smithsonian Women’s History Museum Act, to establish a comprehensive museum dedicated to the history of American women on the National Mall. The bipartisan bill is currently co- sponsored by 247 members of the House. Maloney’s amendment was added to H. R. 3354, the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018; which is currently under consideration in the House.

“I am thrilled the House passed my amendment to provide $2 million to the Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative. For too long, the contributions and accomplishments of women have been left out when we tell the history of our country. I believe getting this new initiative underway is an important first step to help lay the groundwork for a future Smithsonian museum dedicated to American women’s history.”

The Smithsonian’s American Women’s History Initiative will amplify women’s voices to honor the past, inform the present and inspire the future. Under the Initiative, the Smithsonian will:

• Recruit at least six new curators for five- year terms to work in museums across the Smithsonian and provide start- up funds for their research, exhibitions, and programs.

• Survey the Smithsonian’s collections for objects relevant to women’s history and establish an acquisitions fund to build the collection.

• Hire an education specialist for a five- year term and allocate start- up funds to develop programs and educational materials.

• Produce an annual symposium and other public programs, such as lectures, film series and curator talks.

• Mentor 10 paid interns each year.

Rep. Maloney introduced HR 19 along with Rep. Ed Royce (R- CA) on March 30, and the bill currently has 247 co- sponsors. Numbered 19 in honor of the 19 Amendment giving women the right to vote, this bill:

• Establishes a Smithsonian national museum for the collection, study and establishment of programs covering the contributions of women to various fields throughout history

• Establishes an advisory council consisting of 25 members appointed by the Smithsonian Board of Regents to make recommendations concerning planning, design and construction, operations and finances, and programming for the museum

• Directs Smithsonian to appoint a Director to manage the museum and carry out educational programs in cooperation with other Smithsonian institutions and schools

• Instructs the Board of Regents to choose one of two locations for the museum site, both located on the National Mall and recommended by the Congressional Commission and authorizes the transfer of the chosen site to the Smithsonian Institution

• Ensures that private funds finance the construction of the museum building, while authorizing federal funds for the planning, design, and operation of the museum by the Smithsonian.

HR 19 is based on the work of the bipartisan American Museum of Women’s History Congressional Commission, which was created in 2014 to study the need for such a museum through legislation introduced by Reps. Maloney and Marsha Blackburn (R- TN- 7) in the House and former Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D- MD) and Sen. Susan Collins (R- ME) in the Senate. The bipartisan commission submitted its report to Congress in November 2016 with a unanimous recommendation that a comprehensive women’s history museum should be established on or near the National Mall as part of the Smithsonian Institution.

The bipartisan Commission’s report found:

• The future Museum of Women’s History should be part of the Smithsonian;

• The exhibits and collections should be inclusive and represent a diverse array of viewpoints and perspectives of women who have helped shape America;

• The museum deserves a prominent location on or very close to the National Mall;

• Private sector money should finance the construction of a world- class museum.

DOJ TO REIMBURSE CITY FOR PRESFrom IDENT-ELECT PROTECTION: The Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA) FY 2017 President- Elect Security Assistance Reimbursement Grant Program has awarded nearly $26 million to New York City to reimburse costs incurred protecting then-President-elect Trump and his family between Election Day and Inauguration Day. Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) and Congressman Daniel M. Donovan Jr. (NY- 11), who jointly led efforts to make sure the city was reimbursed for these costs, applauded the grant.

“The NYPD and FDNY did an exceptional job meeting the unprecedented demands of protecting then-President-elect Trump in and around Trump Tower, which is in the heart of Manhattan in my district,” said Rep. Maloney. “It was simply unfair to expect local law enforcement and New York City taxpayers alone to bear the costs of a national security priority. This had to be a federal responsibility, and I was very pleased that Congress appropriated funds for reimbursement to affected localities earlier this year, as I and many of colleagues urged. This latest funding award ensures the federal government meets this responsibility. I will continue to monitor the ongoing costs of protecting the President when he and his family are in New York and I believe that federal funds should be made available to the city as necessary in the future.”

“Protecting the President is a national priority. I’m glad that our efforts to obtain reimbursement to the City of New York for the extraordinary cost of securing one of the busiest intersections in the world were successful,” said Donovan. “Thank you to my colleagues on the appropriations committee, before whom I testified earlier this year, to Congresswoman Maloney, and to the rest of our delegation.”

