2018-04-25 / Political Page

I On Politics

CROWLEY PAYS RESPECTS TO BARBARA BUSH: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush:

“My deepest condolences and prayers are with the Bush family this evening as they mourn the loss of First Lady Barbara Bush. “I deeply admired and respected the First Lady. Her love for family, this country, and the American people was evident in everything she did. She was an inspiration to all and tonight our nation grieves with the Bush family.”

‘SCAMMERS STEALING 9/11 FIRST RESPONDERS’ AND SURVIVORS’ INFO’: Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Peter King (R-NY) this week appealed to FTC Acting Chair Maureen K. Ohlhausen to open a formal investigation into reports that individuals are impersonating September 11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) professionals to steal first responders’ and survivors’ information, such as medical history, claim status, and identity confirmation. The members are the original sponsors of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act which established the VCF.

In the letter the members state, “While we appreciate this public notice (see below), we urge the FTC to open a formal investigation into this case and act swiftly to bring these scammers to justice. Even for lowlife fraudsters, this is an outrageous con job. The thousands of 9/11 responders and survivors who have been injured by the toxins at Ground Zero have faced years of adversity and challenges, not only dealing with the physical impact of the toxins from Ground Zero, but the emotional issues that have caused so many cases of PTSD in this community. It is despicable that this community now needs to worry about being tricked into revealing sensitive personal information that could cause real harm in their lives if this data is used maliciously.”

Maloney explained that the Special Master of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund referred the matter to the DOJ Office of the Inspector General, including specific information about the scam calls as reported by callers to the VCF Helpline. “We understand OIG referred the matter to the FTC.” The VCF also posted this notice on their website:

“ALERT: The VCF is aware of calls being made by unknown persons claiming to be the VCF. These callers ask questions about the status of an individual’s VCF claim, state that the individual may be entitled to money, and/or ask for personal information in order to mail a claim package or file a claim on the individuals’ behalf.

“If you receive a call…from someone that you suspect is not VCF staff, you should not provide any information to the caller. When possible, please note details about the call (date, time, caller ID if available, name of caller, questions asked, etc.) and report the call to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or online at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

“Calls made by VCF staff follow a standard protocol for validating the claimant’s identity. Effective immediately, the VCF will never ask you for your full Social Security Number. If you are uncertain whether the caller is from the VCF, please end the call and contact the VCF Helpline at 1-855-885-1555.”

PERALTA: KEEP LEFRAK CITY POLLING SITES: NYS Senator Jose Peralta released the following statement urging the Board of Elections to withdraw its appeal of the court ruling preventing BOE from relocating LeFrak City’s polling sites: “Plain and simple, this is an attack on the more than 6,000 LeFrak City residents. Through their actions, the BOE has shown they are playing political games in order to disenfranchise voters living there. The courts have ruled any poll site relocations at LeFrak are irrational, and I am calling on the Board to withdraw their appeal efforts. I am very supportive of the rally happening at City Hall led by the Black Leadership Action Coalition, the Black Institute, and Bertha Lewis and LeFrak tenants against the BOE appeal.”

CROWLEY APPLAUDS EXPANSION OF VOTING RIGHTS TO PAROLEES: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on Governor Cuomo’s move to expand voting rights to New Yorkers on parole: “One of the most sacred rights in any democracy is the right to vote. And yet, access to the ballot box remains out of reach for far too many New Yorkers who have served their time. Governor Cuomo’s executive order is a historic step forward for both the expansion of voting rights and the movement to reform our criminal justice system.”

MALONEY: INVESTIGATE DRUG CO’S COLLUSION TO RAISE PRICES: Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) sent a letter to Congress Member Erik Paulsen (MN-03), Chair of the Joint Economic Committee on April 19 formally requesting that he hold a hearing on anti-competitive practices in the prescription drug market. The Congresswoman’s request is in reaction to a lawsuit led by 45 state Attorneys General and the Department of Justice against 18 prescription drug manufacturers alleging collusion to artificially inflate drug prices and increase profits.

Maloney pointed out the outrageous costs of prescription drugs that Americans are already paying and asserted that artificial inflation of the prescription drug market violates both consumer rights and the principles of free-market capitalism.

In her letter, Maloney noted that “A recent lawsuit by the Attorneys General of 45 states and the U.S. Department of Justice alleges price-fixing by 18 generic drug manufacturers. It asserts that those companies systematically colluded to drive up prices and profits by forming agreements to divvy up markets and set prices. The plaintiffs name 15 generic drugs, including those for high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease, epilepsy, asthma, glaucoma, fungal infection and other diseases. According to the complaint, ‘these agreements had the effect of artificially maintaining high prices for a large number of generic drugs and creating an atmosphere of competition when in fact no existed.’

“In theory, generic drugs should increase competition and reduce prices. However, an investigation by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings and Senator Bernie Sanders found that between July 2014 and December 2014, the prices for certain generic drugs rose dramatically, in some cases by more than 1,000 percent.

“There is evidence that there also are anticompetitive aspects to the market for brand name prescription drugs. One tactic used by manufacturers of brand name drugs is to pay a potential generic competitor to delay introduction of a generic equivalent. Researchers have found that the prices of competing brand drugs produced by different companies often also rise in lockstep. Ranking Member Cummings, Congressman Peter Welch, and Senator Sanders have raised concerns about this phenomenon in the multiple sclerosis and diabetes drug markets.

