2018-06-06 / Political Page

I On Politics

CROWLEY’S BANGLADESH DISASTER RELIEF AMENDMENT PASSES HOUSE: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to establish a report on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief cooperation between the United States and Bangladesh:

“From devastating cyclones to massive earthquakes, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries for natural disasters. The United States can play a positive role in ensuring that the people of Bangladesh are better prepared and supported if a disaster does strike by strengthening relief cooperation between our two countries. I’m proud that Congress took a significant step forward to better assist the Bangladeshi people and the region by including my amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act,” said Chairman Crowley.

Bangladesh is a heavily populated country prone to recurring natural disasters such as monsoons, landslides, and severe flooding, as well as other severe consequences of climate change. Crowley’s amendment orders the creation of a new strategy for the United States and Bangladesh to work together to address natural and humanitarian crises affecting the Bangladeshi people and the region. Crowley is the founder of the Congressional Caucus on Bangladesh and represents a vibrant Bangladeshi American community.

HOUSE PASSES MENG’S JET NOISE PROVISION: In her continuing efforts to combat aircraft noise over Queens and other impacted communities, Congress Member Grace Meng (D-Queens) announced on May 30 that the House has passed her measure to authorize the Jet Noise Reduction Program, an initiative within the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research.

The program seeks to reduce engine noise of high-performance military aircrafts, and breakthroughs that are made could possibly be applied to commercial jets, which would result in decreased airplane noise over communities such as Queens. In fact, Meng’s provision—which passed as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)— would direct the Secretary of the Navy to share relevant noise reduction discoveries with the civilian aviation community.

“The Jet Noise Reduction Program has the potential to be a critical component in mitigating excessive aircraft noise over communities like Queens,” said Congress Member Meng, a founding member and former co-chair of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus. “That is why it’s important for Congress to authorize this initiative, and I’m pleased that the House has voted to do so. The US military has made many significant breakthroughs over the years that have greatly benefitted our nation. Many of these advancements have been implemented for civilian use and the same can certainly be done for combating airplane noise…I now call for the NDAA to be passed by the Senate with this specific provision included and I’m hopeful that this will happen.”

Those cosponsoring Meng’s provision include Reps. Joe Crowley (D-Queens/ Bronx), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus; Tom Suozzi (D-Queens/LI), Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn/Queens); and Kathleen Rice (D-Nassau County). All are also members of the Quiet Skies Caucus, of which Suozzi is the current co-chair.

“Authorizing the Jet Noise Reduction Program will ensure we can provide relief to the thousands of families living in Queens and the Bronx that are burdened with excessive aircraft noise,” said Congress Member Crowley. “This program is crucial to our efforts to reduce noise pollution in New York City. The US military has always paved the way on technological breakthroughs in aviation, and I’m eager to work with our armed forces as they develop and deploy aircraft technologies that help combat the excessive noise that has plagued our communities.”

Meng originally secured the authorization of the Jet Noise Reduction Program in last year’s House-passed NDAA, but the measure was not included in the version passed by the Senate. She is hopeful that the provision will be in both versions this year.

The NDAA is the annual legislation that establishes funding levels and policies for the US Department of Defense. The bill would take effect at the beginning of fiscal year 2018 which begins on October 1.

DEM LEADERS DEMAND TRUMP ADMINISTRATION STOP SEPARATING FAMILIES: House Democratic leaders sent a letter on June 1 to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and US Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions demanding that the Trump administration immediately cease its policy of separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

Led by Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the letter was co-signed by Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Linda Sánchez.

“Americans across the nation are horrified by actions undertaken to separate and therefore punish children seeking safety and refuge in the United States. This practice is antithetical not only to American values but to basic decency and humanity,” the lawmakers wrote. “It’s no secret why many seeking refuge are coming from countries in Central America—many nations in the region are undergoing significant challenges and problems with violence, corruption, and threats by dangerous gangs. We should be doing more to address the root causes of these problems so that people don’t feel compelled to flee in the first place.”

President Trump’s administration has repeatedly said its policy of separating minor children from families was designed to create a punishing disincentive for other individuals from seeking refuge in the United States. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said as much in early May, when he stated that taking children would be “a tough deterrent.”

