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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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May 24, 2018 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today voted for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY19. This legislation is consistent with President Trump’s commitment to rebuild and reform our nation’s military.
 
“The men and women of the United States military and their families make honorable sacrifices for our nation and we must make sure they are supported,” Collins said. “Whether it is the need for appropriate equipment on the battlefield or a bigger paycheck to take care of ever-increasing living expenses, I’m proud to support this year’s NDAA because our brave service members deserve more.”
 
The FY19 NDAA gives troops a pay raise of 2.6 percent, the largest in nine years. Additionally, the legislation expands recruiting efforts and authorizes increases in the size of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard to address the increasing threats facing the United States.
 
The FY19 NDAA also includes funding for advanced education, experience and training to help the military compete with the private sector in recruiting talent with specialized skills.
 
Collins added: “In a world of increasing threats and serious neglect in recent years, we have to continue to modernize the military and make critical investments for our nation’s defense. This important legislation passed today will lay the groundwork for the United States to continue to build and maintain the most powerful military on the planet.”

May 18, 2018 - 10:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, opioid epidemic.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27), member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, applauded the advancement of 40 bills out of the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees to help combat the opioid crisis. Collins worked with his colleagues to address two specific problems related to the opioid epidemic, the over-prescription of opioids and fraud.

Collins worked with Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and Congressman Peter Welch (VT-At Large) to author an amendment that passed the Energy and Commerce Committee that improves the quality of care Medicaid patients receive.

Their bipartisan work will require states to identify and address inappropriate prescribing and billing practices under Medicaid to decrease the likelihood that an excess of these drugs will make their way into communities.

“We’ve seen the devastating impacts of the opioid epidemic in every community across our nation,” Collins said. “These harmful drugs can fundamentally change who you are and rob you of your ambition, dreams, and dignity. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to prevent addiction from happening in the first place, which is why we need more reporting and accountability from the state level.”

“The opioid crisis is devastating families in San Diego and across the country. We need to do more to address the root causes of the epidemic,” Rep. Peters said “This amendment, led by Rep. Collins, Rep. Welch and me, will help identify patterns of overprescribing and inappropriate billing through Medicaid by using data already collected by states. Most important, it will direct states to remedy any practices that indicate abuse and help reduce the likelihood that opioids reach our communities.”

“Families and communities in Vermont are struggling with the scourge of opioid addiction,” Welch said. “To contain this epidemic, the federal government must have a multi-prong strategy that includes attacking the root cause of overprescribing. Our bipartisan legislation requires state Medicaid programs identify and educate outlier providers writing an excessive number of opioid prescriptions.”

Additionally, Collins co-authored a bipartisan piece of legislation that stops payments from Medicare prescription drug programs if a pharmacy is being investigated for fraud by the Inspector General. This bill, The SENIOR Communities Protection Act, was reported favorably from the Ways and Means Committee.

Collins added: “If there is any suspicion of a person fraudulently prescribing opioids, we must quickly take action and get to the bottom of the situation before providing any compensation. There are so many factors that have contributed to the opioid epidemic, and I’m proud of the meticulous work that we have done to address all of these issues in order to prevent over-prescription and fraud.”

For more information on yesterday’s Energy and Commerce Committee hearing and to read a copy of the amendment by Reps. Collins, Peters and Welch, click here. For more information on H.R. 5676, The SENIOR Communities Protection Act, click here.

May 11, 2018 - 10:52pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news, veterans.

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Hal Mitchell, a Vietnam Veteran who served in the Air Force, receives a certificate and service pin from Rep. Chris Collins in a ceremony at Batavia City Hall today.

Here's a press release about the event:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today hosted a Vietnam War Commemoration Event in Batavia honoring more than 50 Vietnam Era veterans and distributed commemorative lapel pins from The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. This event was part of a national effort to recognize and thank Vietnam Veterans during the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“As we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, the memory is vivid in the minds of these outstanding individuals,” Collins said. “What our nation experienced during that time is unlike any other war, and we hold these Veterans in a very special regard.

"This was an extraordinarily humbling evening and these Veterans have my deepest gratitude for their selfless service.”

