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July 19, 2018 - 6:24pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Nate McMurray, news, notify.

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Congressional challenger Nate McMurray made a series of campaign stops in the NY-27 yesterday, including in Batavia at the Genesee County Fair, to call out Rep. Chris Collins for not calling out President Donald Trump over, what McMurray said, was Trump's false equivalency between the United States and authoritarian-ruled Russia.

Collins has stood by Trump following Trump's press conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, which followed a private meeting between the two leaders, where Trump seemingly dismissed U.S. intelligence reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

"I’m disappointed our congressman didn’t come out boldly — I don’t care, if Donald Trump were a Democrat, I don’t care who he is — when someone gets up on a stage and compares America to an authoritarian state you have to stand up and say that is wrong," McMurray said. "As a kid growing up in this country and believing in the future of our country, I am saying that is wrong."

In the midst of bipartisan criticism of Trump's remarks, Collins issued the following statement:

“I share President Trump’s continued frustration as the left continues to try to nullify the 2016 Presidential election with claims of Russian interference. The fact is, any Russian meddling did not make a difference in the election and there was no campaign collusion. It’s time the Mueller investigation comes to a conclusion. I also urge the President to work with Congress to ensure any future Russian attempts to influence our elections are stopped at our border. Unfortunately, this is something the Obama administration failed to do."

McMurray said in the 48 hours after the press conference, his campaign was re-energized by new supporters and new volunteers signing up.

"Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike are getting involved in our campaign and they’re getting involved because they’re worried about the state of our country," McMurray said.

About 24 hours after the press conference, Trump said he misspoke in Helsinki.

"I thought that I made myself very clear, but having just reviewed the transcript ... I realized that there is a need for some clarification," Trump said. "The sentence should have been ... 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.' "

He said he meant to say "wouldn't" instead of "would."

McMurray thinks Collins has a job to do and he's not doing it: Being a check on executive power.

"A big part of being a congressman is you must be a check on the executive branch, even if you love Donald Trump," McMurray said. "We do not live in an authoritarian state like Putin has. We live in a country where people who go to Congress, people who fight for the people of Western New York, need to be a check on the executive branch so we don’t have an expansion of unwarranted power."

The Batavian contacted the Collins campaign and requested a response. Spokesman Bryan Piligra sent over the following quote:

“Residents of Genesee County know Chris puts their interests first in Washington, fighting for our farms, veterans, and small businesses. They also know he proudly supports President Trump and he won’t back down from that support because radical progressives can’t get over the 2016 election."

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July 19, 2018 - 2:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today introduced legislation that prevents states from diverting fees collected from consumers on their phone bills, which are meant to be used to improve 9-1-1 emergency communications systems.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has found that New York diverts at least 41 percent of 9-1-1 fees that are collected for other non-public safety-related purposes. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (CA-18) and Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07), vice chair of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, co-authored the bill and have also seen 9-1-1 fee diversion in their home states.

“It is completely unacceptable that we have seen states diverting fees meant to make important and necessary improvements to emergency response systems,” Collins said. “Diverting these important fees puts lives in danger, especially in rural areas. I thank Congresswoman Eshoo and Congressman Lance for their support of this legislation and their commitment to making sure all communities across the nation can achieve the highest level of safety.”  

“Our 9-1-1 call centers are the first point of contact for Americans in emergency situations, but many of these call centers rely on technology that’s been in place since the time of the first 9-1-1 call 50 years ago,” Eshoo said.“9-1-1 fees collected by states should only be used to upgrade our 9-1-1 infrastructure, not diverted to the general coffers of state governments.”

“My constituents need to know that in an emergency the 9-1-1 call is going to go through,” Lance said. “Lawmakers in Trenton raided the fund set aside to improve the 9-1-1 system and left the account penniless – leaving public safety threatened and taxpayers on the hook. Members of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee are seeking to end this practice.

"The 911 Fee Integrity Act will empower the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on state governments that divert these funds and shortchange much-needed upgrades to bring the critical 9-1-1 system into the 21st century. And instead of further taxing New Jerseyans, Trenton should first stop diverting the existing fees from their intended use.”   

Collins’ bill directs the FCC, in consultation with public safety organizations, and state, local and tribal governments, to determine the appropriate use of funds collected from consumers. Currently, states are able to set their own definition of what is a covered cost for 9-1-1 fees, which has allowed them to divert fees.

In April, Collins toured the Niagara County 9-1-1 call center with FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly where they called on the State of New York to stop diverting fees. Governor Cuomo has not stopped diverting fees, leading Collins to introduce the 911 Fee Integrity Act.

July 17, 2018 - 8:46am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, Alabama, news, NY-27, chris collins.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing millions in waste and water disposal loans and grants in the towns of Alexander, Oakfield, Canadice, and Barre.

In each of these towns, water quality testing has indicated threats to public health and a lack of safe water. The funding will go toward various solutions to alleviate these concerns and provide reliable water service to residents.

“USDA’s investment in the towns of Alexander, Oakfield, Canadice, and Barre will improve the quality of life for residents of those communities,” Collins said. “Access to clean water is essential, which is why I voted in support of the 2018 Omnibus spending bill that included these funds to our nation’s rural communities.

"The Trump administration has prioritized investing in rural communities to build a foundation for rural prosperity, and I am pleased that these efforts are being seen in Western New York.”

Funding awarded is listed below:

  • Town of Alexander will receive a $2.7 million loan and a $2.2 million grant
  • Town of Oakfield will receive a $236,000 loan and a $691,000 grant
  • Town of Canadice will receive a $1 million loan and a $200,000 grant
  • Town of Barre will receive a $708,000 loan and a $493,000 grant

Rural community leaders can apply for these funds electronically by using the interactive RD Apply tool. They can also apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

For more information on USDA’s projects to upgrade water and wastewater systems in rural communities, click here. Municipalities seeking assistance from the USDA are encouraged to call Collins’ Lancaster District Office at 716-634-2324.

