2017-10-11 / Political Page

I On Politics

MALONEY: GOP RAISE ACT WOULD REDUCE GROWTH: Following a hearing held by the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) on how to spur economic growth by reversing what has been called “The Startup Slump,” House Ranking Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement.

“One of the surest ways to spur economic growth is by increasing the number of startups in this country. And most economists agree, that one of the surest ways to increase startups in this country, would be to welcome more qualified, well vetted immigrants from other countries. Yet, Washington Republicans consistently oppose ideas that we know will work and support policies that would make starting a successful new business in this country even harder.

“At today’s JEC hearing, I was pleased that one of the Republican witnesses, John R. Dearie, the Founder and President of the Center for American Entrepreneurship, agreed with me and most mainstream economists, saying that a Republican bill called The RAISE Act (H.R. 3099) to sharply decrease the number of immigrants allowed in this country every year is ‘antigrowth’.

“With the deadline for extending DACA looming and Republican proposals to sharply limit immigration under consideration, I hope Republicans in Congress will heed Mr. Dearie’s words and stop supporting these types of ‘anti-growth’ polices. It’s time to drop the RAISE Act and pass the DREAM Act because Americans deserve a better deal.”

The RAISE Act (Reforming American Immigration for Strong Employment) Act, introduced in the Senate by Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue, seeking to reduce levels of legal immigration to the United States by 50% by halving the number of green cards issued. The bill also caps the number of refugee admissions a year at 50,000 and ends the visa diversity lottery.

PHEFFER AMATO TO HOST SMART SENIORS TALKS: Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Far Rockaway) announced on October 3 that she would be hosing two Smart Seniors sessions with New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office later this month. The sessions are designed to help seniors protect themselves from fraud and abuse. The first presentations will be held on Monday. October 23 at 11:00 a.m. at the Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services Senior Center, 155-55 Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach. The second session will be held on Tuesday, October 24 at 11:30 a.m. at JASA Roy Reuther Senior Center in Far Rockaway, 711 Seagirt Avenue. The two venues were chosen to provide the Attorney General’s valuable information on fraud protection to senior citizens on both sides of the 23rd Assembly District, without forcing attendees to pay a toll to go over the Cross Bay Bridge.

“This is a really helpful presentation and I hope seniors choose to take advantage of it,” said Pheffer Amato. “We’ll be working to get the word out. We’re excited to host the Attorney General, who has built his career on consumer protection, as he brings his considerable resources to bear in one of the districts with the highest concentrations of senior citizens. From investor fraud to the recent Equifax data breach, too many of our elders have been the victims of scams of opportunity. These victims are our mothers and fathers. They deserve all the support and defense we can give them. I’m thrilled to be able to bring them the best, most current information on how to protect themselves, direct from the state’s top enforcement official!”

“We must empower senior citizens with information that will help them spot a scam before they are victimized,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “I’m proud to stand with Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato in our commitment to protect all New Yorkers, especially those who are at a heightened risk of being targeted by fraud. If you think you’re a victim of fraud, don’t hesitate to report it to my office at 1-800- 771-7755.”

A dedicated portion of the Attorney General’s website provides easily accessible safety tips, alerts and information that seniors can use to stay safe in their daily lives, “Smart Seniors: Resources for Older Adults.”

Participants in the local workshops do not need to RSVP. Both are open to the public.

CROWLEY ON PASSAGE OF THE ‘DAMAGING’ HOUSE REPUBLICAN BUDGET: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the passage of the House Republican Budget:

“House Republicans passed a budget that jeopardizes the middle class and working families by imposing extreme funding cuts that will punish seniors, children, veterans, and the hardest-working individuals across our country. This irresponsible budget will leave our country decades behind by slashing investments in education, infrastructure, medical research, and workforce training. “The American people deserve a budget that moves our country forward, and they deserve a Congress that fights for them. I urge my Republican colleagues to keep their promise to the American people, abandon their political games, and join Democrats in crafting a budget that works for all Americans.”

MALONEY VOTES NO ON GOP BUDGET: Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), House Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee (JBC), managed 30 minutes of floor debate about the Republican FY 2018 Budget Resolution’s impact on the economy and issued the following statement on House passage of that budget:

“Ultimately, a national budget is a deal between the American taxpayer and Congress about how this country will spend their money. Anyone who looks at the fine print in the GOP budget plan can tell you that the American people want, need, and deserve a better deal.