In addition to the Vietnam War Commemoration, President Donald Trump officially designated each March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day to honor and thank U.S. Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices.

Approximately 9 million Americans, 7 million living today, served in the military from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. More than 58,000 Americans died while serving during the Vietnam War era.

Collins added: “I was honored to meet so many remarkable men and women this evening and plan to host similar events around my district in the future.”

The Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin is available to any veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the period of Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

Veterans interested in attending future ceremonies should contact Congressman Collins district office at 716-634-2324 or visit chriscollins.house.gov.

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Michael Jones

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Alfred Rosemark

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Robert Gerke

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Gordon Crosby

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Wayne Eisenhauer

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Allen McFollins

May 11, 2018 - 11:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) announced that a bill he authored with Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, passed the United States Senate. This bill unanimously passed the House on Sept. 12, 2017 and now has unanimously passed the Senate with one amendment offered by Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on May 10.

A 2015 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and related deaths than the general population.

This revealed an enormous gap in research, which led Collins and Pascrell to author the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which will require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters.

“This is a huge win for firefighters across the United States, now that we are so close to getting this bill on President Trump’s desk,” Collins said. “When this bill becomes law, we will have a succinct and voluntary registry of cancer incidence in firefighters so we know what causes cancer in these individuals and how we can better prevent it.

"These brave men and women put their lives in danger to keep their communities and neighbors safe, and we have a commitment to do everything we can to keep them safe and healthy in return.”

“Passage of the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act in the Senate moves us one step closer to implementing this critical legislation," said Rep. Pascrell, co-chair of the House Fire Services Caucus. "Improving the well-being of firefighters who risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe is an important goal.

"Better understanding any connections between their work and an increased risk for cancer will help mitigate those risks to keep our firefighters healthy. I am hopeful that the House will act swiftly so that we can get a final bill to the White House as soon as possible and we can get the program started.”

When signed into law, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would authorize federal funding to gather data about potential risk factors in order to better improve equipment and procedures.

Participation in the registry would be completely voluntary and data collected would include 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 Firefighter Cancer Registry Act is expected to be passed in the House as amended in the coming weeks before heading to President Trump’s desk.

May 10, 2018 - 2:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, chris collins, opioid epidemic.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27), member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, applauded yesterday’s advancement of 25 bills out of the Committee to help combat the opioid crisis. Collins championed three of these pieces of legislation that will head to the House floor.

“The opioid epidemic is impacting every community across America and we have to take action in order to save lives,” Collins said. “We have seen far too many innocent lives lost and families torn apart because of addiction. I’m hopeful that this package of bills will help individuals get the treatment they need and give communities the resources required to stop this epidemic in its tracks.”

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.

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.

The additional bills focus on helping patients receive treatment and making sure these drugs do not get into the wrong hands. The Committee has identified issues with enforcement, prevention, and coverage within Medicare, and the additional legislation provides solutions that will address these areas.

A background memo, electronic copies of the legislation, and live stream of the markup can be found online here. The Committee plans to hold a second markup on opioid legislation on Thursday, May 17.

May 2, 2018 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Last week, Chris Collins took the long-overdue step of resigning from the board of Innate Immunotherapeutics, a medical biotechnology company in which he holds significant interests. It is too little, too late.

As a House member, he has repeatedly voted for legislation that would benefit the company, drafting or sponsoring no less than four bills over the last five years that would add to the company's bottom line. As an elected official, his job is to represent the interests of his constituents, not the interests of corporate shareholders.

However, there is evidence that his resignation does not come from a change of heart but from corporate restructuring. Despite the Office of Congressional Ethics stating last October that there was "substantial reason to believe" that Rep. Collins violated Federal laws on insider trading, corporate documents imply that Collins is resigning due to the company's sale to Amplia Therapeutics.

"We have to spread public awareness. Holding our elected officials accountable is the cornerstone of democracy," Nate McMurray said.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, among others, has called for Collins to recuse himself from any legislation affecting pharmaceutical companies. This is the only correct course of action.

My opponent's many entanglements mean that he cannot have the interests of his constituents at heart while working to boost company profits. Nobody can serve two masters.

