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chris collins

July 14, 2017 - 5:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today proudly voted in support of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY18.

“Today’s strong bipartisan effort provides our servicemen and women with the resources and funding they need to defend our nation here at home and abroad,” Congressman Collins said.

“The NDAA for fiscal year 2018 will enhance our missile defense research efforts, rebuild our military, and deliver a well-deserved pay raise for military members and their families. This bill ensures we’re taking care of our armed forces and also sends a strong message to the world — we’ll do whatever is necessary to keep America safe.”

The NDAA for FY18 funds a number of the national defense priorities outlined in President Trump’s FY18 Budget request, including:

  • Authorizes $621.5 billion for base national defense spending;
  • Increases missile defense funding by $2.5 billion;
  • Provides a 2.4-percent pay increase for military members;
  • Includes an additional $10 billion in Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding;
  • Answers the Army, Air Force, and Navy’s request for thousands of additional personnel;
  • Ends the defense sequester.

For more information on H.R. 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act of FY18, click here.

June 28, 2017 - 1:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in City Fire, batavia, news, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced $236,072 in federal funding for the City of Batavia Fire Department. The grant was awarded through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, which is designed to help first responders improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.

“The AFG program helps community fire departments access federal funding to protect their members and keep the communities they serve safe,” Congressman Chris Collins said. “This is an excellent and prudent use of federal money and it provides a tremendous service to communities here in New York’s 27th Congressional District.

"I was proud to work with the City of Batavia Fire Department to secure this $236,072 in AFG funding and thank them for the selfless service they provide.”

The City of Batavia Fire Department will use this $236,072 federal grant to purchase 25 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) air packs. This will provide the City of Batavia Fire Department with breathable air when responding to an emergency situation.

“This important grant funding will help us purchase equipment that will keep our firefighters safe and allow them to better protect the City of Batavia and surrounding communities,” said Stefano Napolitano, chief of the City of Batavia Fire Department.

“We appreciate Congressman Collins efforts on behalf of our local first responders and look forward to continuing to work with him to secure important grant funding for our department in the future.”

The AFG Grant Program provides direct funding assistance to fire departments, State Fire Training Academies, and non-affiliated EMS organizations to enhance their response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of both the public and emergency response personnel with respect to fire and all other hazards.

June 28, 2017 - 1:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, agriculture, business.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins and local Farm Bureau presidents applauded the Trump Administration’s decision to either rescind or revise the Waters of The United States (WOTUS) rule imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Obama administration.

“This rule was an example of reckless government overreach, that brought undue burdens to farmers in Western New York,” Collins said. “I was proud to lead the bipartisan effort in Congress to scrap the WOTUS rule and applaud President Trump and Administrator Pruitt for taking this common sense step to support our nation’s agriculture industry.”

Both Congressman Collins and Farm Bureaus located within New York’s 27th Congressional District have been vocal in their opposition to the WOTUS rule. In May 2014, Congressman Collins led a bipartisan letter signed by more than 200 members of Congress to former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Department of the Army Secretary John McHugh outlining concerns related to this rule. Congressman Collins believed the WOTUS rule was “built on incomplete scientific study and a flawed economic analysis” and formally requested the rule be returned to their respective agencies.

“Farmers are simply trying to provide for their family, community, and the nation, so it is unfortunate the federal government imposed this type of rule in the first place,” said Jeffrey Simons, president of the Erie County Farm Bureau. “Plain and simple, more federal regulations will make it harder for farmers to do their job. Today’s decision is a tremendous victory for Niagara County farmers, and I want to thank Congressman Collins for fighting on our behalf since the beginning.”

“The WOTUS rule was an overreach since it was first proposed and we’ve seen the negative impact it has had and would continue to have on our local agriculture industry,” said Christian Yunker, president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau. “In the end, common sense prevailed and everyone’s hard work has paid off. I appreciate all of Congressman Collins efforts—this is fantastic news for all of agriculture, not just here in Genesee County.”

“Today’s announcement is great news for Ontario County agriculture and will help to protect the future of our region’s family farms,” said Lisa Grefrath, president of the Ontario County Farm Bureau. “We commend Congressman Collins for his efforts to repeal this burdensome mandate and look forward to continuing to work with him on the issues impacting local family farms.”

“For the last three years, we have worked with Congressman Collins to end this unfair federal overreach and protect local farms. Today’s announcement is exciting news for local farm families,” said Joe Swyers, president of the Livingston County Farm Bureau. “We will continue to work with Rep. Collins regarding protecting the future of family farms in Livingston County and appreciate his efforts to end WOTUS. No one cares about more about our environment than local farmers that make their living on our land and we will continue to be the best stewards possible.”

“Today’s announcement is a win for New York’s agricultural community. Wyoming County is a top agricultural producer in New York State and the repeal of WOTUS will help ensure the future of farming in Western New York,” said Jeremy Northup, president of the Wyoming County Farm Bureau. “We commend Congressman Collins for his aggressive efforts to repeal WOTUS and will continue to work with him on the issues important to Wyoming County family farms.”

“When the WOTUS rule was first proposed, we knew this was a blatant overreach by the EPA,” said Jim Bittner, president of the Niagara County Farm Bureau. “This rule would have had negative effects on practically every piece of farmland here in Niagara County. Congressman Collins understood this from the beginning, because requiring farmers to get either the EPA or Army Corps’ approval before farming would have been a nightmare. We’re very glad to hear this rule will be rescinded."

June 24, 2017 - 2:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in healthcare, Medicaid, chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today hailed the inclusion of his amendment to the House passed American Health Care Act into the Senate version of the bill. The amendment, introduced with Congressman John Faso (NY-19), would require New York State to take over the county portion of Medicaid by 2020 and would provide the largest property tax reduction ever to Western New York.
 
“This was a long fought battle against the injustice in Albany and is a big victory for taxpayers,” Congressman Collins said.
 