“The US Congress Joint Economic Committee…can take advantage of a broader opportunity to study other anti-competitive aspects of our economy, which stifle innovation and increase costs on consumers. When ‘free markets’ aren’t truly free, Americans pay the price.”

FEARLESS GIRL ‘STILL STANDING UP TO BULL’: Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) released the following statement on April 20 in reaction to the news that the “Fearless Girl” statue will be moved to a new location in front of the New York Stock Exchange:

“I’m thrilled that the ‘Fearless Girl’ will have a long-term home in the heart of New York’s financial district,” said Rep. Maloney. “‘The Fearless Girl’ called attention to the severe lack of women sitting on corporate boards. But she connected with so many women and girls because (she) embodies the resiliency that each woman must possess to get ahead.

“While I would have loved for her to remain in her original spot, public safety issues made that untenable. Placing her in front of the New York Stock Exchange will allow her to continue to be a symbol for equality and greater opportunities for women, while still standing up to the bull that too many women have to put up with.”

Maloney has been a supporter of the statue, and her message of equality, since she was placed in front of the “Charging Bull” on March 7, 2017. Maloney has held a number of press conferences, and written letters to Mayor de Blasio and the Department of Transportation, requesting that the statue be given a permanent home.

BRAUNSTEIN ANNOUNCES MOTHER’S DAY ESSAY CONTEST: Assembly Member Edward C. Braunstein has invited students in grades 2-5 to enter his Mother’s Day Essay Contest. Submissions can be any length and should have a Mother’s Day theme, such as a favorite experience, or an essay about why your mother is so special to you. If you would like to participate, print your full name, grade, and school information on your entry and submit your essay by Friday, May 11 to Assembly Member Braunstein’s office at 213-33 39th Ave., Suite 238, Bayside, NY 11361.

You can also submit your essay by email to braunsteine@nyassembly.gov or fax it to 718-357- 5947.

District-wide winners will be chosen in grades 2-5. New York State Assembly Certificates of Merit will be presented to everyone who participates.

For further information on this or any state issue, please contact Braunstein’s office at 718-357- 3588.

“May you and your family have a wonderful Mother’s Day!” Braunstein said.

CROWLEY BLASTS TRUMP, GOP ON TAX DAY: House Democratic Chair Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on Tax Day:

“As families and small businesses file their taxes, the extent of President Trump’s broken promises to the American people is becoming increasingly clear.

“President Trump and congressional Republicans promised to fix our broken tax system, provide relief to hard-working families, and promote job growth. Instead, they passed a tax scam that leaves the hardworking men and women of Queens, the Bronx, and the country behind.

“Each day, we continue to learn more about the true consequences of this tax scam and how it is hurting the financial stability of Americans by giving special corporate interests billions of dollars in tax cuts instead of lifting up the middle-class.

“The American people deserve better. That’s why Democrats have a vision to give hardworking families much-needed tax relief, create well-paying jobs, and expand opportunities for all Americans. This is the better deal we’ve promised the American people and we will continue to fight for it.”

CUOMO WANTS ARMY FUTURES COMMAND IN CITY: “New York has a storied history of working hand in hand with the brave men and women in the military to protect our democracy. To have the honor of being under consideration for the Army’s new four-star Futures Command speaks volumes to our proud military legacy.

“Nowhere else in the world can match the level of resources, talent, and premier research institutions that exist in New York City, providing the perfect foundation for Futures Command to fulfill its mission. And whether it’s photonics in Rochester or drones in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley, New York is already on the frontier of developing new and innovative military technologies.

“As the proud home to several military bases, including the military academy at West Point and Fort Drum, which is the most deployed-from base in America since 9/11, New York would welcome this new command with open arms. This is a natural fit, and I look forward to working with the Department of Defense and the Department of the Army to make it a reality.”

ROZIC HONORS ISRAEL INDEPENDENCE DAY: Ahead of Israel Independence Day, Assembly Member Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) announced a resolution celebrating Israel Independence Day. The resolution to be adopted congratulates the State of Israel on the 70th anniversary of its independence and recognizes advancements made in the face of conflict and oppression. “As the first and only Israeliborn member elected to the State Legislature it is an honor to celebrate this occasion,” said Rozic. “In addition to commemorating Israel’s 70 years of statehood, we are also celebrating the shared interests and trusted relationship between the people of New York and the people of Israel that grows stronger each year.” Israel Independence Day was celebrated this year on April 19. Since its founding in 1948, Israel has rebuilt a nation, established a democracy, and continues to strive for peace with security and dignity for itself and neighbors, Rozic said. “Since its early beginnings 70 years ago, the US has been one of Israel’s closest partners and allies. The strong ties that bond New Yorkers and Israelis can be seen daily through industry and high-tech companies to strong familial connections to communities of faith—Jewish, Muslim and Christian—who all recognize and value the spiritual holiness of Israel,” said Michael Schmidt, AJC NY (American Jewish Committee) Director. “We stand proud in support of all that Israel has accomplished and brought to the world over the past 70 years.” Rozic has led efforts to promote the security of Israel through a series of legislative actions. She joined colleagues in signing onto a resolution condemning the BDS movement and reaffirming Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state. She also sponsored a bill that would keep in place New York State’s existing sanctions against businesses supporting Iranian nuclear and energy sectors.

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