The people of Western New York deserve better. We are dealing with a healthcare crisis on multiple fronts, from the opioid epidemic to funding rural hospitals. Rep. Collins has shown, time and time again, that he is willing to vote for his bank account not for the people he serves.

"If the public better understood what Chris Collins has done, there wouldn't even be a race," McMurray said. "The problem is when you have so much money, you think you're untouchable. You think you can put a sign in every yard and call it a day."

April 24, 2018 - 4:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced that the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act was reported favorably from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Collins and Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) co-authored the House version of this bill that unanimously passed the House on Sept. 12.

The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. A 2015 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and related deaths than the general population, revealing an enormous gap in research.

“In communities across the United States, firefighters so bravely run toward emergency situations and put their lives in danger to help their neighbors,” Collins said. “I thank my Senate colleagues for their work in advancing this important legislation through committee and for their commitment to the safety of our nation’s firefighters.

"We need more information to determine how to better improve equipment and protocols to keep these men and women safe, and this was a huge step in the right direction.”

“I am thankful for the efforts of senators Bob Menendez, Lisa Murkowski, Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander in advancing companion legislation establishing a national firefighter cancer registry through committee,” Pascrell said. “The passage of this bipartisan, bicameral bill by voice vote speaks volumes to our collective commitment to the brave men and women in the fire services.

"We are now a step closer to better understanding firefighters’ risks for developing cancer. Our legislation will ensure firefighters who enter smoke-filled rooms and hazardous environments in service to their communities get the support they need. While the House has already passed legislation which would create this registry, I look forward to the Senate legislation moving through its chamber so we can get a bill on the President’s desk this year.”

If signed into law, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would authorize federal funds to gather data that would study 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.

April 19, 2018 - 11:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

The State of New York knows better than most the importance of 9-1-1. When disaster strikes, New Yorkers depend on a fully functional, responsive 9-1-1 emergency communications system. And, after the September 11, 2001 attack, it was the New York firefighters and police officers who called on Congress to provide dedicated spectrum to public safety and additional funds to migrate these systems to next generation 9-1-1, which will allow public safety officials to receive real time location information, live video feeds, and much more.
 
Ironically, the very funding that New York and many others fought for in Congress as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act is not available to New York. That is because a provision in the law prevents states that divert 9-1-1 fees collected from consumers on their phone bills for other purposes from receiving these federal funds. The thought being, if the state is not prioritizing its 9-1-1 system, the federal government should not contribute its scarce funding that would allow for more diversion.
 
Unfortunately, New York has been found by the Federal Communications Commission to be a diverter of 9-1-1 fees every year since the Commission began collecting this information in 2009. Each state is responsible for its own 9-1-1 system, which typically includes public service answering points (PSAPs), otherwise known as the 9-1-1 call center, and personnel.
 
States fund these services through a fee on consumers’ phone bills. According to data provided to the Commission, the average 9-1-1 fee from wireline services is $1 per line per month and the average 9-1-1 fee on wireless phone bills is $0.92 per line per month. In New York, the state collects $1.20 for each mobile device – one of the highest in the nation.
 
Each year the Commission submits information on state 9-1-1 fee diversion practices to Congress. The goal being that this name and shame role of the federal government will pressure states to prioritize 9-1-1 funding and ensure that money they collect from their consumers is going where it should be going. This approach appears to have led to recent successes in states like Rhode Island and New Jersey – both of which are considering legislation to end their fee diversion practices.
 
Perhaps New York did not like this notoriety because this year the state refused to even submit data to the FCC. Despite this, the Commission found in its Report to Congress that based on sufficient public record information and the state’s previous history, it still could conclude that New York diverts funds for non-public safety uses. In fact, under state law, New York diverts approximately 41 percent to its General Fund. And, according to state tax records, in 2016, New York collected more than $185 million from the state’s 9-1-1 fee, but only dedicated $10 million in support of the state’s PSAPs.
 
Unfortunately, this practice has real world consequences for the citizens of New York. The Associated Press recently reported that New York is the only Northeastern state with serious service gaps in rural areas, which is of particular concern for many parts of Western New York. This article also estimated that the state needed $2.2 billion to fully upgrade the state’s 9-1-1 system. With a shortfall like this, one must wonder why the state would risk falling further behind by prioritizing funding for the General Fund rather than 9-1-1 services.
 