July 16, 2018 - 11:04am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and Congressman Raul Ruiz (CA-36) introduced legislation to ensure that emergency physicians’ due process rights are protected if they are employed by a third party contractor. More than half of all emergency physicians around the country are denied due process because standard contracts require them to waive away these rights.

“Emergency departments (ED) are at the core of our nation’s health care safety net, staffed with hardworking physicians who provide care 24 hours a day 365 days a year,” Collins said. “Many hospitals have turned to physician staffing companies to meet complex organizational challenges, although that has come at an unfair cost to ED doctors.

"These hardworking men and women, who spend a decade in school and residency training and dedicate their lives advocating on behalf of their patients, have lost their due process rights. My legislation seeks to fix that.”

“Patients come first. Quality of care and patient safety should be the first concern of any doctor, not whether they could be fired for whistle blowing or reporting dangerous conditions in the hospital,” Dr. Ruiz said. “I am proud to co-author this bill to improve patient safety and cut down on fraud in our health care system by guaranteeing all doctors due process and whistleblower protections.”

Due process, a guaranteed right under the U.S. Constitution, is the foundation of one’s employment status across many industries. Physicians receive due process rights from a number of sources including Medicare, as a condition of participation, and the Health Care Quality Improvement Act of 1986. However, these laws only afford due process rights to physicians directly employed by the hospital.

The third-party staffing model is most common in emergency departments across the country, leaving emergency doctors without the ability to negotiate basic terms of employment. These physicians are required to waive their right to a fair hearing and appellate review by their peers on the medical staff, in the event of termination or a restriction of their practice rights.

For patients, the link between due process and quality care is clear. Physicians are unable to act as their patient’s best advocate when they fear retribution from their employers.

Among the medical community, there is concern that third party contract structures will deter future generations from pursuing a career in emergency medicine and leave our nation with a shortage of emergency room physicians. This legislation has the support of leading organizations in emergency medicine.

"In the field of emergency medicine, there is no greater policy imperative for patient safety and quality care than enacting this due process legislation," said David Farcy, president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. "The Academy is proud to stand with Representative Collins and Representative Ruiz, and we applaud them for championing this bill that serves the best interest of the patient and the taxpayer."

“On behalf of more than 38,000 emergency physicians, emergency medicine residents, and medical students, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is proud to support Congressman Collins’ and Congressman Ruiz’s legislation to ensure every emergency physician has medical staff due process rights,” said Paul Kivela, MD, MBA, FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “This is an important safeguard that will ensure all emergency physicians have access to a fair due process procedure.”

“The Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine (CORD) represents the over 240 emergency medicine residency training programs in the U.S. CORD strongly supports due process rights for emergency physicians as this is in the best interest of the public, the institutions and the safe practice of medicine," said Christopher Doty, MD, president, Council of Residency Directors in Emergency Medicine.

"Therefore, CORD supports Representative Collins and Representative Ruiz on this important bill."

“Due process legislation will improve patient safety and support our physicians’ focus on providing patient-centered care, which is the hallmark of the osteopathic profession,” said Mark A. Baker, DO, president of the American Osteopathic Association.

“With nearly 10 percent of the nation’s 108,000 DO degreed physicians specializing in emergency medicine, the American Osteopathic Association commends Congressman Collins and Congressman Ruiz for their leadership on legislation that would ensure due process is available to physicians working in a complex practice environment.”

“On behalf of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians, I am in full support of Representative Collins and Representative Ruiz in proposing this legislation," said Christine F. Giesa, DO FACOEP-D, president, American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians.

"Our patients are the core of our work, and this legislation is a major step forward in ensuring their health and safety.”

“The guarantee of due process rights is one of the most critical issues facing emergency physicians and is fundamental to our ethical mandate to act in the best interests of our patients, many of whom are among the most vulnerable in society,” said Steven B. Bird, MD, president of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM). “Therefore, SAEM strongly supports the passage of this legislation.”

"Entering a workforce where due process is ensured is the best possible future for residents and students in emergency medicine," said Mohammed Moiz Qureshi, president of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine Resident and Student Association.

"AAEM/RSA echoes the commitment of Representative Collins and Representative Ruiz to that future and we appreciate their work on this legislation to help future generations of emergency physicians best serve their patients."

“A physician’s duty to advocate for safe and effective treatments, policies and practices is impaired by lack of due process,” said Charles McKay, MD, president of the American College of Medical Toxicology. “ACMT is proud to stand with Representative Collins and Representative Ruiz in this effort to better protect patients’ health and quality improvements within the health care system.”

For a copy of H.R. 6372, click here.

July 9, 2018 - 5:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, Nate McMurray, batavia.

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During a visit to Batavia today, Rep. Chris Collins, when asked about debating his challenger for the NY-27 congressional seat called Nate McMurray a "carpetbagger."

McMurray has been using social media and press releases to dog Collins about the incumbent's refusal so far to schedule a candidates' debate.

"Desperate politicians do desperate things," Collins said. "Carpetbagger Nate McMurray, who’s never lived in the 27th Congressional District, who opened his district office in Brian Higgins' district — I’m still trying to figure out why he didn’t run a primary against Brian, since he’s never lived in this district and then had the audacity to open his campaign office not in this district. He lives and works in Higgins district. I don’t know why he’s running in the 27th."

The Batavian contacted Chris Grant, campaign manager for Collins, a couple of weeks ago and offered to host and moderate a debate but we had not received a response. Collins said he was unaware of the offer but that it's too soon to talk about debates anyway.

"That’s a decision to be made in late September into October, when we see where the campaign is, where our campaign is, where his campaign is," Collins said. "It’s certainly not a decision now for July."

In a phone interview this afternoon, McMurray called the "carpetbagger" charge by Collins "ridiculous," noting that Collins didn't live in the district when he first ran and that district lines change every 10 years.