Federal law now permits states to share some of their costs with local governments, but New York is the only state that has imposed this level of burden on property taxpayers. Counties currently have no say in how local revenues are spent on Medicaid; they’re simply required to foot part of Albany’s bill. Local state leaders agreed that the inclusion of the amendment is important and welcome news for Western New York residents.
 
"Mandate relief has been talked about in Albany for as long as anyone can remember - it certainly wasn't new when I was talking about it as mayor. It's not a headline-grabbing or attractive issue, so meaningful proposals on mandate relief are generally swept aside. But I can tell you that it's real. It's real for the local governments who deal with tight budgets and it's real for taxpayers who pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. I applaud Congressman Collins for bringing this issue to the forefront. Ideally, this would have been a serious discussion at the state level, but having failed that, I'm pleased that we could possibly address the crippling burden placed on our local governments as part of larger, federal health care discussions,” said State Senator Ortt.
 
“As a long-time supporter of curbing the costs of Medicaid, which would take a heavy burden off of local governments, I am proud to support Congressman Collins’ amendment. The impact on my assembly district and local taxpayers will be tremendous with estimated tax reductions of 49 percent in Orleans County and 35 percent in Genesee County. It is clear that New York’s outrageous Medicaid spending is one of the driving forces behind property and school tax increases and it is time for government to take that burden off our residents’ backs,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley.
 
"Western New Yorkers pay some of the highest property taxes in the state. Rep. Collins' amendment fixes this problem and protects upstate taxpayers from Albany’s unfunded mandates. Removing the unfunded county Medicaid mandate is key to reducing local property taxes and growing our economy,” said Assemblyman Ray Walter. 
 
"This amendment is a blessing for upstate families, small businesses, and farms that’ve been crushed by the high taxes and unfunded mandates coming from Albany. The inclusion of this amendment is a win for our towns and villages and I appreciate Rep. Collins efforts to stand up for our taxpayers,” said Assemblyman Joseph Errigo.   
 
"I'm pleased that the Senate has included Rep. Collins's amendment in the healthcare reform bill. This promises real relief for property taxpayers in communities like Niagara County, and holds state government accountable to fund their mandates instead of passing on costs to the local level. Americans deserve access to the best healthcare possible, but it shouldn't fall to just homeowners to fund the system,” said Niagara County Legislature Chairman Wm. Keith McNall.
 
"Congressman Collins' Medicaid proposal will provide historic “real” property tax relief for hardworking local taxpayers. Currently over 30 perfect of the Ontario County property tax levy currently goes towards paying for New York's unfunded Medicaid mandate. I look forward to working with Rep. Collins and the members of the Board of Supervisors as we continue our efforts to reduce the burden on hardworking taxpayers in our community," said Jack Marren, Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors. 
 
"This is an important step forward in our fight to reduce unfunded mandates and protect local taxpayers. This measure will reduce local property taxes and help ensure that our seniors can afford to stay in their homes," said Bob Green, Vice Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors.
 
“We as a board supported a resolution in support of this measure because protecting property taxpayers is one of our prime concerns. This legislation will reduce an unfunded state mandate and help us deliver real tax relief to local homeowners,” said Eric Gott, Chairman, Livingston County Board of Supervisors.  
 
“We appreciate Rep. Collins efforts to relieve the counties of this extraordinary unfunded mandate. This will be a tremendous relief to local county property taxpayers and will allow us to invest in our infrastructure and other county services,” said Raymond Cianfrini, Chairman, Genesee County Legislature.  
 
“For years counties in New York have decried the use of property taxes to fund New York State’s expansive Medicaid program. We are optimistic that changes at the federal level can result in real, substantive, positive changes to the bottom line for county property taxpayers,” said David B. Callard, Chairman, Orleans County Legislature.
 
The Senate is expected to vote next week on their version of the Obamacare repeal bill.
June 14, 2017 - 1:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement in response to today’s shooting in Alexandria, Va.:

“Today’s attack on Whip Steve Scalise, Members of Congress, the Capitol Police, and congressional aides is absolutely devastating. For those injured, we all send our prayers for a speedy recovery. If it weren’t for the brave men and women of the Capitol Police, this attack would have resulted in an even greater tragedy and I, along with my colleagues, are thankful for their service.

“While it is apparent that the shooter was a zealot with an intention to cause harm, it is important that we all be cognizant that our words have strong meaning. It’s time for all of us, including myself, to tone down our rhetoric and recognize that we are all of one country and all proud Americans.”

June 7, 2017 - 7:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, healthcare.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today reacted to news of anticipated steep increases in the price of BlueCross BlueShield plans available to New Yorker’s through the New York State Insurance marketplace.

“Not only has Obamacare been a failure for most of America, it is now failing the people of Western New York by making basic healthcare completely unaffordable and inaccessible,” said Congressman Collins.  “I am absolutely appalled a BlueCross BlueShield plan in Western New York would increase by almost fifty percent in the marketplace.”

BlueCross BlueShield pointed to the failed Obamacare policies that have cost insurance companies millions of dollars, driving up costs for Americans.  Regulations put in place under Obamacare have made the insurance marketplace less competitive, thus increasing costs for consumers.

While President Obama promised that premiums under his plan would decrease during these last few years, a May 23, 2017 report from the Department of Health and Human Services showed that Obamacare increased premiums across the country by 105% between 2013 and 2017.

“Obamacare’s chief cheerleader in our state, Governor Andrew Cuomo, owes our community an apology,” added Congressman Collins.  “Cuomo is part and parcel to Obama’s promises that ‘you can keep your plan’ and premiums will be lower.  Those have turned out to be lies.”

Collins said there was help on the way.  The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which passed the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017, repeals and replaces Obamacare and removes more than $800 billion in onerous taxes and fees that have been stifling the economy and eliminating job growth.

“I am working with my colleagues in Congress to implement policies that allow the people of Western New York the opportunity to make their own choice when it comes to healthcare and provide lower premiums.  Americans deserve to be able to pick which plan works best for their family, and I’m urging the senate to take up the American Health Care Act so we can get ourselves out of this mess.”

The American Health Care Act:

·         Eliminates the individual and employer mandate, which forced millions of workers, families, and job creators into government mandated plans that did not work for their needs.