On Friday, we will travel to the Niagara County Emergency Management Office to see firsthand the great work that they do to respond to the emergency needs of Western New Yorkers and how New York’s 9-1-1 fee diversion practices are affecting PSAPs in rural areas. Our message will be clear: New York’s diversionary tactics must stop. If the state doesn’t act, we will have to explore ideas at the federal level to bring an end to this practice once and for all.

April 14, 2018 - 7:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, arts, NY-27, news, notify, batavia.

congressionalartshow2018b.jpg

Students from more than a dozen high schools in the NY-27 Congressional District entered the annual Congressional Art Show and when the top four winners were announced at GCC this morning, all four students came from Batavia High School.

Kiara Cherry won top honors and her work, "Out from Underneath," will be displayed in the Capitol Building for 12 months and she will travel to Washington, D.C., for the show's opening.

Rep. Chris Collins was on hand for the awards presentations after visiting with the students in the Roz Steiner Gallery and viewing their work.

Runner-up was Tara Clattenburg and honorable mentions went to Stephanie Hoy and Sophia Dinehart.

The art show judges see only the pictures. They don't know the artists' names or what schools they go to.

Kiara said her work is meant to reveal how people are different and everyone has a story.

The work didn't come together easily. First, she spent nearly three months working on it and as she neared completion she spilled "a ton" of India ink on it. Rather than give up on the project, she reimagined it, using pages from an old dictionary to help frame the painting of the two girls in the picture.

"I had completely different plans," Kiara said. "It was just unbelievable how everything changed, and so quickly, but it actually ended up better than my original conception."

Ask what lesson she learned from that process, she said, "Not to be cheesy or anything, but it’s like the Bob Ross quote, 'we don’t make mistakes, just happy accidents.' That was a happy accident because it paid off in the end."

Kiara wasn't surprised BHS swept the awards.

"At Batavia, everyone there is so amazing and they work so hard for what they do," she said. "We all encourage each other and Mrs. A (Mandi Antonucci) is an amazing art teacher."

congressionalartshow2018b-2.jpg

Sophia Dinehart tells Collins about her painting, which is a portrait with bees and a honeycomb. She is showing, she said, how we all have ideas and thoughts always buzzing around in our heads.

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Stephanie Hoy

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Eva Jensen, Perry High School, with a painting of a national park in Utah, where she once lived.

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Tara Clattenburg

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April 14, 2018 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, chris collins.

Press release: 

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today signed a letter that will be sent next week to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging him to put an end to Canada’s Class 7 pricing program and dairy tariff walls during ongoing NAFTA negotiations. Canada’s pricing program has created an unfair playing field and has essentially eliminated U.S. exports of certain dairy products.
 
Collins also voiced support for provisions in the draft of the 2018 Farm Bill released on Thursday, which makes the voluntarily Margin Protection Program (MPP) more effective and more affordable. This program was passed into law in the 2014 Farm Bill and has provided milk producers and processors with critical protections as milk and feed prices fluctuate.
 
“It is an unfortunate reality that our dairy industry has taken a hard hit in recent years due to unfair trade practices with Canada,” Collins said. “Dairy has always been a vital industry in Western New York and I’ve been a staunch supporter of programs that will help our nation’s farmers get by during tough times. We must continue to make reforms that benefit the agriculture industry, in turn, strengthening and growing our nation’s economy.”
 
In the letter to Lighthizer, Collins stresses the urgency of tackling issues with Canada’s unfair trade practices. While the Trump Administration has condemned Canada’s actions on dairy trade over the past year, Collins emphasized the millions of workers with jobs tied to agriculture and the importance of the dairy industry in Western New York.
 
The proposed changes to the MPP include higher coverage levels, lower premiums, and providing more flexibility to farmers when it comes to the length of their coverage. Additionally, the draft proposes changing the name of the program to Dairy Risk Management Program (DRMP) for Dairy Producers and authorizes it through 2023.
 
Collins added: “Holding Canada accountable and demanding fair treatment needs to be top of mind as NAFTA negotiations continue. And as we work in Congress to pass a Farm Bill, we will make sure dairy farmers have the protections they need as we continue to survive in this unfair market.”