"I'm from here," McMurray said. "I was born and raised in Western New York. He's from North Carolina. I've got a cousin who works at Moon Java. I've got family in Batavia. For him to use this name calling, it's stupid. I could call him a white collar criminal all day but then we could have a debate and have a more insightful conversation."

Collins was in town for a visit at Genesee Community College, where he met with students in the TRiO Upward Bound program, which is college-prep coursework partially funded by the federal government, and then received a tour of the campus by President Jim Sunser.

After lunch at the Pok-A-Dot and a couple of other stops, Collins dropped by Dwyer Stadium to learn from General Manager Dave Chase about the effort to keep minor league baseball alive in Batavia.

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July 9, 2018 - 12:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, firefighter cancer registry act.

Press release:

Congressmen Chris Collins (NY-27) and Bill Pascrell Jr. (NJ-09) today celebrated President Trump signing H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, into law. The legislation they authored together will require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a voluntary registry to collect data regarding the incidence of certain cancers in firefighters.

This registry will allow researchers to have a greater understanding of the impacts that smoke inhalation and other occupational hazards have on a firefighter’s health, and lead to better treatment options.

“The brave men and women who selflessly keep our communities safe while fighting fires deserve for us to do everything in our power to also keep them out of harm’s way while they are on duty,” Collins said. “We currently have a lack of information about how being exposed to certain fires will impact a firefighter’s health, and this is a common sense way to collect that data to improve protocols and equipment.

"I express my deepest gratitude for our nation’s firefighters and first responders, and take pride in knowing that this registry could lead to reforms that will save lives.”

“I’m proud that this legislation has been signed into law. The Firefighter Cancer Registry will bring together information on firefighters’ history to help doctors and researchers find any connections between firefighters’ work and increased risk for cancer,” said Pascrell, co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus.

“This will improve the safety of the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every single day. This legislation has long enjoyed bipartisan support because all of us want to protect those who protect the rest of us. Thank you representatives Chris Collins and Frank Pallone, and senators Bob Menendez and Lisa Murkowski for your efforts getting this bill through Congress and into law. I look forward to working closely with the CDC and members of the firefighting community to see that the new registry is implemented to its fullest use.”

“Day after day, firefighters all across the country are quick to answer the call of duty. Whether they do so in volunteer service or as a career, they put their communities first on a daily basis without question,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX).

“This commonsense bill will create a national registry to better document the physical toll these everyday heroes undertake and help lead to better treatment options. We look forward to seeing this registry come to fruition and applaud Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) for his leadership on this issue.”

The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act authorizes $2 million in federal funds to the CDC from FY2018 to FY2022. Data gathered would include a number of potential risk factors, including but not limited to the status of the firefighter (volunteer, paid-on-call, or career), number of years on the job, the number of incidents attended, and the type of incidence.

The collection of this data would allow for improved equipment, enhanced safety protocols and preventative techniques for our firefighters.

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, by unanimous consent on June 22, 2018. H.R. 931 first passed the House in September 2017, by voice vote. The Senate passed the bill, with an amendment, in May by unanimous consent. H.R. 931 was signed into law today by President Donald Trump.

July 3, 2018 - 4:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, Nate McMurray.

Press release:

More than 1,000 constituents have signed an online petition demanding that Chris Collins debate his Democratic challenger Nate McMurray. A further 150 signatures have been collected in person at events across the district.

The McMurray campaign reached out to Chris Collins' office with a formal request for debate but received no response.

Western New York hasn't had a debate between their candidates for the House since Chris Collins challenged Kathy Hochul in 2012. American democracy is a marketplace of ideas. Debates between candidates running for elected office are crucial to a functioning democracy.

Nate McMurray does not believe that elected officials get to hide from the people they serve.

McMurray said, "I hope one of the local news stations will host a debate between us. The people of the district want this debate. We hear it at every event we go to.

"We see it from how quickly the petition broke 1,000 signatures. It's the right thing to do and it's the only way for the voters of NY-27 to make an informed decision in November."

June 28, 2018 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

U.S. Representative Chris Collins (NY-27) and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced "Denying Chinese Investors Access to U.S. Small Business Aid," a bill that would prevent businesses owned by citizens of the People’s Republic of China from accessing all assistance offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

“The SBA exists to help Main Street America grow and flourish, not to aid companies whose profits go to China," Collins said. "This is a common-sense reform that provides a greater check on where taxpayer dollars are going because they certainly should not be going to China.

"SBA programs should focus on helping small business owners in communities like Western New York, and I am proud to join with Senator Rubio to advance this important legislation.”

“Chinese companies are abusing our current system to exploit American small business programs, which are taxpayer subsidized and were created to help spur American ingenuity and boost small businesses,” Rubio said. “This bill will ensure that our tax dollars aren’t going overseas to China, our biggest economic competitor.”

Current law permits SBA to provide assistance to qualifying small businesses who legally operate in the United States, allowing Chinese-owned businesses to obtain a federally guaranteed loan, surety bond, research and development grant, or disaster loan, among other SBA programs.

The Denying Chinese Investors Access to U.S. Small Business Aid would prohibit SBA benefits from being awarded to businesses headquartered in China. Under this bill, those China-based businesses with operations in the United States or those with at least 25 percent of their voting stock owned by Chinese investors will no longer be able to benefit.

June 27, 2018 - 12:05pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after the Supreme Court released its opinion on Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision is a big win for government workers who, for far too long, have been forced to pay union fees in support of causes they are fundamentally against. Forcing an individual to join a political organization or government union goes against one of the greatest freedoms we are granted as Americans, the right to free speech. Any violation of the First Amendment is counter to the values our nation was founded upon and I applaud today’s monumental decision.”

UPDATE: Nate McMurray, candidate for NY-27 against Chris Collins in November, issued this press release:

Nate McMurray, town supervisor for Grand Island and Congressional candidate running for New York’s 27th District, announced that he condemns the Supreme Court ruling today, which ruled in favor of Janus.

“This Supreme Court ruling will cause a drastic financial blow to both public and private sector unions across the country. Unions are what built the middle class," McMurray said. "If you look back at the 1950s when labor was at its peak, unionization rates in the private sector were 35 percent and the average CEO made 45 times that of the average worker."