“The Republican budget plan cuts $5.4 trillion in spending over 10 years and includes $4.4 trillion in cuts to mandatory programs that help average Americans get and stay ahead. These are huge cuts that would cause enormous damage in the lives of children, students, veterans, and other Americans. About half of these cuts in non-defense spending are in programs that help people who need help the most, including food assistance programs, college tuition assistance to low-income families, and disaster relief funds. This budget would slash Medicare and Medicaid to pay for massive tax cuts for the wealthiest few, and repeals the Affordable Care Act even though the American people have made it clear that they don’t want to see it repealed.

“Americans deserve a better deal. They deserve a Congress and a budget that works for all Americans and makes sure we are caring for all our citizens and helping each and every one of them reach their American dream.”

MALONEY CHARGES EQUIFAX VIOLATED LAW AT HOUSE FINANCIAL SERVICES HEARING: Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY- 12), senior member of the House Committee of Financial Services, questioned former Equifax CEO Richard Smith at an October 5 hearing on the company’s data breach and charged that the company violated the Federal Trade Commission’s Safeguards Rule by failing to act on the security threat pointed out in a DHS notice, Maloney also questioned Smith on Equifax’s patch management system and outdated corporate governance model. She stated:

“Equifax, and Mr. Smith, owe the American people answers and I am very frustrated with how many questions remained unanswered since the security breach. Americans rely on the three credit bureaus – a select group of companies – to safeguard some of our most sensitive personal information and Equifax clearly did not meet their obligations. We have a law in place that protects against exactly what happened here, and now we’ll see if the FTC is willing to enforce it; if they’re not, then we’ll know that Equifax is truly above the law.

“Equifax failed to implement a security patch and allowed the flaw to go unpatched for months. This is simply negligence and unacceptable. To make matters worse, Equifax was using an outdated corporate governance model that kept the chief information security officer out of direct contact with the CEO and board of directors. I asked Mr. Smith if he employed this model because he didn’t think that security information was important enough to be reported directly to him as CEO. So much went wrong here, even though we have rules in place to prevent just this type of breach. Equifax needs to let the American people know how they plan to fix this broken system and protect our most sensitive personal information.”

“The Federal Trade Commission’s Safeguards rule, among other things, requires that credit bureaus have an information security program in place that can identify reasonably foreseeable risks to the security of data and can protect against these risks. It also requires a patch management system to patch security flaws as soon as a fix for the flaw is released.”

CROWLEY STATEMENT ON DOJ REPORTS TRUMP MAY DECERTIFY IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement after media reports indicated that President Trump may decertify the Iran Deal:

“If these reports are accurate, this would be an irresponsible and unnecessary decision by the president. I would urge him to swiftly reconsider.

“The Secretary of Defense recently indicated that remaining a part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is important to our national security. By not certifying Iran’s compliance, even after the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that Iran is implementing its commitments, President Trump would jeopardize our security and national interests.

“It is clear that President Trump is focused more on continuing his campaign rhetoric than keeping Americans safe. I remain concerned about many of Iran’s activities, and we can do more to address those issues. But that should not include putting the nuclear agreement at risk.”

CROWLEY ON DECISION TO RESCIND PROTECTIONS FOR TRANSGENDER WORKERS: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Justice announced its decision to reverse a federal government anti-discrimination policy protecting transgender workers:

“The Trump administration’s hostile and discriminatory attacks against the LGBT community must stop. All Americans deserve the same rights, privileges, and protections offered under the law. Indeed, the Department of Justice should be the very agency ensuring the rights of transgender individuals.

“In a country founded on the premise that all individuals are created equal, sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination have absolutely no place in our workplace, our communities, and our country. I urge Republicans to join Democrats to pass the Equality Act to permanently protect our fellow Americans from harassment and discrimination.”

MENG, STAVISKY PUSH REMOVAL OF ANTI-CHINESE GAME: U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) announced on October 5 that Big-O-Tree Games, Inc. will not be releasing “Dirty Chinese Restaurant,” the video game it developed that negatively depicts individuals of Chinese descent. The company’s decision came after Meng raised objections to the game last week. The game makers also apologized to the Chinese community.

Meng was joined by NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky in her complaint.

“Racism must be called out, whenever and wherever we see it,” said Meng. “I want to thank everyone who joined me and spoke out against the demeaning and negative stereotypes depicted in the video game, Dirty Chinese Restaurant. While I’m pleased that Big-O-Tree Games has decided not to release its racist video game, it is disturbing that something like this would have progressed as far as it did. I hope this company does not live up to its name in future endeavors.”