·         For Western New Yorkers, the bill also includes the largest property tax reduction ever to be enacted. The legislation includes an amendment Congressman Collins introduced that would bar federal reimbursements for New York State Medicaid funds raised from local governments.

·         Guarantees protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions by prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, banning insurers from rescinding coverage based on a pre-existing condition, and preventing insurers from raising premiums on individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage. Additionally, New York state law fully protects individuals with pre-existing conditions.

·         Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid by implementing a “per capita allotment” which provides more flexibility for states and results in the largest entitlement reform in decades.

·         Provides Americans access to affordable care that works for their needs by delivering monthly tax credits of $2,000-$14,000 a year, which individuals and families can use to purchase private insurance of their choice.

·         A provision within the American Health Care Act (AHCA), The Patient and State Stability Fund, would provide solutions to help lower costs and repair insurance markets damaged by Obamacare. CBO estimates this would significantly reduce premiums in the nongroup market and encourage participation by insurers.

The American Health Care Act is with the Senate where it will need to be approved before heading to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

 

May 23, 2017 - 7:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

The Turn 27 Blue coalition is pleased to report that the coalition's process for identifying and assisting candidates who would like to run for Congress in 2018 against Chris Collins in New York's 27th district is exceeding expectations -- 10 candidates so far have submitted cover letters describing their intentions and resumes; it is anticipated more candidates will follow.

Democratic county chairs in the district along with several grassroots leaders held a meeting with seven of those candidates last Thursday in Batavia; a second session will be offered for candidates who were unable able to attend the first meeting. Each prospective nominee gave a brief presentation and answered questions from members of the coalition.

"This was a really exciting event for us," said Judith Hunter, Livingston County Democratic chair and Turn 27 Blue coordinator. "We heard from several people who weren't just plausible candidates but plausible members of Congress.

"Every single one of them was motivated by the desire to serve the district and its constituents, rather than by a desire to promote themselves or a party or an ideology."

"What a refreshing contrast to Representative Chris Collins, who is too busy running to cable televisions studios, fending off an ethics investigation for insider trading, and fundraising from pharmaceutical industry lobbyists to be bothered with actually meeting with his constituents to hear their concerns," said Michelle Johnston Schoeneman of Citizens Against Collins. "These candidates who met with us truly seemed to aspire to the ideal of public service."

Jeremy Zellner, Erie County Democratic chair, noted, "We're laying the groundwork here for success in November of 2018. Each of these prospective nominees has his or her own timeline for announcing, so we're going to respect that and keep their names confidential at this point. But they're serious people who are putting in the work, and we want to help them however we can." 

In addition to the ongoing advice the leaders are providing, they have also set up a NY-27 2018 nominee fund on ActBlue.com as a vehicle for those want to contribute today to defeating Chris Collins next year.

"There's just so much energy out there right now to accomplish this, and we're making sure ordinary voters in the district can do something constructive right now," said Cynthia Appleton, the Wyoming County Democratic chair.

Although the Turn 27 Blue leaders want to emphasize that they are open to hearing from more possible candidates, they would like to stress that getting started as soon as possible increases a campaign's chance of ultimate success. Those who are interested should email a cover letter and resume to Judith Hunter at [email protected].

Judith Hunter, Livingston County Democratic chair
Jeremy Zellner, Erie County Democratic chair
Nick Forster, Niagara County Democratic chair
Jeanne Crane, Orleans County Democratic chair
Michael Plitt, Genesee County Democratic chair
Cynthia Appleton, Wyoming County Democratic chair
Jamie Romeo, Monroe County Democratic chair
John Hurley, Ontario County Democratic chair
Michelle Johnston Shoeneman, Citizens Against Collins
Amber Hainey, GLOW Progressives
Dan Beagley, Indivisible NY 27
Tom White, Sister District of Western New York

May 17, 2017 - 3:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement to recognize National Police Week and to highlight his intention to vote in favor of six legislative items throughout the week in support of U.S. law enforcement.

The legislative items will include the Thin Blue Line Act (H.R. 115), the Honoring Hometown Heroes Act (H.R. 1892), the American Law Enforcement Heroes Act (H.R. 1428), the Probation Officer Protection Act (H.R. 1039), the Rapid DNA Act of 2017 (H.R. 510), and the Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act (H.R. 1616).

“National Police Week is an opportunity for our country to come together to honor our men and women in blue for the service they provide to our communities,” Congressman Collins said. “On behalf of the towns, cities, and villages throughout New York’s 27th Congressional District, I want to thank our law enforcement officers for consistently putting their lives on the line to keep us safe.”

In 1962, President John F. Kennedy declared May 15th as Peace Officers’ Memorial Day. This week, the United States will honor our courageous law enforcement officers during National Police Week. Every year since 1982, members of the U.S. law enforcement community, their families and friends have gathered on Peace Officer’s Memorial Day in Washington, D.C., to mourn the fallen and remember their heroic acts.

“Our first responders are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to uphold law and order within the communities they serve, but too often their heroic acts are repaid with undue criticism,” Congressman Collins said. “They deserve the full support of the federal government. I am confident the six pieces of legislation that will be voted on this week will provide U.S. law enforcement with the federal resources and support they need to continue keeping us safe.”

Thin Blue Line Act (H.R. 115)

  • Makes killing, or attempting to kill, a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or other first responder, an aggravating factor in death penalty determinations.

Honoring Hometown Heroes Act (H.R. 1892)

  • Authorizes the governor of a state to proclaim the American flag be flown at half-staff to honor a first responder who died in the line of duty.

American Law Enforcement Heroes Act of 2017 (H.R. 1428)

  • Authorizes COPS grantees to prioritize funds to hire veterans as law enforcement officers.

Probation Officer Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 1039)

  • Authorizes probation officers to arrest a person if there is probable cause to believe the person forcibly assaulted or obstructed a probation officer while they were conducting official duties.