Today, the unionization rate is only 6 percent in the private sector and the average CEO makes 844 times the average worker. Corporate greed is at an all-time high and America’s middle class is suffering because of it.

"We are seeing cuts to crucial public programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, Americans still remain without healthcare and it’s only getting worse, kids can’t afford college and become saddled with debt, senior citizens are unable to retire with dignity since Social Security benefits are no longer enough to live on, and prescription drug prices continue to skyrocket. Meanwhile, many Americans are struggling to find good paying jobs," McMurray said. 

"If anything, this country needs MORE unions and we need to make it easier for workers to unionize, to fight against corporate greed and fight for fair wages and benefits.”   

June 26, 2018 - 5:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

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Press release:

House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI-01) today signed legislation authored by Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) that will collect data regarding cancer incidence in firefighters to better inform the development of new protocols, safeguards, and equipment to protect these men and women.

When signed into law, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of certain cancers in firefighters. The registry will improve collection capabilities and activities to address an enormous gap in research on the heath impacts of cancer incidence among all firefighters – career and volunteer.

The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act unanimously passed the House on Sept. 12, 2017 and passed the Senate on May 10, 2018 with one amendment making technical corrections. On June 22, 2018 the amended version passed the House under unanimous consent and will head to President Trump for signature.

For more information on H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, click here.

June 26, 2018 - 10:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, opioids, news.

Press release:

Congressmen Chris Collins (NY-27) applauded the House passage of a package of bills that take action to fight the opioid epidemic, including the passage of H.R. 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act.

The SUPPORT Act includes dozens of bills that passed the House over the past two weeks, in addition to the base text which includes provisions that previously passed the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees.

“Throughout the past two weeks, the House has been devoted to the thousands of Americans struggling with addiction, their families, and our communities in our work to end this deadly crisis,” Collins said.

“Serving on the Energy and Commerce Committee, we have put an enormous amount of time and effort into studying addiction, listening to struggling families, reviewing the supply chain, and immersing ourselves into the communities that have been ravaged by this crisis. It was a heart-wrenching process, but we came up with common-sense, bipartisan solutions that will save lives.”

The opioid epidemic is claiming more than 115 lives each day, destroying families in communities across the nation. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Collins helped craft a legislative package that would address the many issues that have led to this crisis and would implement solutions to end this epidemic.

Starting in October, the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee pursued an aggressive timeline to produce this legislation prior to Memorial Day. In May, 57 bills were advanced to the House of Representatives, which have passed the House throughout the past two weeks. Collins worked with colleagues across-the-aisle to co-author several pieces of legislation.

Collins joined fellow New Yorker, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries in introducing the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2017 that would require the Surgeon General to report to Congress the public health effects of the rise of synthetic drug use by 12- to 18-year-olds. Currently, Congress does not have sufficient information to craft the unique types of public health and law enforcement approaches that could save our nation’s children from these dangerous substances.

Collins also introduced the Eliminating Opioid Related Infectious Diseases Act of 2018 with Congressman Leonard Lance, Congressman Joseph Kennedy, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congressman Joe Barton, and Congresswoman Doris Matsui that focuses specifically on how the opioid epidemic has contributed to an increase in infectious diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. Increased monitoring and education will lead to a better understanding of the impacts that this crisis is having on public health.

Building on the efforts of the Medicaid DRUG Improvement Act, Collins introduced an amendment with Congressman Scott Peters and Congressman Peter Welch that would require states to identify and address inappropriate prescribing and billing practices under Medicaid. States are currently authorized to implement prescription drug monitoring activities through their prescription drug monitoring programs and claims data, but not all states have adopted such activities.

In addition to working with the Energy and Commerce Committee, Collins worked with the Committee on Ways and Means and Congressman Tom MacArthur on introducing the Stop Excessive Narcotics in Our Retirement (SENIOR) Communities Protection Act. The SENIOR Communities Protection Act allows Medicare Advantage Part D plans to suspend payments to a provider or supplier pending an investigation of a credible allegation of fraud or abuse, as determined by the Inspector General. This legislation will help in preventing future “pill mills” from occurring.

Finally, Collins introduced legislation with Congressman Eric Paulson, Congressman Ron Kind, and Congressman Connor Lamb that would require Medicare to send an annual notice to Part D patients about the adverse effects associated with prolonged opioid use. By improving awareness and education, the Medicare Clear Health Options in Care for Enrollees (CHOICE) Act will help patients be more inclined to watch for the warning signs of addiction and be more informed to talk with their doctors on their options for pain management.

Collins added: “In every community across our nation we have brokenhearted families, which is why we need immediate action. I’m thankful for President Trump’s dedication to this issue and urge the Senate to get these important bills on his desk.”

June 22, 2018 - 1:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, fire services, news, NY-27.

Press release:

U.S. Representatives Chris Collins (R-NY-27) and Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ-09), the co-chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, celebrated the passage of H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act.

The legislation they sponsored together would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of certain cancers in firefighters. The registry will improve collection capabilities and activities to address an enormous gap in research on the health impacts of cancer incidence among all firefighters – career and volunteer.

Firefighters may experience detrimental health effects due to smoke inhalation and other harmful, toxic substances. The legislation takes a first step toward gathering this information to develop new protocols, safeguards, and equipment to protect these men and women. Senate legislation is sponsored by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

“I am extremely humbled and proud of the work we have done to get this bill on President Trump’s desk,” Collins said. “We have to prioritize the health and safety of the brave men and women who selflessly protect our communities.

"It has been an honor to work with Congressman Pascrell, and we have seen an outpouring of support for this legislation from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, various firefighter organizations, health care groups, our colleagues in Congress, and of course the firefighters in our districts and across America that this is intended to serve.

"I look forward to President Trump signing this bill into law and to see all of the positive impacts this will have on the firefighting community.”