The NYPD’s final calculation for costs associated with security for then-President-elect Trump between Election Day and Inauguration Day was $25.7 million. Following this final tally released in March, Maloney and Donovan led a bipartisan group of 14 other members of the New York Delegation in a formal request to the Appropriations committee that the City of New York be fully reimbursed for costs incurred to protect then President-elect Donald Trump and his family between Election Day and Inauguration Day.

This letter followed an earlier request led by Maloney and Congressman José Serrano made in December before passage of a Continuing Resolution that only included $7 million for reimbursement to New York City. The bipartisan budget agreement reached in May 2017 included $20 million to reimburse state and local law enforcement for costs associated with protection of the President-elect between Election Day and Inauguration Day and $41 million to reimburse costs post-inauguration.

MENG BILL FIRST FEDERAL PROTECTION FOR CHILD MODELS, ACTORS: With Fashion Week kicking off in the city on September 7, US Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) reintroduced the Child Performer Protection Act (HR 3691), a bill that would create the first federal workplace protections for child actors and models in the film, television and modeling industries.

Although the Fair Labor Standards Act sets employment criteria for children in the US, child performers and models are not covered by the law. Instead, safeguards for minors in the entertainment and modeling industries are left up to individual states, many of which offer few protections. As a result, child actors and models often stand to be – and have been – exploited, manipulated and mistreated, Meng explained.

“We must do all we can to protect our kids and keep them out of harm’s way and that includes safeguarding children that work as actors and models,” said Meng. “For too long, kids in entertainment and modeling industries have not been adequately protected in the workplace and it’s way past time for that to change. This legislation would finally accomplish that goal by shielding vulnerable child performers from workplace abuses that they constantly face and in many cases have been forced to endure. Only a federal law, rather than a patchwork of different state laws, can sufficiently protect these children throughout the entire country. I urge my colleagues in Congress to pass this important bill.”

Meng’s legislation would create a federal baseline of protections that child performers would be entitled to nationwide. These basic and commonsense safeguards include:

Establishing a maximum number of hours that child models and actors can continuously work. Restrictions level off based on age. Although many child workers have maximum work hour protections set by the Fair Labor Standards Act or state laws, numerous child performers and independent contractors are exempt.

• Requiring that compensation be provided in cash wages. Presently, runway models are sometimes not fairly compensated for their work and are instead paid with unusable clothes or handbags that were worn in fashion shows.

• Requiring that 15% of a child’s earnings be placed in a trust account until the child turns 18 (unless a financial need for the money is demonstrated). This provision is modeled after similar laws in California and New York, states with thriving entertainment industries. The intent is to prevent parents from taking the money earned by their child.

• Creating a private right of action for kids who are sexually harassed; allowing children to sue their employers if sexually harassed while on the job.

Meng is a founder and co-Chair of the Kids Safety Caucus, the first bipartisan coalition in the House that she helped launch in 2013, which promotes child-safety issues.

CROWLEY PUSHES FOR HEALTH CARE PROTECTION; IMMIGRANT RIGHTS: House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) introduced a series of amendments to the government funding bill that he said would “defend middle class families against Republican attempts to undermine vital health care and immigration priorities.” The Crowley amendments would, among other provisions, secure critical provisions of the Affordable Care Act and prohibit government funds from being spent on efforts to deport individuals eligible for the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) or the expanded Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) programs.

As part of the government funding process, members of Congress are able to submit amendments to ensure federal funds are allocated in a common-sense manner that protects constituents. Crowley introduced or co-sponsored eight amendments – all aimed at improving the lives of individuals living in Queens, the Bronx, and across the country, such as ensuring they continue to have access to quality health care and do not see their tax dollars wasted on President Trump’s “detestable immigration policies.”

“It’s unconscionable that federal dollars would be used to advance the political agenda of congressional Republicans and President Trump. They didn’t think we’d pay attention but we are, and I won’t stand for it,” said Crowley. “Unable to push forward their disastrous ‘Trumpcare’ plan to strip millions of (their) access to health care, Republicans are trying to sneak a repeal past the American people. House Republicans are also giving President Trump a blank check for his despicable mass deportation efforts.”

House Republicans blocked from consideration seven of Crowley’s amendments, listed below:

• A provision to restore the ability to use funds for the ACA navigator program, which assists individuals in enrolling in the health insurance exchanges and choosing a plan.