Rapid DNA Act of 2017 (H.R. 510)

  • Establishes a system for integration of Rapid DNA instruments for use by law enforcement to combat violent crime and reduce the current DNA analysis backlog.

Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act of 2017 (H.R. 1616)

  • Authorizes the National Computer Forensics Institute to disseminate homeland security information related to the investigation and prevention of cyber and electronic crime and related threats, and educate, train, and equip state, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers, prosecutors and judges.
May 5, 2017 - 6:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Health Care.

Yesterday, Rep. Chris Collins was quick to tout his support for legislation to change the nation's health care laws, but today, Collins was among a handful of Republican congressmen under fire after admitting they didn't read all of the language of the legislation before the rollcall vote.

"I will fully admit, Wolf, I did not," Collins told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "But I can also assure you my staff did. We have to rely on our staff."  

According to CNN, Collins said he had several meetings with staff to discuss the plan, known as the "repeal and replace" answer to the Affordable Care Act that could change health insurance coverage for millions of Americans. He said he is "very comfortable that we have a solution to the disaster called 'Obamacare.' "

Collins reportedly went on to say, "You know, I have to rely on my staff, and I could probably tell you that I read every word, and I wouldn't be telling you the truth, nor would any other member. We rely on our staff, and we rely on our committees, and I'm comfortable that I understand this bill in its entirety, Wolf, without poring through every word."

Thousands of residents of the 27th Congressional District receive subsidized health insurance under the ACA, including more than 5,000 in Genesee County.

The legislation passed by the House yesterday, known as the American Health Care Act, would replace the subsidies, currently paid directly to health insurance companies, with tax credits that some critics say will not provide the same level of financial assistance for ever-more-expensive health insurance.

Jerry Zremski, bureau chief for the Buffalo News, picked up on the remarks by Collins and asked him about one specific provision of the bill, an amendment that would cost the State of New York $3 billion by ending a provision called "The Essential Plan," an optional program under the ACA offered only to New York and Minnesota. It provides low-cost health insurance to low- and middle-income residents who don't qualify for Medicaid. 

According to Zremski's report, Collins was unaware of the bill's elimination of the funding. He quotes Collins as saying, "No. But it doesn't surprise me for you to tell me that there were two states in the nation that were taking advantage of some other waiver program and New York was one of the two states."

Collins was traveling today and couldn't be reached for comment, but his local staff provided the following statement drafted by Micheal McAdams, press secretary in the D.C. office of the congressman:

“Once again the Buffalo News is twisting a Republican’s words to fit its out of touch, liberal narrative. Congressman Collins has been intimately involved in the creation of this legislation from its inception. Over the past four years, he has participated in hundreds of hours of health care hearings, spent many hours marking up this legislation including a 26 hour mark-up in March, and spent hundreds of hours hearing from countless organizations that have a stake in the the health care debate. As a member of the Health Subcommittee, he participated in writing the text of the American Health Care Act.

“Just like Congressman Elijah Cummings who also said he didn’t read every word of this legislation, Congressman Collins has a complete understanding of this bill. He understands the impact it would have on Western New Yorkers. To infer Congressman Collins doesn’t understand the disastrous impact Obamacare has had on our region and our nation is absolutely shameful. The bottom line is the American Health Care Act provides the health care solutions Western New Yorkers need to increase choice and lower costs, as well as providing real property tax relief to every taxpayer in his district. 

"Congressman Collins is proud to have played a substantial role in the legislation’s creation and passage.”

The dustup over reading the bill is just the latest bit of negative publicity Collins has gotten from the national media. He's also been scrutinized for a financial investment that gives the appearance of an overlap with his legislative activity.

From The Daily Beast:

The Republican congressman purchased $2.2 million worth of stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics as part of its initial public offering in late 2013, according to a previously unreported document Collins filed with Australia’s securities authority. The IPO prospectus said Innate would seek FDA approval of its drug to treat multiple sclerosis. More than a year later, Collins wrote into a bill language to expedite the FDA’s approval process for such drugs. Four months before the bill was signed into law, Collins again purchased stock in Innate, this time as much as $1 million, according to congressional financial disclosure records.

According to the story, Collins, who owns $22 million of the stock, has been criticized by ethics experts for the transactions.

We also sought comments from Collins on the controversy and received the following statement drafted by McAdams:

“Despite the continued partisan attacks insinuating otherwise, Congressman Collins has followed all ethical guidelines related to his personal finances during his time in the House and will continue to do so.
 
“Congressman Collins’ relationship with Innate Immunotherapeutics dates back more than 15 years. Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis is one of the most debilitating diseases in the world and Congressman Collins saw its deadly impact first hand as it affected a close family member. As of now, it has no cure and no relief of symptoms. He is very proud of the progress the company has made over the years and hopeful it will develop a potentially life-saving treatment for the millions of individuals suffering from Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.”

May 4, 2017 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, healthcare, news.

Press release:

U.S. Representative Chris Collins (NY-27) today voted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the American Health Care Act, which will improve access, reduce costs, and provide Americans with the health care system they deserve.

“This puts us even closer to ending the Obamacare nightmare that has plagued Americans for the last seven years,” Congressman Collins said. “The legislation passed today increases competition and gives people the power to make their own choices with their own health care. The American Health Care Act is a drastic improvement over the failing health care system Obamacare has left us with.”

For Western New Yorkers, the bill also includes the largest property tax reduction ever to be enacted. The legislation includes an amendment Congressman Collins introduced that would bar federal reimbursements for New York State Medicaid funds raised from local governments.

“My commonsense proposal will fix the finances of counties across New York for decades to come and most importantly keep money in the pockets of hardworking Western New Yorkers,” Congressman Collins said. “This puts a stop to this massive unfunded mandate coming out of Albany once and for all.”

For residents in New York’s 27th Congressional District, it would result in more than $470 million in property tax savings. The proposal would only apply to the $2.3 billion being raised from counties outside of New York City to pay for the state’s Medicaid share. New York State currently raises $7 billion from its local governments to fund its $27 billion Medicaid liability, which is the largest such mandate in the nation.