“Today is a big day. I can’t think of many priorities more important than protecting the health of America’s firefighters. The Firefighter Cancer Registry will bring together information on firefighters’ history to help doctors and researchers find any connections between firefighters’ work and increased risk for cancer,” Rep. Pascrell said.

"This will strengthen the safety of the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every single day. This legislation has long enjoyed bipartisan support because having the backs of those protecting our families is a cause we all support.

"I want to thank Representatives Chris Collins and Frank Pallone, and Senators Robert Menendez and Lisa Murkowski for all their efforts to get this bill through Congress. After the legislation is signed, I look forward to working with the CDC and members of the firefighting community to see that the new registry is implemented to its fullest use.”

“Our firefighters are brave men and women, who put themselves in harm’s way day after day. This registry has the potential to improve the quality of life for these real-life heroes,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR-02) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX-26). “From a house fire to the wildfires that ravage the west, these men and women don’t think twice before heading into dangerous situations of fire and smoke to protect others. This national registry is one way we can help protect them.”

A 2015 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths for certain types of cancer when compared to the general U.S. population, specifically digestive, oral, respiratory and urinary cancers, and malignant mesothelioma.

The study confirmed that firefighters have an increased risk of cancer because of occupational exposure. To bolster the efforts led by researchers at NIOSH, the firefighter cancer registry will improve collection capabilities and activities related to the nationwide monitoring of cancer incidence among all firefighters – career and volunteer.

Specifically, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act will authorize $2 million in federal funds to the CDC from FY2018 to FY2022. Additionally, the legislation will:

  • Develop a firefighter registry of available cancer incidence data collected by existing State Cancer Registries and a strategy to maximize participation;
  • Create a registry that will contain relevant histories, such as other occupational information, years of service, number of fire incidents responded to, and additional risk factors;
  • Make de-identified data available to public health researchers to provide them with robust and comprehensive datasets to expand groundbreaking research; and
  • Improve our understanding of cancer incidences by requiring administrators to consult regularly with public health experts, clinicians, and firefighters.

The legislation has support from several major fire organizations, including the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, New Jersey Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association and the International Fire Services Training Association.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Fire Fighter Steering Committee said “The AFGE, AFL-CIO supports the Fire Fighter Cancer Registry bill because it will help improve the health and safety of our federal firefighters and municipal and volunteer firefighters who protect and serve the American public at the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We look forward to collecting this important data in the federal registry and sharing it with our civilian counterparts.”

“I would like to thank Congress for passing this critical legislation, as well as Representative Collins for his leadership in introducing and championing it,” said National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) Chair Kevin D. Quinn.

"Too many firefighters are contracting and dying from cancer caused by duty-related exposures. This registry will improve our understanding of why firefighter cancer is occurring at such a high rate, and will make it easier to prevent, detect, and treat.”

“Firefighters are routinely exposed to numerous carcinogens over the course of their careers and deserve the best protection and prevention tools available," said International Association of Fire Fighters, AFL-CIO General President Harold Schaitberger.

"The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act will provide yet another means to study the deadly relationship between cancer and firefighting. I thank Representative Collins for his leadership on this important issue and applaud the Congress for sending the bill to the President to be signed into law.”

June 22, 2018 - 10:55am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Representative Collins came out of hiding last week to tell diary framers he was going to help them. You know what he did? He wrote a letter.

His opponent in the Nov. 6th election, Nate McMurray, had more to say.
 
“Christopher wants to blame everybody else. But what has he done to get the farm bill passed? What has he done to help with visa reform for workers? What has he done to open foreign markets so that farmers can sell their products?”
 
The answer is nothing. In fact, Rep. Collins is only blaming Canada for interfering with free trade. Collins said, “Trump, rightfully, has called [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau and Canada out for their long-standing, non-free-market protection of their dairy.”
 
McMurray countered “He’s confused. Canada has its issues. Why has it taken so long for Christopher to speak up? Beyond that, there are far more places for our farmers to sell milk than Canada. I know China. I did business there. We should have Western New York cheese and milk products stacked on every shelf in Shanghai. And we should have soybeans going out by the shipload. Instead, what do we have? More excuses.”
 
Elect a guy who can fight, who believes in WNY, and who won’t wait until an election year to act.

NOTE: The quote in the fourth paragraph comes from The Batavian's story: Collins visits Stein Farms to talk about what he's doing for the dairy industry

June 21, 2018 - 4:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chis collins, NY-27, agriculture.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today voted for the 2018 Farm Bill that will strengthen and grow the Western New York dairy economy.

In recent years, the dairy industry has faced significant challenges, including an overall decline in milk consumption due to unfair trade practices with nations like Canada. Provisions in the Farm Bill make commonsense reforms to safety net programs put in place to help farmers during a downturn.

Collins has been a staunch advocate for expanding the current H-2A visa program that has not met the need of dairy farmers to find a legal, experienced workforce. Provisions to address issues with visas were not included, although Collins was assured by House Leadership that a separate bill to solve these problems will be considered in July.

“Our nation’s dairy farmers are struggling and we have to do everything we can to keep this industry alive in Western New York,” Collins said. “I’ve met with local farmers who have told me on numerous occasions that the Margin Protection Program was simply not working and was based on flawed logic.

"The reforms passed in today’s bill are going to help these farmers better utilize this program as we continue to make reforms that will boost this industry.”

This legislation would provide greater coverage to dairy farmers through the Margin Protection Program (MPP) and will allow a farmer to participate in both the livestock and dairy protection programs. Additionally, the program will be relabeled the Dairy Risk Management Program (DRMP).

The newly created DRMP eliminates the current 25-percent minimum coverage level and allows producers to elect levels in 5-percent increments. It will also add higher coverage levels of $8.50 and $9 per CWT, a provision Collins advocated for in a 2017 letter to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (TX-11).

The legislation will also require the United States Department of Agriculture to study the accuracy of milk and feed costs used to determine the margin. This was implemented in response to the large number of farmers that were unable to utilize the program because of ineffective calculations.