This cruel practice has led to hundreds of minor children being separated from their families and housed in military warehouses or relegated to foster care. In only one recent example, ICE agents ripped an 18-month-old toddler away from his mother who fled to the United States seeking asylum.

“Harming children—and separating children from their families is harmful— should not be used to deter others from seeking safety, nor should our institutions be the source of further hardship given the situation that these innocent children are fleeing,” wrote the lawmakers. “That is hardly how the United States should treat children—unnecessarily inflicting trauma. And it is a testament to the dire situation in Central America that these young people continue to arrive in spite of the supposed ‘deterrents’ the department has employed.”

GIANARIS: INCREASE PENALTY FOR RECKLESS DRIVING: NYS Senator Michael Gianaris expressed shock at the sudden death of a cyclist following yet another traffic accident involving a suspended driver. The crash occurred on May 29, in Long Island City. “While we are still learning the details of this horrific crash, we know that not enough is being done to deliver justice to the victims of traffic crashes,” said Senator Gianaris. “Dangerous, suspended drivers pose a threat to public safety due to laws that do not treat these offenses seriously enough. If this driver’s suspension was due to reckless driving, we face another preventable tragedy. We must be serious about strengthening our laws to keep these menaces off the roads.” Around 3 pm Tuesday, a cyclist, identified as Aaron Padwee, 45, was traveling on 21st Street at 46th Avenue when he was knocked off his bike by a parked driver who carelessly swung their door open, and into traffic. He was then hit by a box truck driven by Agustin Osorio, 32, and later died of his injuries. Osorio was arrested by the New York Police Department and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle in the third degree—a misdemeanor—for allegedly driving his vehicle without a valid license. Senator Gianaris introduced legislation that would increase the penalty to a class E felony for seriously injuring a person and a class D felony if the accident resulted in a death, with a maximum penalty of seven years in prison. Currently, the most severe penalty a district attorney can seek in such instances is a misdemeanor. Convicted drivers are rarely sentenced to any jail time at all and they are free to commit additional offenses. Over the last few years, there have been numerous deaths at the hands of reckless drivers in western Queens alone. Senator Gianaris’ legislation unanimously passed the New York State Senate in April and is awaiting action in the Assembly.

CONGRESSMAN CROWLEY’S ENDORSEMENTS: Congress Member Joe Crowley, Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, represents New York’s 14th Congressional District, which includes portions of Queens and the Bronx. He has previously been endorsed by more than two dozen labor organizations; women rights groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund; and Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congress Member Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, among many others, including most recently:

Immigrant, Human Rights Organizations: Congress Member Crowley received endorsements on May 29 from organizations fighting to protect immigrants and the rights of minorities and other individuals living in our communities.

Javier H. Valdés, co-Executive Director, Make the Road Action, said: “Joe Crowley has stood side-by-side with immigrant communities to win broad immigration reform with a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people. We are proud to endorse him for re-election to the US House of Representatives.”

“We’re proud to endorse his reelection to Congress and look forward to having an ally in Congress for our fight for justice and equality for all—whether at the US-Mexico border or at those which surround and suffocate Gaza,” said Tahanie Aboushi, President, Muslim Democratic Club of New York (MDCNY).

“As the current administration continues its relentless attacks against our immigrant communities, it is more important than ever to unite behind committed leaders like Joseph Crowley. Through his work in Congress, Rep. Crowley has proven to be the type of advocate we need—one who listens to the people he represents. He is a supporter of DREAMers, TPS recipients, and keeping families together,” said Steven Choi, Executive Director of Immigrant Action.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Congress Member Crowley was endorsed on May 31 by Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Joe Crowley is a progressive leader we need in Congress fighting for New York. Our city is under attack from a Trump administration bent on dividing our communities, weakening our security, and governing against our values. I know Joe will always stand tall against that threat,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I strongly endorse his reelection and I’m confident that families from Queens to the Bronx will too!”

Public Advocate Letitia James: Congress Member Crowley was endorsed by Public Advocate Letitia James on May 30: “Joe Crowley is the voice we need to stand up against President Trump’s hateful agenda in Washington. Now more than ever, New Yorkers need Joe fighting for them, which is why I’m proud to endorse his reelection campaign. There is no one who will work harder to protect Queens and Bronx families,” said Public Advocate James.