Beyond the property tax savings for New Yorkers, the legislation improves access and affordability, and removes more than $800 billion in onerous taxes and fees that have been stifling the economy and eliminating job growth.

Congressman Collins indicated these improvements are absolutely necessary because the current health care system has completely failed. In 2017, 33 percent of counties nationwide only have one insurer on their exchange, and many counties are being left without any insurance providers.

He also noted that Obamacare has unsustainably raised insurance premiums by nearly 40 percent in the last three years. Recently, thousands of New Yorkers experienced the pain of Obamacare when they were kicked off their insurance plans because their provider, Health Republic, collapsed.

The American Health Care Act:

  • Eliminates the individual and employer mandate, which forced millions of workers, families, and job creators into government-mandated plans that did not work for their needs;
  • Guarantees protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions by prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, banning insurers from rescinding coverage based on a pre-existing condition, and preventing insurers from raising premiums on individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage. Additionally, New York state law fully protects individuals with pre-existing conditions;
  • Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid by implementing a “per capita allotment,” which provides more flexibility for states and results in the largest entitlement reform in decades;
  • Provides Americans access to affordable care that works for their needs by delivering monthly tax credits of $2,000-$14,000 a year, which individuals and families can use to purchase private insurance of their choice.

The American Health Care Act now heads to the Senate where it will need to be approved before heading to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

May 3, 2017 - 11:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins has received the “Award for Conservative Achievement” from the American Conservative Union Foundation. Congressman Collins was given the highest rating of any member in the New York Delegation for the 114th Congress.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the American Conservative Union Foundation,” Congressman Collins said. “When I first ran for Congress I promised to bring a commonsense, conservative voice to Washington, and this award is recognition of my commitment to those principles. I share the ACUF’s philosophy of smaller government and personal responsibility and will continue to support policies that achieve that vision.”

“The 2016 ACUF Award for Conservative Achievement is given to those Members of Congress who receive an 80 percent or above score in our annual ACU Ratings,” said ACUF Chairman Matt Schlapp. “We applaud Congressman Collins for his continued support of conservative values, and working to achieve commonsense conservative solutions for the people of New York.”

The “Award for Conservative Achievement” is based on 25 key votes that demonstrate an adherence to conservative principles. More information on the award is available here.

May 2, 2017 - 10:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, batavia, news.

Press release:

U.S. Representatives Chris Collins (NY-27) and Eric Swalwell (CA-15) kicked off Small Business Week today by reintroducing the Main Street Revival Act of 2017. This legislation will expedite local small business development in underserved areas.

“For America to achieve a high rate of economic growth, government must do a better job creating an atmosphere for small businesses to thrive,” Congressman Collins said. “Small businesses are the engines that drive our economy, and here in Western New York we must do everything we can to ensure they have the tools to succeed. I am glad to partner with my colleague, Congressman Swalwell, as we work to generate tangible economic development and job growth in our communities.”

“Small businesses are at the heart of our communities and economy – we must do what we can to help them grow and succeed,” Congressman Swalwell said. “The Main Street Revival Act helps new small business owners build a strong foundation for future success. Encouraging entrepreneurship nationwide, especially in struggling areas, will help create an economy that can work for everyone, everywhere.”

The Main Street Revival Act allows qualifying small businesses to elect to defer paying payroll taxes during their first year in operation. The deferred taxes would then be paid in installments over the subsequent four years. The option is limited to businesses expecting to hire no more than 25 people in their first year, and that are located in Historically Underutilized Business Zones, known as HUBZones.

The areas in NY-27 that would be eligible for this benefit include: Tonawanda Reservation, along with portions of Batavia, Lockport, Medina, and York. The HUBZone map can be seen here.

Full text of the legislation can be read here.

April 22, 2017 - 11:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, town hall, alexander, news.

ny27townhallapril212017.jpg

The event last night was billed as a "town hall," a chance for all constituents in New York's 27th Congressional District to come to the Alexander Fire Hall and voice their issues, raise their concerns and ask questions of Rep. Chris Collins.

If Collins bothered to show up.

Of course, he didn't.

In his place on the dais was an empty chair.

If he had filled that chair, he would have found himself on a panel of people billed as experts in various topic areas who, rather than represent the range of political ideology in the 27th District, seemed to largely hold liberal and progressive viewpoints.

The more than 400 people who attended were all given 8 1/2 x 11 colored pieces of paper -- raise green when you agreed with a speaker's point and red when you disagreed. Rather than showcase a diversity of opinions, green cards tended to go up in unison for points favored by the audience and red cards raised altogether when audience members wished to jeer a negative point made about Collins or the current presidential administration.

This, though Michelle Schoeneman in her opening remarks, suggested the audience might represent a range of political views and party affiliations.

"Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, whether you are conservative or liberal, whether you voted for Collins or not, you are all here because you care enough about democracy to take time out of your busy lives to make your voices heard," Schoeneman said.

The town hall took on the feel of a partisan political rally when Schoeneman concluded her remarks and said Collins might have a rough go of it in the next election.

"Mr. Collins, if you’re watching this right now, I’m here to tell you that this is your last term," Schoeneman said. "Come 2018, we will have a new representative. It may be a Republican. It may be a Democrat, but it will not be you. We will vote into office a person who does not consider it unreasonable to want to talk with you. We will listen and weigh every decision that is made."

That was the loudest applause line of her opening remarks and the room was filled with green cards held high.

The expert panel included a 22-year-old organic farmer from East Aurora who runs a 24-member CSA (Community Supported Agriculture group) and an educator who runs I Am Syria and is the founder of the Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide, even though a couple of the nation's top experts on agriculture and immigration live right in Genesee County.

Dean Norton, former president of the New York Farm Bureau who helped draft comprehensive immigration reform in 2013 (it didn't pass, though Collins supported the bill), said he got an invitation through Instant Messanger that he didn't see until after the event was over, though he didn't specify if the invite was to speak or just attend.

Maureen Torrey, who runs with her family one of the largest produce farms in the region, and has been to Washington, D.C., and traveled the nation in support of immigration reform, said she was invited to attend but was not invited to be on the panel.