Collins added: “Since I have gotten elected to Congress, our region’s agriculture industry has been a main priority and I’m committed to continuing to do what is best for our farmers. While we still have work to do to turn this industry around, I’m pleased with the reforms we passed today.”

For more information on H.R. 2, Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, click here.

June 20, 2018 - 3:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in immigration, chris collins, NY-27, news, notify.

This afternoon, The Batavian contacted the office of Congressman Chris Collins and asked for a statement on the current controversy over reports of children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Statement from Rep. Chris Collins:

“Last night, House Republicans had a very productive meeting with President Trump. I am pleased to hear he signed an executive order and is supportive of also fixing this crisis legislatively by closing the loopholes in our immigration laws and significantly increasing our border security.

It is very sad to see children without their parents at our borders, and as a compassionate country we are taking action to keep families together while making sure we won’t be faced with a similar crisis in the future.”

June 18, 2018 - 12:26pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

With outrage continuing to grow across the country regarding the treatment of children at the border, it is troubling that Representative Chris Collins remains silent. His opponent for the November 6th election, Nate McMurray, has been outspoken on this issue, demanding a response from Representative Collins for weeks.

McMurray states “On this, and so many issues, Christopher is silent and out of sight. To not have an opinion on a matter of such national debate, when even the First Lady has spoken, is negligent.”

McMurray continued, “This is also a local issue. Whether we care to admit it or not, local farms have used foreign works for years. Christopher has been in office during a period of population collapse in NY27. To help out local agricultural businesses he should have been in the forefront of immigration reform, not waiting for someone else to lead. Instead, he’s done what he always does -- blame the other side and scapegoat the weakest among us.”

McMurray pledges to protect our borders as a U.S. Representative but says he will do it with dignity and goodness.

“I’ll do it in a way that makes us safe, but keeps us proud.”

NOTE: Yesterday, The Batavian published Collins visits Stein Farms to talk about what he's doing for the dairy industry, which discusses, among other things, the congressman's efforts to support immigration reform.

Local dairy farmer Dale Stein said, "What he has done has forced votes on immigration. He's working with other Republicans and working bipartisan with Democrats. Now he's forced votes on immigration so that we can maybe get immigration settled and fix for farmers and everybody else. It's been left in limbo for too long. Congressman Collins, working with others, including the Democrats, is pushing to get this settled. I support him 100 percent on that."

June 17, 2018 - 6:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in dairy farmers, agriculture, chris collins, NY-27, notify.

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Rep. Chris Collins and dairy farmer Dale Stein.

Americans should be encouraged to buy more milk, Rep. Chris Collins told a group of dairy farmers gathered at Stein Farms in Le Roy yesterday to hear about the congressman's plan to encourage the USDA to promote milk consumption, along with his thoughts on immigration and trade policy.

"Whether it's health or otherwise, just think 'drink milk' because right now our biggest issue in Western New York is a supply-and-demand issue," Collins said. "You know we had some of the yogurt plants shut down. We've all faced issues within the school lunch program and certainly, we'd love to be selling milk up into Canada. Their recent move on ultra-filtered milk and Class 6 milk just made it even worse."

Collins is among a dozen members of Congress who signed a letter to Agriculture Secretary George Ervin "Sonny" Perdue III asking the USDA to implement a marketing program similar to the "Got Milk" campaign of the 1990s and 2000s.

“Years ago, messages that resonated with all Americans included ‘Got Milk?’ and ‘Drink Milk, Love Life,’ and we saw some of our favorite celebrities with milk mustaches,” Collins said in a press release the coincided with yesterday's event. “The fact is, this type of marketing works.

"In recent years, we’ve seen an overall decline in milk consumption, which has created tough economic times for our dairy farmers and we are hoping Secretary Perdue can provide some additional help.”

Whether the "Got Milk" campaign was successful is disputed by marketing experts. The campaign, created in 1993 at the behest of California Milk Processor Board, an agency created by the State of California to assist dairy farmers, reportedly increased milk consumption in California during its first year but that data was based on consumer surveys. 

In 1995, Milk Processor Education Program, a dairy-industry-funded nonprofit, licensed the "Got Milk" campaign and rolled it out nationally.

While consumer surveys indicated similar results as reported in California, actual milk consumption data gathered by the USDA tells a different story. Per-capita consumption of fluid milk has declined across the nation from 210 pounds in 1993 to 159 pounds in 2014, when the campaign was discontinued.

Dale Stein said he supports any effort to get more Americans buying more milk or that expands the market for milk.

"I'm hoping that we can increase consumer usage of dairy, and it is increasing, but increase it more so that it brings the supply closer to being in balance," Stein said. "It doesn't have to be in balance with demand. If gets closer, the price comes up."

At the beginning of the year, milk was selling at $14 per hundred pounds. That's not a sustainable price, Stein said. At that price, Stein Farms can't stay in business and pass the multigeneration farm onto the next generation. Right now, the price is $17. That is sustainable.

"If we can get the $17 milk we can do well here," Stein said. "I don't need $20 milk. I'm not asking for high milk prices, I just need the consumer to use a little more dairy and if everybody did that, that would make the difference."

It's not like Americans aren't buying more milk products, as Stein said. When accounting for all milk products, including the categories with the most growth -- cheese and butter (it used to be yogurt, but that has receded a bit) -- then Americans are consuming more milk. Through 2016, per-capita dairy product consumption increased from 613 pounds in 2006 to 646 pounds.

One reason for the current oversupply of milk, Stein said, is that a few years ago, for a few short months, milk did hit $20, and even $25. Dairy farmers across the country thought they struck gold and invested in increased production. Now they're stuck with that production.

Stein said he can't reduce production. Low prices means he has to increase it -- makeup on volume what is being lost per unit -- so he can meet his high fixed costs. He pointed to a couple of giant tractors that he bought used. 

"You're looking at $650,000 standing there," Stein said.