MALONEY, ADVOCATES LAUNCH GUN VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH: On May 31, Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) joined with members of the Gun Violence Awareness Month task force, LIFE Camp Inc., New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action, Gays Against Guns, and other activist groups to kick off the 5th Annual Gun Violence Awareness Month. In 2013, New York State made history by becoming the first state in the nation to designate an entire month to the issue of gun violence.

“We have had enough of the bloodshed, tragedy, and senseless violence that is plaguing our nation,” said Congress Member Maloney. “We lose 13,000 people a year from gun violence with tens of thousands more injured by guns. Putting a stop to gun violence should not be a partisan issue. It is a life or death issue. We need Congress to act and pass common sense gun legislation.”

Too many Americans are gunned down in cities and towns every day and mass shootings like those at Parkland, Sandy Hook, Pulse nightclub, Charleston, Las Vegas, and Sutherland Springs are all too common. These horrifying incidents serve as reminders that Congress needs to fight for common sense policies to make Americans safer, Maloney noted.

Maloney has long supported sensible gun safety reforms, starting with support for the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993, which requires background checks for most handgun purchases and the 1994 assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

More recently Maloney has pushed several key bills to crack down on gun violence. Her proposals would make gun trafficking a felony, allow and fund federal public health agencies to conduct research into gun safety, close the gun show loophole, support innovative “smart gun” technology, enable the ATF and FBI to conduct necessary efficacy reviews of our background check system, and reinstate an Obama-era rule to keep guns out of the hands of those incapable of handling their own personal affairs. She has also cosponsored legislation to require universal background checks, limit the number of rounds in magazine clips, and renew the expired assault weapons ban.

CROWLEY HAILS LEFRAK CITY POLLING SITE VICTORY: Congress Member Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) issued the following statement on May 31 after LeFrak City signed a five-year lease to keep the community’s polling sites within the apartment complex:

“LeFrak City residents, and all of us fighting to expand access to the ballot box, won an important victory today. These polling sites should never have been at risk and I’m glad these Queens residents will be able to participate in our Democratic system easily and unobstructed,” said Congressman Crowley, Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

Crowley has been working alongside the LeFrak City Tenants’ Association and residents since last summer to advocate for the polling sites to be maintained. In August, Crowley publicly called on the Queens Board of Elections to work with the LeFrak community to ensure their access to the polls was not unnecessarily impeded. Earlier this year, Crowley demanded the board immediately drop their misguided effort to move the long-time polling sites to alternate locations in Queens.

“I stand with my constituents and their right to vote,” said Crowley. “Maintaining the polling sites sends a strong message to LeFrak City residents, and to the entire city, that their voices matter and their right to vote is paramount.”

CROWLEY STANDS WITH LGBTQ COMMUNITY: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) issued the following statement on LGBTQ Pride Month on June 1: “This Pride Month, we celebrate the strength and resilience of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. While we have made incredible progress in the march toward equality, we still have a long way to go to ensure the full rights of LGBTQ Americans, especially for communities of color. As the Trump administration and congressional Republicans continue their shameful attacks on LGBTQ rights, we must continue to raise our voices, fight injustice, and push forward.

”To all those celebrating pride in Queens, the Bronx, and across the nation, know that I will continue to stand with you as we work to create a more just and inclusive country.”

CROWLEY: ‘WE ARE A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS’: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx) released the following statement on June 1 in commemoration of Immigrant Heritage Month, which is celebrated annually during the month of June: ”During Immigrant Heritage Month, we join together to celebrate our rich history as a nation of immigrants, as well as pay tribute to the contributions immigrant communities have made to the United States.

“But as we celebrate our heritage, we must also acknowledge the many challenges immigrants face in our country. President Trump’s administration continues to demonize immigrants and promote an anti-immigrant agenda. In Congress, Republican leaders are refusing to bring forward the DREAM Act, despite bipartisan support for providing security to these young men and women who call America home. And at the border, even families seeking asylum are being torn apart.

“As the son and grandson of immigrants, I know how crucial it is to protect and live up to our country’s proud tradition of welcoming immigrants. As we celebrate Immigrant Heritage Month, let us reaffirm our commitment to upholding our nation’s values and working to make our immigration system more just and fair to those in pursuit of a better life in America.”

—With contributions by Annette Hanze Alberts

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