After two weeks of pressure from elected officials and community leaders, Big-OTree Games the producer of the “racist and offensive” mobile game “Dirty Chinese Restaurant” issued a formal apology and agreed to withdraw the game from all platforms, Stavisky explained. “The premise of the game is to own an operate a dingy and dirty restaurant. Players would be able to do a number of offensive things with their avatar, named Wong Fu. Among the scenarios portrayed in the game’s trailer are Wong Fu hunting for cats, dogs and mice in the back alley to serve customers; an immigration officer deporting employees and a tax collector looking for money hidden under Wong Fu’s mattress. There was also a ‘sweat shop’ mode that forced employees to work faster and in unfair conditions.”

Big-O-Tree Games, which sought distribution on Apple, Android and Google platforms, previewed the game on social media, where activist and community leader Karlin Chan brought attention to its “offensive premise.” With pressure from Rep. Grace Meng, NYS Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Karlin Chan and the media, Big- O-Tree Games issued an apology on Thursday morning and is in the process of removing the game content from all their platforms.

“Games are created to be enjoyed, but not at the expense of an entire culture and community. Instead of using their platform to promote the many positive contributions Chinese-Americans have made to this country, the game makers reduced them to racist stereotypes. It is disgusting that such racist views are still held in this country, but I am proud to say a majority saw the game for what it was: ignorant and offensive. I want to thank Karlin Chan for bringing attention to this issue as well as everyone who stood up to Big-O-Tree Games and let it be known that this game is unacceptable,” Stavisky said.

(We have) “seen a worldwide resurgence of hate and racism, this instance in the form of a ‘game’ Dirty Chinese Restaurant had no other purpose than to mock Chinese people through every racist stereotype and would have given those with limited or no interaction with Chinese (the impression) that we are monsters. I am elated that we were able to persuade the creators to cancel its release. We must all stay vigilant, speak up and act whenever and wherever racism and hate rears its ugly head,” said Karlin Chan, a community activist who brought attention to the game.

CROWLEY: ‘TRUMP’S IMMIGRATION DEMANDS BEYOND UNREASONABLE’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement after the White House released a series of demands that President Trump would require before agreeing to protect DREAMers:

“President Trump created a crisis for nearly one million DREAMers when he unilaterally ended the DACA program to appease the most extreme anti-immigrant voices in his party. Demanding a crackdown on children fleeing abject violence and funding for an ill-conceived border wall is beyond unreasonable. The president is not serious about compromise and is insincere in his negotiations.

“These young men and women, who contribute so much to our country, are Americans in their hearts and minds. Democrats will not stop fighting until DREAMers have the security they deserve.”

CROWLEY: TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ‘LEGALIZING LGBT DISCRIMINATION’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement after the Department of Justice declared that government agencies, private businesses, and other entities have a right to discriminate against LGBT individuals:

“President Trump’s administration codified its disdain for the LGBT community with this overly-broad ruling that gives government agencies, private businesses, and other entities the legal right to discriminate against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This ruling will undo decades of progress made by the LGBT community and is an affront to equal and human rights.

“I urge President Trump to remember his promise to be an advocate for LGBT individuals and put an end to the extreme, discriminatory agenda coming from the Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“In Congress, Democrats will take every measure possible to protect LGBT individuals and reverse the hateful course of the Trump administration.”

MALONEY: TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ‘ONCE AGAIN ENDANGERING WOMEN’S HEALTH’: In response to the Trump administration’s announcement of a new rule allowing all employers to deny women insurance coverage for contraception, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), a member of the Pro-Choice Caucus and House sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, released the following statement:

“Birth control is healthcare. Women need it and are entitled to access it. With this rule, the Trump administration has put the government and employers in charge of women’s health care decisions. As a result, tens of millions of women across the country and millions in New York could lose access to affordable birth control.

“The Affordable Care Act made preventive services, including contraceptives, available with no copay. Sixty-two million American women, including 3.5 million New Yorkers, are benefiting from these protections today. Yet due to this new rule, a woman’s access to one of the most fundamental health care services will now depend on her employer’s religion and personally held beliefs. That’s not freedom. That’s sexism. That’s placing the employer’s views above a choice that should be made between a woman and her doctor. Free access to birth control supports women’s health. That’s why I strongly oppose this rule and will do everything possible to see it overturned.”

CROWLEY ON TRUMP DECISION ‘RESTRICTS ACCESS TO BIRTH CONTROL’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the Trump administration rule that would allow virtually any employer to restrict access to birth control:

“This decision puts the health, financial security, and freedoms of 55 million women and their families at risk. Giving employers unchecked control to regulate their employees’ bodies and life choices rolls back the decades of progress women have made in the workforce and our society.

“There is no logic or purpose behind this archaic rule, other than to appease the most extreme voices in President Trump’s base. Democrats won’t stop fighting until Congress gives women the equality and freedom of choice they have a guaranteed right to.”

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