"I have to have cash flow," Stein added.  "If the price isn't there, the only thing I can do to is sell more milk. That means readjust what I'm feeding the cows to make more milk. We do a lot of cost cutting, too, but there's only so far we can cut costs. So you, as an individual farmer -- if everybody agreed to make a cut -- we could do it, but you can't get an agreement across the country."

Collins also said he is looking to help dairy farmers through the new five-year Farm Bill, which is expected to come up for a vote in the coming week.

The Market Protection Program, part of the previous Farm Bill, hasn't worked for dairy farmers, Collins acknowledged. 

"Most dairies have not signed onto the basic insurance program," Collins said. "On the crop side, the insurance program, the margin programs have worked. When we get into a supply and demand where there is oversupply, it just does not work. The formulas don't work. I've been told, and I think some folks here who have looked at it would say, the dairy margin program in the new farm bill will provide an option, an insurance option, that in a day like today could provide economic support on the downside."

Another long-standing problem for dairy farmers is labor and Collins said he understands that in order to address dairy's labor shortage, there needs to be immigration reform.

Collins is a member of a Republican group in the House called the Freedom Caucus. The members refused to vote on the Farm Bill unless they could get a bill on the floor dealing with immigrant labor. He also acknowledged that while the bill would fix many of the problems faced by dairy farmers, it also isn't likely to pass.

"We are putting up a compromise immigration bill," Collins said. "The bad news is, there's no dairy in it."

However, he said the Freedom Caucus has been promised a vote in July that would address the year-round visa issue that has made it so hard for dairy farmers to hire and retain qualified dairy employees.

"We've talked about the undocumented workers having a three-year visa that would be continued and renewable on a two-year basis," Collins said.

This is all good news, said Dale Stein after the event was over. He's grateful to Collins going to bat for dairy farmers. Even if the immigration bill expected to go to the floor for a vote next week doesn't pass, just getting the bill to the floor is an accomplishment after years of a congressional stalemate on immigration.

"What he has done has forced votes on immigration," Stein said. "He's working with other Republicans and working bipartisan with Democrats. Now he's forced votes on immigration so that we can maybe get immigration settled and fix for farmers and everybody else.

"It's been left in limbo for too long. Congressman Collins, working with others, including the Democrats, is pushing to get this settled. I support him 100 percent on that."

The issue making farmers across the nation nervous is the talk of trade wars.

In his remarks to local farmers yesterday, Collins didn't back down on the tough talk and praised Trump for taking on allies and rivals alike on trade policy.

"Trump rightfully has called out Trudeau in Canada for their long-standing, non-free-market protection of their (dairy industry)," Collins said. "We can't get any dairy into Canada where we were selling ultra-filtered milk. They shut down about a year ago, Class Six. Now they're dumping powdered milk around the world. I mean it's just awful. My comment to the press was, 'we caught Canada and we caught Trudeau cheating.' It's not fair trade; it's not free trade."

He said nobody can win a trade war with the United States.

"I'm not sure what Canada will ultimately do, but I think Trudeau should realize he doesn't win a trade war with the United States," Collins said. "China doesn't win a trade war with the United States. Europe does not win a trade war with the United States. Trump is the first president to stand up and say we've been in a trade war 20 years and we're losing.

He said China's plan to retaliate against Trump's planned 25-percent tariff won't work.

"The problem is we don't export that much to China," Collins said. "They're talking about putting tariffs on goods that don't even get sold in China. Well, have a nice day. It's simply rhetoric on their part."

Many of the tariffs China is planning, however, will hit agriculture directly.

U.S. dairy farmers exported $577 million in dairy products to China last year, up 49 percent from the year before. Though Collins said "we can't get any dairy into Canada," but in 2017, Canada imported $636 million in dairy from the United States. And while Trump and his trade representatives continue to threaten to pull out of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), the largest international market for U.S. dairy is Mexico, which imported $1.3 billion in dairy from the United States, up 9 percent from the year before.

As a percentage of U.S. dairy production, the percentage of dairy going overseas has grown from 8 percent in 2010 to more than 14 percent today.

Soybeans, another important crop in Genesee County, is a product targeted for retaliation by China but rather than answer merely with tariffs, China is planning to buy from Brazil, which has the capacity to grow soybean production. Some U.S. trade experts fear the United States won't get that market back even if tariffs are lifted.

The USDA considers China a potentially huge market for U.S. farmers. Last year, China imported $26 billion in U.S. farm products. 

The ultra-filtered milk dispute with Canada is a fairly recent issue. The class of product, called Class Six, was created a couple of years ago, and it's not governed by NAFTA. The price of the product is set by global supply and demand and isn't regulated. This has depressed the price below what Canada considers acceptable for its highly regulated dairy market. It won't allow Class Six imports from the United States. Meanwhile, U.S. dairy farmers are looking to expand the market for its oversupply of milk.

After Collins finished his speech, Collins and the other visitors were invited to a table filled with WNY dairy products, including Perry's Ice Cream. After Shelly Stein finished filling bowls and cones for everyone, Collins talked with Dale and Shelly Stein and other farmers.

Shelly Stein brought up the trade issue. She said she's concerned about commodities being used in a trade war.

"That's us," she said.

At this point, The Batavian jumped in with some questions for Collins about trade.

We asked about his statement that the United States could win a trade war with China when it's a large market for dairy, soybeans, sorghum, beef, and other agriculture products.

We asked, "Is this really the right approach, to get into a trade war with trading partners that agriculture depends on?"

Collins said, "We've been in a trade war 20 years. This isn't new. We've been losing the trade war for 20 years. There's just never been a president to acknowledge it. It's been death by a thousand cuts. Look at the manufacturing that's not done here and here we have been in a war for 20 years. This isn't a new war. But Trump is addressing the war that we've been losing, battle after battle after battle. The rest of the world's been taking advantage of us, all but laughing at us behind our back, as they have taken advantage of us. Trump was elected to say, 'it's done.' They are going to attempt to flex their muscles. The retaliation tends to be on the ag side, unfortunately."