April 13, 2018 - 11:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

This week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, appeared before Congress where lawmakers took turns asking how (and if) Facebook respects our privacy. One Congressman, however, seemed less concerned about privacy and more concerned about using his seat to make another rich friend.

Chris Collins said, after hearing his fellow members of Congress interrogate Zuckerberg, "I sincerely know in my heart that you do believe in keeping all ideas equal. You may vote a certain way or not, but that doesn't matter."

Reacting to that response, Collin’s Congressional opponent Nate McMurray says, “In his heart? His heart? No one cares about his heart. We care about what’s in his servers. That company collects and searches every little detail of our lives. And we know that this data has been used for malicious purposes.”

McMurray further adds, “I’ve been to Facebook's headquarters. It’s an amazing company, with great power. And that's the point. We need to understand how that power is used and whether it is being manipulated. Collins, once again, failed to do his job. Indeed, it seems Collins was more worried about control and manipulation than about Facebook's actions."

April 13, 2018 - 11:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and Congressman Matt Cartwright (PA-17) today introduced The Fairness to Pet Owners Act. This legislation would save pet owners money by allowing them the freedom to choose where they buy prescription pet medications.

Currently, pet owners must ask for a written prescription from their veterinarian for medications. Most consumers do not realize they have the right to request a written prescription in order to shop around and find the prescription at a lower cost. This bill ensures that pet owners receive a written script, either on paper or electronically, which gives more power to the consumer to choose where to purchase their pet’s prescription.

“When it comes to eyeglasses or contacts, consumers receive a copy of their prescription and are able to do the research to find the lowest price,” Collins said. “As a pet owner myself, I know that most owners will do anything to keep their pets happy and healthy, although these expenses do add up. There is no reason that pet owners shouldn’t have the flexibility to shop around to see if they can save some money.”

“As a dog owner, I know how much of an investment it is to have a pet,” Cartwright said. “This bipartisan legislation is a simple, yet important step in giving pet owners the flexibility they need to save money and keep their animals healthy.”

“PetSmart is pleased Congressman Chris Collins and Congressman Matt Cartwright have reintroduced the Fairness to Pet Owners Act,” said Kathy Mitchell, senior director, Government Affairs at PetSmart. “We believe the benefits of pet ownership should be accessible to all Americans.

"Helping to lower the cost of caring for a pet is a fundamental part of ensuring everyone can experience the joys of pet ownership. Giving pet owners the ability to take prescriptions to their preferred pharmacy will help achieve this goal.”

Robert D. Atkinson, president, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said: “Just as the Contact Lens Prescription Release Act gave contact lens wearers the right to receive a copy of their prescription so they had the choice as to where to purchase their lens, the Fairness to Pet Owners Act will give pet owners the right to choose where to purchase pet medication. This legislation is pro-consumer and pro-competition.”

This issue impacts most American families, 65 percent of households in the United States own at least one pet spending a total of approximately $10 billion on pet medications each year. Pet medications are a significant and frequent expense, with 77 percent of all dogs taking some sort of medication.

This legislation has the potential to create competition in the marketplace leading to lower costs for consumers. Additionally, consumers will have more flexibility to purchase generic medications or have them filled online or at big box pharmacies, which are oftentimes cheaper. For example, a common heartworm tablet given once a month to dogs is sold for about $61 at a veterinary clinic but a generic version retails for only $42, saving a pet owner more than $200 per year.

April 13, 2018 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

After months of walking petitions and knocking on doors throughout New York's 27th Congressional District, the Collins for Congress campaign has announced they have filed 9,017 petition signatures to qualify for the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party ballot lines in November.

"First and foremost, I want to thank all of our tremendous volunteers for braving the cold weather and devoting their personal time over the last few months to collecting petition signatures for our campaign," Congressman Chris Collins said.

"After working with President Trump to protect our shorelines, help create more jobs in Western New York and defend our constitutional freedoms, our filing proves that our efforts are resonating all across New York's 27th Congressional District.

"While I'm proud to have qualified for the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party ballot lines, I am going to continue fighting for the support of every NY-27 resident."