• A provision to restore the IRS’s ability to enforce the ACA’s individual mandate.

• A provision to prohibit funds from being used to deport anyone who would be covered by DAPA or the expanded DACA established under President Obama.

• A provision to prohibit funds from being used to deport an active service member or veteran, or a member of a service member’s or veteran’s immediate family.

• Two amendments to reinstate funding for the United Nations Population Fund, which provides international family planning and women’s health services.

• A provision restoring funding for the Title X program, the only dedicated domestic program that supports public and independent clinics providing family planning and preventive health services.

One of Crowley’s amendments, which was cosponsored by Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), was passed by voice vote. It pressures the US Department of State to ensure that Jakiw Palij, a guard for the Nazis during World War II who lives in Crowley’s district in Queens, is no longer allowed to live in the United States. Crowley has pushed the Trump administration, including Secretary of State Tillerson, to deport Palij, who served as a guard at a Nazi prison camp in Poland during the Holocaust.

MALONEY APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF EXTENSION TO FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM: Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), member of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement applauding the House’s vote on September 10 approving a three-month extension of the National Flood Insurance Program.

“I am very pleased that the House included a three-month extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, which is critically important, not only for New Yorkers, but also for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. This three-month extension will give Congress time to work on a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP that is bipartisan, comprehensive, and most importantly, keeps flood insurance affordable for homeowners. During this three-month extension, I will continue to fight for reforms that make flood insurance more affordable in dense urban areas like New York City, and to ensure that homeowners receive the money they’re owed when their homes are flooded.”

MALONEY STATEMENT ON 16TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11: Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), lead House sponsor of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, released the following statement in recognition of the 16th anniversary of 9/11.

“As we have done on every September 11 since 2001, today we come together to remember the lives taken in the most brutal attack on American soil and to honor and thank the first responders who risked, and gave, their lives serving on the front lines.

“We are reminded that even in our darkest hours, there is light. That light shows up in neighbor helping neighbor, in strangers lending a helping hand, in the way our entire country came together to support one another in the wake of such a horrible day.

“We all pledged to ‘Never Forget’ and I took that message to heart. There are thousands of men and women who have lost their lives since 9/11 or are suffering serious illnesses today from their exposure to Ground Zero. It is for these men and women that I, Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Peter King, along with hundreds of dedicated advocates and volunteers, worked to make sure Congress kept its word to those who were there for us on 9/11 by passing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. With its passage in December 2015, no one suffering from a 9/11-related disease will ever have to worry about whether they will get the specialized health care they need. With more than a dozen people each week still being diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer, that certainty is more important than ever.

“At a time when our nation feels more divided than ever, let us remember the power of what we can accomplish and the good we can do when we focus on our shared values, rather than what drives us apart.”

MENG INTRO’S LEGISLATION TO BAN SCHOOL BUS DRIVERS CONVICTED OF DUI: As students across Queens and elsewhere around the country return to school this week, U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) reintroduced legislation to safeguard students against bus drivers who have a record of drunk driving.

Meng’s bill, the No School Bus Drivers with DUIs Act, H.R.3703, would prohibit elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools that receive federal education funds from employing school bus drivers who have been convicted of, or plead guilty to, drunk driving or a driving-related felony.

“No parent should have to worry whether the bus driver who transports his or her child to school has a history of DUIs, or if the child is safe on the bus,” said Meng. “Unfortunately, there is no universal requirement that school bus drivers have a record free of DUI convictions. Just this past May, a school bus driver from Wyoming was arrested for driving a bus with kids on board while under the influence, and after her arrest it was discovered that she had a prior DUI conviction. Congress must act to ensure the safety of our children, and I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support my common-sense legislation.”

Few school bus drivers drive across state lines, so they are not subject to many federal safety regulations. Currently, each state has its own hiring practices for school bus drivers, and some states do not have any requirements related to drunk driving convictions.

In June, CBS News reported a “stunning lack of oversight of school bus drivers.” Of 21 states that told CBS News they had no school bus drivers who had been charged with DUIs in the past three years, each state had at least one such arrest. Meng’s legislation would prevent this type of hiring oversight by prohibiting any K-12 public school from employing a school bus driver who has been convicted of or pleads guilty to a DUI.

Meng is a founder and a co-Chair of the Congressional Kids’ Safety Caucus, the first bipartisan coalition in the House to promote child-safety issues.

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