Even though economics and trade, as well as foreign policy and criminal justice, were all big topics in the recent presidential campaign, there were no experts on the panel in those subject areas, even though in the county and in the region there are available experts.

Comprising the expert panel were:

  • Healthcare: Gary A. Giovino, professor, and chair, Department of Community Health and Health Behavior at UB;
  • Great Lakes and Rivers: Barry Boyer, who taught environmental law and administrative law at UB;
  • Small business: Ginine Capozzi, owner of KnowledgeForce Consulting LLC in East Amherst;
  • Local environment, fish, and wildlife: Dick Thomas, retired from a 33-year career with NY Department of Environmental Conservation;
  • Education: Chris Cerrone, cofounder of WNY for Public Education;
  • Diversity and social justice: Jeremy Besch, head of Upper School at the Park School in Buffalo;
  • Immigration: Andrew Beiter, director of I Am Syria and is founder of the Summer Institute for Human Rights and Genocide;
  • Climate change: Sandra Chelnov, who is "deeply concerned" about climate change and has attended several conferences;
  • Laura Colligan, owner of Dirt Rich Farm in East Aurora.

The town hall was sponsored by several progressive organizations: GLOW Progressives, WNY Peace Center, Buffalo Resists, Sister District of WNY, Invisible NY 27th, Turning Emotion into Action, ACTion Buffalo, and Citizens Against Collins.

As part of each expert's introduction, the speakers were invited to say a word about why they were there. Some speakers gave just a brief introduction, others used the time to share stronger opinions.

Giovino said the current healthcare system is not designed to help you get well, rather it's designed to ensure you keep coming back.

"My concern about healthcare is that it’s for profit," Giovino said. "In every other country, every other rich country, it’s not for profit. I think capitalism is a great thing, but when it comes to health, we need a catalytic converter on that engine."

Thomas said the environment is his passion.

"I think it’s everybody’s passion whether we know it or not," Thomas said. "Elections are guided by politics and not so much guided by science. Environmental protection suffers from the ebb and flow of global leadership changes and at the same time, that environment is generally not working in many cases. Under our current federal government leadership, the divide between economic interests and the environment is wider than it ever has been."

Besch got a laugh with his introduction.

"I’m a white guy who does diversity work," Besch said.

He added later, "For a long time this country has had a political environment that has sort of secretly and quietly marginalized already-marginalized groups to drive a culture of fear to push its agenda. What I’ve seen in recent years is that action is no longer quiet and secret. Preservation of wealth and privilege is coming at the expense of those who don’t have either of them.

"If we don’t find ways stand up and stop that then a situation that is already pretty precarious and getting worse is going to get a heck of a lot worse and a heck of a lot more quickly than I think any of us care for."

Capozzi said she's tried to talk with Collins many times about a range of issues that affect small business owners, from healthcare to immigration to tax policy to education to workforce readiness and manufacturing.

"There isn’t a part of our communities that is not impacted by the small business community and he doesn’t have anything to say," Capozzi said. "Literally, nothing to say, since May of 2014. I’m really concerned about our opportunities, or lack thereof, to talk to the congressman across all spectrums and all areas of business and all the impacts that affect us."

Cerrone slammed support for school choice.

"Chris Collins supports the Trump-Betsy DeVos privatization schemes that will devastate our local, public schools," Cerrone said. "If this raised achievement, I would be all behind it, but studies show that school choice sounds good, but choice does not work. It does not raise achievement, which is our number one concern, but also it’s a boon to those who want to privatize and profit off our tax dollars with no accountability." (Fact Check: the studies are not as one-sided as Cerrone states, but decidedly more mixed.)

Beiter said he came to the event to talk about the refugee ban and the "war on immigrants." He was critical of the Trump Administration's position on immigration.

"His policies are wrong and xenophobic," Beiter said. "They also hurt the economy, our agricultural development and who we are as a people."

Walter Eckert, of Mendon, asked the first question and it was on immigration, so it went to Beiter.

"It's the businesses that employ illegal immigrants who are breaking the law," Eckert said. "Why do we not charge the employers of illegal immigrants?"

Beiter said that was a good question and he blamed greed.

He said agriculture in New York is a $3.5 billion industry and farmers fear with a clamp down in illegal immigration they will not be able to fill vital positions. He said in Niagara County, there are 1,200 migrant workers between May and November. He said these workers are exploited by farm owners.

"On one level this is a human tragedy," Beiter said. "It's slave labor that lowers the prices of our groceries, so the answer to this is comprehensive immigration reform. I think what you’re going to see as to why these businesses and corporations are not prosecuted is because they’re profiting from it." (Fact Check: The average migrant farm worker makes $12 an hour in the United States, with some earning as much as $15 an hour, and migrants are also provided housing at no cost on many New York farms.)

He said during the George W. Bush administration and the first part of Barack Obama's two terms, there were attempts at immigration reform, but that greed prevented these reforms.

"These issues tried to get on the table, but they were put down because corporate America makes too much money from our brown-skinned brothers and sisters who are here in our communities," he said.

Actually, there was comprehensive immigration reform bill considered in 2013. Dean Norton helped draft it and Collins supported it. It didn't pass.

Collins has said many times that never in his political career does he participate in town hall meetings because he doesn't find them productive. He would rather meet with small groups of people around specific topics. He has said he will talk with any constituents who ask for a meeting.

Maureen Torrey, for example, has said she and other farmers have had a productive relationship with Collins. 

"Since the election, Congressman Collins and his staff have been working with the agriculture community in his district with all the family farms and agribusinesses in his district weekly," Torrey said. "He has held bipartisan meetings on trade, immigration, and the economy of agriculture. He has been working hard to arrange meetings and educate people on what our needs are.

"He knows our issues and hasn't been afraid to speak them. He talked about our needs on national TV. He has opened doors for us. For the first time in many years, I feel we are making progress on issues."

There were also people at the event who let reporters know that they've requested meetings with Collins, but they haven't gotten a response.