Among the 9017 in total petition signatures submitted to the New York State Board of Elections, Congressman Collins has filed the following number of signatures for each Party Ballot line:
- Republican: 6,182
- Conservative: 1,197
- Independence: 1,638

"Whether it's defending President Trump against partisan attacks, standing up for our Second Amendment rights, or helping to create more jobs in Erie County, Congressman Collins has proved time and time again he's the leader we need in Congress," said Nick Langworthy, chairman of the Erie County Republican Committee.

"Working families in Erie County know Congressman Collins will always fight for our values in Washington. We're proud to support his reelection campaign."

Ellen Grant, chairwoman of the Wyoming County Republican Committee, said: "The members of the Wyoming County Republican Committee are committed to supporting Congressman Collins in his reelection campaign.

"He understands the diverse issues that concern the residents of our county and has a strong voice in Washington. We appreciate all of his efforts on our behalf and look forward to working with him for years to come."

Jason J. McGuire, chairman of the Livingston County Conservative Party, said: "Livingston County Conservatives appreciate the attentiveness that Rep. Chris Collins has shown to local issues. Our meetings with Mr. Collins have demonstrated that he has a firm grasp of the issues pertinent to our region.

"His record of representation has thus earned him another term, and our party is pleased to assist in putting his name on the ballot. We look forward to Livingston County's continued relationship with our congressman."

Ralph C. Lorigo, chairman of the Erie County Conservative Party, said:"The Erie County Conservative Party is proud to be 100 percent behind our Congressman, Chris Collins. He knows Erie County…he knows his constituents and he is a fighter to return our country to one of lesser governmental interference and greater process prosperity."

April 9, 2018 - 3:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Nate McMurray, chris collins, NY-27.

Press release:

Saturday night, Congressman Chris Collins again attacked the student-led forum held in Buffalo, which was organized by students across his district. And once again, he did it behind closed doors in an environment that he could control.

In an interview posted in its entirety on wgrz.com, Collins swings wildly with his attacks and unfounded allegations. Previously he said the event would be a “circus.” But when confronted about it being respectfully held in a church, he scoffed, literally laughing and going back to labeling all those involved, calling it a “partisan, liberal event.”

When told by the reporter from the news station that she witnessed and collected unsolicited questions from all those in attendance, Collins refused to acknowledge it and insisted that the event was an “a joke.”

In the interview, Collins also claims that panel participant and his Congressional race opponent Nate McMurray was “handpicked” by Brian Higgins to participate.

McMurray responds, "Higgins had nothing to do with me being there, and in fact was probably not happy the students invited me. Collins is clinging to that empty take like a man clinging to (a) life preserver. As you can see in his interview, he’s worried. He wants to create as much confusion, so he never has to face me directly."

Collins also claims that McMurray had as much a right to be there as an Uber driver.

McMurray responded, “Honestly, I should just laugh it off, but it’s such an elitist thing to say. I hope there were some Uber drivers there. I met some teachers, law enforcement folks, and others. I’m guessing we had a few Uber drivers, too. It was packed!”

As to Collins claims that it was partisan, McMurray replies, “I volunteered not to go, if he decided to go. I would have been much happier if he, as our elected official had taken the stage. I could have done what he did and sit home and watch the tape, because he obviously studied every second of it.

"But he, like every other member of his party who refused to attend, and there were multiple invitations sent out to multiple elected officials, decided to make it a partisan event.”

McMurray says he will now do what Collins would not.

“I am going to reach out to pro-Second Amendment groups. And I will reach out to the student groups once again to see if they also want to participate. But I want to speak before groups that may not agree with me, that may even boo me. There will be another forum.

"That’s how we solve things in America. We don’t retreat to our partisan camps. We don’t attack behind the closed doors of television studios. We meet in the public square, the town hall.”

March 29, 2018 - 7:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today commemorated the first National Vietnam War Veterans Day to recognize the brave individuals who served in our nation’s military during the Vietnam War years.

“Today is a very special day as we give our deepest thanks and recognize the admirable service of all Vietnam War veterans and their families,” Collins said.“These heroes hold a special place in our nation’s history and we are forever grateful to those who answered the call of duty. This is a long overdue honor as Americans unite to remember those who never came home and support those who did.”