Later in his reply, he said, "Right now it's noisy and there are consequences and others are gonna flex their muscles in hopes of getting Trump to cave in and say, 'No, no, no, it's OK that you cheat.' He's saying, it's not OK that they cheat. But I will tell you, as I said, they depend on us at the end of the day, whether it's Europe, whether it's Mexico, whether it's China, or whether it's Canada, if they don't trade with the U.S., they suffer. We can make any products made in China. We have huge deficits there. We may pay a little more. You know, whether it's your dinnerware or your underwear, you may pay a little more if it's made here."

Trump often Tweets about the state of the economy, how well it is doing. Low unemployment, rising wages, and if you look over the past 20 years, the Gross Domestic Product has increased every year except for 2008 and 2009. In the past 20 years, U.S. goods and services exports have grown from $500 billion to $1.4 trillion.

So if the economy is doing well and growing, we asked Collins for evidence that we're losing a trade war.

"Well, we're losing the trade war because we're not making the products here," Collins said. "We have 6.3 million people that are unemployed that don't have the skills to be a software engineer or a welder or a machinist. The assembly line jobs have disappeared."

(NOTE: Some economists blame manufacturing job loss on automation. A Federal Reserve report says 800,000 jobs were lost to China but were replaced by jobs in other sectors, primarily service, construction, wholesale and retail.)

Collins said, "There's a whole lot of folks who have given up even looking for work." He added, "Our labor participation in the adult workforce is at an all time low."

(NOTE: The Trump Administration says workforce participation has grown during his term.)

For our next question, we pointed out the iPhone recording the conversation includes inputs from U.S. companies, including the glass face, which is made in New York. Some economists estimate a trade war will cost 400,000 Americans their jobs because they make things used in products manufactured overseas or rely on inputs, such as steel, that Trump plans to tax.

The Batavian asked, "We depend greatly on trade with China. China, rightly or wrongly, is part of the WTO (World Trade Organization). Isn't using the rules that have been created a better approach to deal with these trade issues than starting trade wars?"

"No, not when they pay $3 an hour (for labor) in China," Collins said. "If they're paying $3 an hour, we'll never get our manufacturing jobs back. And what you just said is some of the raw materials are made here. Why don't we make the whole phone here?"

Adam Smith and David Ricardo addressed that question 200 years ago. Countries benefit by trade because each can specialize and therefore create the best possible products at the lowest possible costs, raising everybody's standard of living. Ricardo called it "comparative advantage."

That's a little more detail than we provided Collins (we just mentioned Smith and Ricardo in broad terms), but Collins responded, "There's some 40 percent of the world's population, 2.8 billion people, living in China and living in India. We've got 320 million, and they're paying $2 and $3 an hour. If we're going to make something in the United States, we've got to deal with that unfair, untenable differential."

We pointed out, Chinese wages, as happens in all developing countries, have been rising, creating a bigger middle class, creating a bigger market for U.S. products, particularly farm products.

"Yeah, they go from $3 to $4, from $4 to $5," Collins said. "We still lose that piece of it. We've got to level the playing field or there is no future for our children and grandchildren and we need inflation."

At which point, Collins began to discuss why we need inflation to help retire the national debt.

"Inflation is something we desperately need in this country," Collins said. "The $20 trillion of debt against a $20 trillion economy that our children and grandchildren and the 10th generation that is with us here (referring to the Stein family) deserve better. What they deserve is paying off this $20 trillion of debt in cheaper dollars, which means inflation.

"We need 4 percent per-year inflation for the next 18 years. Compound it annually so that the $20 trillion of debt is the equivalent of $10 trillion. In 18 years, and as our economy grows and doubles in 18 years from $20 trillion to $40 trillion, our debt can actually go from $20 trillion to $30 trillion. So we have a green light of 75-percent debt to GDP. We have to have inflation at 4 percent a year or our kids don't have a future."

So we asked, "So you're arguing for a hidden tax on consumers instead of reducing spending?"

"We can't ever reduce spending to cut our debt," Collins said. "Anyone who thinks so is living in la-la land. We have to grow our way to success. We have to grow our economy and inflation is part of it.

"Anyone who thinks that with our deficits today that we can pay down our $20 trillion of debt is in la-la land," Collins added. "It can never happen. We have to grow to success, grow for our kids to have a future.

"Part of that growth is inflation, and what you saw under eight years of Obama with a fake economy of no inflation, the $20 trillion of debt is truly troubling. It's $20 trillion and it's growing and without inflation, our kids are going to be living in cardboard boxes under the bridge."

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June 8, 2018 - 4:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in trade, economics, Nate McMurray, news, NY-27.

Press release:

In the wake of the trade tariffs instituted by the Trump administration, Nate McMurray is touring businesses across Western New York, talking to business owners to understand how the changing economic climate is affecting them.

McMurray met with the owners of Catalpa Farms today in Canandaigua who grow soy, which they primarily export to China.

The price of soy has tumbled from a high of $10.70 at the start of this year's growing season to $9.60 today as a result of the 25 percent tariff instituted on soybean imports, in reaction to Trump's tariffs.

The farmers said that the price drop is "killing them" and that there is a likelihood that China will begin to import soy from Argentina due to the uncompetitive price of our export. This is unacceptable.

There are no other words for the tariffs except economic warfare. McMurray believes that this is posturing at the expense of the American people.

The administration's careless trade war endangers the welfare of the American people and of the people of New York's 27th district, whose livelihoods are among the industries affected.

Trump's increasingly combative rhetoric with Canada, one of our closest allies, as well as his erratic behavior at the G7 summit casts into doubt the administration's commitment to the economic well-being of our citizens.

"Our region is interdependent on Canada," McMurray said of New York's 27th Congressional District, "turning our backs on our Canadian neighbors is unthinkable.

"Even just the petty words coming out of the White House are enough to seriously threaten jobs and incomes here at home. Actions have consequences. It's not fair to our working men and women and it has to stop."

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