The Batavian has been trying to arrange an in-person, hour-long, multi-topic interview with the congressman since late January. We've made at least a dozen requests and despite assurances that such an interview will take place -- and statements by Collins himself that he will sit down for an interview and that he enjoys being interviewed by The Batavian and would be happy to talk -- we have yet been able to secure a date for such an interview.

UPDATE/CLARIFICATION & DISCLOSURE: One of the organizers, Jane Cameron, has said I was invited to be a speaker at the town hall. I honestly didn't remember the invitation. I found the email from March 30 where she said she wanted to talk with me about "your possible participation in a Town Hall ..." I wasn't sure what she meant by this, but I said I would cover the event but that I don't participate in partisan politics. She also said there were two conservatives on the panel without specifying who those individuals are.

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Michelle Schoeneman

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Jeremy Besch

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Laura Colligan

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Andrew Beiter

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Walter Eckert, of Mendon

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April 18, 2017 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, trade, news, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after President Trump signed an executive order to support American manufacturing and bolster America’s job growth.

“In implementing a ‘Buy American, Hire American’ federal initiative, President Trump has delivered on one of his most important promises to the American people. Voters here in Western New York supported President Trump because for too long, status quo politicians have put the economic interests of foreign nations ahead of our own and have left too many promises unfulfilled.

"If we want our community and our country to succeed, we need to put people back to work and get back to ‘Made in America.’ Today’s executive action is a significant step in accomplishing those goals. I commend President Trump for putting America first and working to bring our jobs home."

April 8, 2017 - 6:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, GCC, chris collins, NY-27, news.

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This is the winning picture in the NY-27 Congressional Art Competition, by Leah Buddenhagen, of Niagara Wheatfield Senior High School.

Buddenhagen couldn't be at the awards ceremony today at Genesee Community College because she was busy taking a college entrance exam.

Rep. Chris Collins was on hand for the awards ceremony and spent time touring the gallery and meeting individually with each of the students who were able to attend.

The were 71 pictures entered into the competition from high school students from throughout the NY-27.

The show was judged by Roz Steiner Art Gallery Director Mary Jo Whitman and GCC Associate Professor of Fine Arts Heather Jones.

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Runner-up, by Maya Lake, Medina High School.

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Madeline Keenan, of Batavia High School, in front of her picture, which received an honorable mention, with her family. The other honorable mention went to Zackary Dubel, Iroquois Central High School.

April 8, 2017 - 5:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, batavia, news.

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It's almost like it's a misunderstanding that a little bit of communication might clear up.

Patricia Dieck, a resident of Batavia, is worried about maintaining health care coverage for her family, which is one reason she was participating in a protest on East Main Street this morning, across the street where Rep. Chris Collins was meeting with members of his "coffee club."

Asked later about Dieck's concerns, Collins said the issues she raised wouldn't affect her family as New York residents.

Dieck said she is worried Congress might still pass the so-called "repeal and replace" bill for the Affordable Care Act, known as the American Health Care Act, and though the bill seems to be dead, she thinks Collins should listen to her on the issue.

"I have serious concerns," Dieck said. "I have a child who is on Medicaid who depends on it. I also have a child who has a pre-existing condition. Where is he going to get health care if that goes through? He (Collins) needs to start walking in our shoes and stop thinking like a billionaire."

"None of that is true because in New York, and in every state, the commissioner of health decides on the essential benefits package," Collins said.

According to Collins, many of the objections people had to the AHCA were based on a misunderstanding about how much responsibility for deciding coverage packages still resides with the states. 

"I would say she totally misunderstands what’s going on, which is kind of a shame because in many cases, these protesters are deliberately misleading people into things that are just not so," Collins added.

It's even a misunderstanding, Collins said, that he won't listen to constituents who disagree with his positions on this and other issues.

He just won't do it in the "town hall" format protesters are asking for because he doesn't think these events are productive.

"What folks are advocating for is more of an organized protest," Collins said. "They’re not interested in a conversation of any kind. I would rather spend my time meeting with constituents one on one, have them come in the office, or speak with groups at lunches and so forth, and open it up to any kind of questions."

Dieck said she and the other protesters don't believe their opinions matter to Collins

"We just want to be heard," Dieck said. "We want a chance to have a civil conversation with Chris Collins. Many people here have sent letters, we have called him, and we get no response. We’ve asked him to do a town hall. We understand he never did town halls before, but everyone else is doing them. We want one. That’s what the constituency wants, so we’re asking him to do one."

Collins disputes that constituent communication is going unanswered or unheeded. All calls, letters, and emails are tracked, he said. Staff will cull specific letters for him to see or provide summaries of constituent communications on issues. 

"I do get individual letters that I look at," Collins said. "I do trust my staff, we’ll call them a filter of sorts, but I’m comfortable that they don’t keep things from me.

"We absolutely track what comes in over the telephone," Collins added. "We track what comes in the mail. Sometimes it’s a postcard campaign and you can get 5,000 postcards, and you just treat those as they are, but we track as best we can the mood of our constituents."

Some of the communications end up in staff scheduling meetings with Collins in his office, but he said he thinks some people misunderstand how little time he actually spends in the district. The past several weeks, for example, he's been in Washington, D.C. Now he has two weeks home to travel the district and meet with as many people as possible.

He had two events in Batavia today, among 10 events in the district this weekend, and the coffee club meeting was the only one that was a campaign fundraiser.

Asked if she or any of her fellow protesters had protested at other fundraisers elected officials might have, such as a $500 or $1,000 per plate dinner for Sen. Charles Schumer, Dieck said she felt this event was different.

"This is a $55 coffee club," Dieck said. "My husband is a Republican and he wasn’t invited. It’s an exclusive club. I don’t think he (Collins) should be doing it. I think it should be open to everybody."

Collins said it is open to everybody.

"We want as many people as we can," Collins said. "It’s what we would consider a lower dollar event at $55 and that’s a year’s membership and we do 10 or 12 of these a year and we do them all around the eight counties. This is a not small group of special invitees. If somebody wants to join our coffee club, they should. I had 50, 60 people there. They asked questions. I answered the questions. I told them what’s going on in Washington. There could be Democrats there. There can be, whatever, there."