During his first year in office, President Trump last year signed into law the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act that establishes each March 29 as a day to honor those veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices. Approximately 9 million Americans, 7 million living today, served in the military from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975.

Congressman Collins’ office is distributing pins to Vietnam War veterans from The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. Any veteran who served in Vietnam is eligible for one and should contact Alex Gould in the Congressman’s office at (716)634-2324 for more information on obtaining a pin.

Collins added: “There is no single action that gives Vietnam War Veterans the recognition and gratitude they deserve, but as we gather in our communities today I am thankful to know that Vietnam War Veterans Day will be an ongoing tradition to honor some of America’s bravest.”

March 22, 2018 - 4:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, Charles Schumer, kristen gillibrand, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today voted for legislation that funds all federal government discretionary programs for the 2018 fiscal year. The legislation includes providing the nation’s troops their biggest pay raise in eight years as a part of the biggest increase in defense spending in the past 15 years.

“This bill makes historic investments in the brave men and women who protect our nation by correcting the mistakes of the Obama administration by providing the military with the resources they need,” Collins said.“Hardworking Americans can be assured that Congress is spending taxpayer dollars wisely to make sure our children can feel safe in their schools, our towns and cities have sound infrastructure, and we are closing gaps in security at our borders.”  

The legislation includes funding for President Trump’s opioid campaign to combat drug abuse and the Fix NCIS bill to close loopholes in background checks for gun purchases. A total of $1.6 billion was allocated to begin building a wall along the southern border over the next six months.

The funding package includes a provision echoing Collins’ legislation to create a federal database of broadband infrastructure that would make it easier for carriers to build out in rural areas.

Congressman Collins has been an advocate for the University of Rochester’s Laboratory of Laser Energetics, which was given $75 million in the funding package to continue its groundbreaking research. The legislation also extends the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through September 2018, while keeping in place pilot training requirements enacted after the 2009 Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash in Clarence.

Additionally, this bill gives the Trump administration the ability to increase the number of H-2B visas available for temporary farm workers based on the needs of the nation. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) received full funding to protect the lakes from environmental threats.

Collins added: “While this legislation is good for Western New York, it also sets the United States on a path toward a safer, stronger America. Key priorities of Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration are represented in this package and I applaud its passage as we work to get America back on track.”

The legislation adheres to the previously enacted budget “caps” agreement and contains the full legislation and funding for all of the 12 annual Appropriations bills. For more information on the TARGET Act [Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018], click here.

Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand also put out a joint statement in support of the budget bill:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced major victories that will greatly help Upstate New York in the bipartisan federal funding bill. The senators said these victories will boost the economy and support vital programs, including funding for the opioid prevention, Great Lake Restoration Initiative (GLRI), funding HOME/CDBG Program, critical railroad safety programs, support for education and higher-education and much more. Schumer and Gillibrand provided statements for several major areas in which the budget will be a major boost for Upstate New Yorkers. 
  
The bill includes the following victories for Upstate New York: 

Opioid & Prescription Drug Prevention & Treatment Programs

“For too long, heroin and opioid use, fatal overdoses, and drug-related crimes have been on the rise, plaguing Upstate New York communities,” said Senator Schumer. “New York deserves every federal resource possible to combat the growing scourge of opioid drug abuse and trafficking – and to increase treatment and prevention. That is why I went to bat for New York and pushed my colleagues to include this vital funding to combat the opioid epidemic in the final federal funding bill. The federal government must continue to invest in new and innovative ways to combat heroin and opioid use and tackle this challenge head-on.”

“Too many lives have been destroyed, too many families have been torn apart, and too many communities all over New York are suffering because of the opioid epidemic,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This is a public health crisis, and our communities need more funding and resources to combat and help address substance abuse. I’m pleased to see that following our push, the omnibus bill includes a strong investment for states and community organizations across New York to expand prevention, treatment and monitoring programs.”

Specifically, the agreement provides a $3.3 billion increase over last year’s funding levels for efforts throughout government departments and agencies to combat the opioids and mental health crises, including more than $2.8 billion in increases for treatment, prevention, and research for programs within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will get a $1.4 billion increase over last year; SAMHSA leads our nation’s treatment efforts to address the opioid and heroin crisis gripping communities throughout New York and the rest of the nation. In each of the last two fiscal years, New York received more than $111 million from SAMHSA block grants.