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April 7, 2017 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after the United States conducted military strikes against Syria.

“Bashar al-Assad’s barbaric actions against innocent children and civilians were tolerated for too long. President Trump promised Americans he would stand up to our enemies, and he delivered on that promise. Last night’s military actions demonstrated American strength and leadership. It reassured our allies and let our enemies know the status quo will no longer be tolerated.”

April 4, 2017 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Medicaid, news, Andrew Cuomo, chris collins.

It's just two partisans fighting, County Manager Jay Gsell said of a proposal to shift money around so that counties in the State of New York could get relief from the unfunded mandate known as Medicaid.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is backing legislation called the Empire State Equity Act, which would shift back to New York, some $30 billion in taxpayer money from the federal government to the state.

With that money, the state then could assume the cost of the $2.3 billion shelled out by counties now to support Medicaid, but only for counties that agreed to cut local property taxes by the amount of their current share.

That could be $277 average savings per property in Genesee County, according to a chart released by the governor's office.

Where the governor sees tax savings for county residents, Gsell sees smoke and mirrors and political rhetoric aimed at Rep. Chris Collins.

"It's a political war of words between two people, Collins and Cuomo, who seem to really dislike each other and engage in negative partisanship to the max," Gsell said.

The way Gsell sees it, the proposal is asking the feds to "artificially" adjust a funding formula for New York, which is similar to something Schumer did temporarily a few years ago, and give it the "innocent sounding phrase, 'Empire Equity,' and then only provide a cost shift."

Gsell noted the benefit level -- a cause of the state's high Medicaid expense as he sees it -- wouldn't be cut under the governer's proposal, which leaves him distrustful of the long-term effects.

He thinks many counties might pass 100 percent of the cost savings onto taxpayers in the form of lower property taxes, but he fears that is just a trap.

"Our concern, borne out of 50 years of NYS unilateral imposition of cost shifts and mandates," Gsell said, "is that just like with re-K/EI (early intervention) funding and the elimination of the counties from the AIM dollars (a state revenue share with municipalities), as the state was going to take over 75 percent of the total program cost, but they stopped at 59 percent and left the counties out to dry.

"The same can happen with the Empire Equity Act in that the state holds all the cards, all the control, and always blames we locals for the abysmal state of property taxes, and they -- and he, Gov. Cuomo -- refuse to take any responsibility for the unfunded mandates and cost shifts, creating in essence a NYS property tax 'levy' within our county budgets."

Cuomo has called New York a "donor state," in that it pays out $30 billion more in taxes to the federal government than it receives in benefits. He touted this bill as a way to "level the playing field."

The governor backed the proposal as a response to an amendment from Collins to the American Health Care Act, which was eventually pulled from a vote by Speaker Paul Ryan, that would have prohibited the State of New York from taking money from counties to help fund Medicaid. Cuomo called the Collins proposal "a fraud."

"Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, God rest his soul, used to talk about the unfairness that New York gave so much and got back so little," Cuomo said during a press conference on the proposal. "Second, the promises made, from Congressman Ryan to President Trump to Mr. Faso to Mr. Collins was tax relief for the working men and women of this country. Right? That’s what they all ran on. That’s what they all promised. That’s what they all said.

"Well, this actually does just that. This says, 'let’s give New York additional Medicaid money because they are a donor state, let’s reduce the inequity' and New York will then give the money to the taxpayers in property tax relief."

An aide to Collins provided this statement:

“Although late to the party, I am glad Governor Cuomo has finally seen how unsustainable it is to force hardworking property taxpayers to subsidize New York’s out of control Medicaid program,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “Unfortunately, instead of reviewing his own bloated budget for the 1.5 percent needed, the out-of-touch Governor demands more federal government for the nation's most bloated Medicaid program.

"The Governor needs to quit living a federally funded fairy tale and find savings in New York's Medicaid program which costs 44-percent more per recipient than the national average, and spends more than those of Texas and Florida combined.”

April 4, 2017 - 3:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

On Saturday April 8th, Congressman Chris Collins of NY 27, will be hosting a coffee with Collins event at the Miss Batavia Diner in Batavia. The cost per ticket is $55.

Several local grassroots organizers have teamed up to speak out against this. Individuals from Citizens against Collins, GLOW Progressives, Le Roy Voices for Change, Metro Justice and Stronger Together WNY and citizens who are just frustrated will meet near the diner bright and early at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning to rally against the Congressman and his lack of interest to host an open Town Hall for his constituents.

Many of these individuals have been trying for months to meet with the Congressman to discuss numerous issues. To date, no one has had that opportunity. The lack of communication has even caused frustration from members of his own party. 

The individual organizers welcome everyone who wishes to join them in a peaceful display of agitation Saturday at 8 a.m.

CLARIFICATION: A local Democrat Party official wrote to say, "this event isn't organized by the Democratic Party." He felt the headline was misleading. The press release came from the same person who typically sends out press releases from Democrats, and while I don't think the original headline said, per se, the Party is behind the event, I decided to change the headline for this reason: It's long been our policy not to make an issue of partisan affiliation, to not define people by their partisan affiliation, and I did that with the headline and now feel I was being inconsistent with past practice. 

March 24, 2017 - 5:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Health Care.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement regarding the American Health Care Act.

“I am extremely disappointed with today’s result,” Congressman Collins said. “This bill, while not perfect, was a solution that would have ended the Obamacare nightmare that Western New Yorkers have had to endure for too long.

"By increasing competition and giving people the power to make their own choices with their own health care, the American Health Care Act would have been a drastic improvement over the healthcare system Obamacare has left us with.

“Despite today’s result, this process has provided the opportunity to push for reforms vital to Western New York, specifically my amendment to force Albany to end its unfunded mandate on New York’s counties once and for all.

"I will continue advocating for that critical measure going forward and will remain resolute in my commitment to the taxpayers in my district.”

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