Additionally, the agreement funds nearly a $2 billion increase over last year’s levels for programs beyond SAMHSA in efforts through several departments and agencies specifically targeted to attack the opioid/heroin crisis.

·         $300 million more for Department of Justice initiatives including interdiction, enforcement, drug and mental health courts, and treatment programs;

·         $350 million more for the Centers for Disease Control for preventing prescription drug overdoses;

·         $500 million more in NIH funding for targeted research on opioid addiction within the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA);

·         $415 million more to the Health Resources & Services Administration, which promotes health care in underserved communities and oversees Community Health Centers. There are 65 CHCs in New York, serving nearly 2 million patients in 2015 and employing more than 15,000 New Yorkers; and

·         $61 million more to the Department of Veterans Affairs for additional funding for treatment and prevention ($434.6 million total).

More after the jump:

 

March 13, 2018 - 4:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, broadband, news.

Press release:

On the heels of a rural broadband roundtable, Friday afternoon with local community leaders, Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) called for easing regulations on Internet service providers helping them to invest in underserved communities like northern Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming counties.

“It is staggering that 65 percent of my Congressional district is underserved by high-speed Internet, which is why it is so important government and providers work together to make sure our communities have the services they need,” Collins said.

Collins also expressed concern about recent efforts by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Chuck Schumer to implement overbearing regulations that would make it harder to provide internet service in these areas.

“Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer could hurt rural Internet expansion by falsely claiming that the internet is broken and the only way to fix it is more regulations. Their actions would be detrimental by creating more red-tape that providers would have to navigate,” added Collins.

Collins pointed to the Obama Administration’s implementation of heavy-handed rules that deterred Internet providers from investing in Western New York’s rural communities. As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Collins has worked to correct discrepancies in current law to make sure companies who build the groundwork to provide everyday Americans with internet service are able to continue expansion.

"The promise of reliable and affordable high-speed Internet in the rural parts of our counties has been an elusive dream for over seven years, and our residents and businesses continue to be frustrated with the progress to-date,” said David Godfrey, Niagara County legislator.

“Current Internet services in the rural areas fall well short of the expectations of our taxpayers, and the promise for newer technology seems well over the horizon. Thank you, Congressman Collins, for always being here for us."

"Our meeting with Congressman Collins brings continued hope that our counties will receive the technology they deserve and desperately need,” said Lynne Johnson, Orleans County legislator. “The Congressman has always given his fullest support to the Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance (NORA) as we push for those services that will help ensure every resident, student, school, small and agribusiness across our two counties, and the entire GLOW region receive internet that is equal to that of more metropolitan areas in New York State."

Collins said “We need to work together to ensure our communities have the resources they need to run their businesses, pursue educational opportunities, and connect with their loved ones. I am thankful for the support of local leaders that know what is best for Western New York as we continue to fight for an environment where businesses can succeed so consumers can benefit.”

March 7, 2018 - 2:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, NY-27, news.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins today released the following statement announcing this year’s Congressional Art Competition and encouraging local high school students in New York’s 27th District to participate.

“Each year I am impressed by the talent of the hardworking students across the 27th District as I review their submissions to the Congressional Art Competition,” Congressman Collins said. “This is a unique opportunity for students to showcase their creativity and an exciting chance to have a piece of artwork hanging in the United States Capitol. One of the events I look forward to the most each spring is the reception celebrating the artists and their work.”

Now in its 36th year, the Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students who reside in New York’s 27th Congressional District. Last year there were more than 70 submissions. The winning artist will receive a round trip flight to Washington, D.C., to see their artwork in the U.S. Capitol, where it will be on display for one year.

Submissions are due to either of Congressman Collins’ two district offices no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11. A reception and award ceremony will be held on Saturday, April 14th, at the Roz Steiner Art Gallery, located on the Genesee Community College campus in Batavia. Local high schools have been notified regarding contest rules and submission guidelines.   

Interested students should see their art teacher for details or contact Patrick McKinney from Congressman Collins’ office at (585) 519-4002.

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