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Kirsten Gillibrand

Schumer, Gillibrand release statements on bipartisan gun safety bill

By Press Release

Press release from Sen. Charles Schumer:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today released the following statement on the announcement of a bipartisan gun-safety framework:

 “Today’s announcement of a bipartisan gun-safety framework is a good first step to ending the persistent inaction to the gun violence epidemic that has plagued our country and terrorized our children for far too long. Once the text of this agreement is finalized, I will put this bill on the floor as soon as possible so that the Senate can act quickly to advance gun-safety legislation.

“As the author of the Brady-background checks bill, I am pleased that for the first time in nearly 30 years Congress is on the path to take meaningful action to address gun violence. I applaud Senators Chris Murphy, Kyrsten Sinema, John Cornyn, and Thom Tillis for their leadership in these discussions and the bipartisan group of Senators who worked in good faith to reach this agreement.

“This important legislation will limit the ability of potential mass shooters to quickly obtain assault rifles by establishing an enhanced background check process for gun purchasers under age 21, invest in the adoption and expansion of state red flag laws, close the boyfriend loophole, establish federal penalties for gun traffickers, and fund critical support services to help address our nation’s mental health crisis. After an unrelenting wave of gun-related suicides and homicides, including mass shootings, the Senate is poised to act on commonsense reforms to protect Americans where they live, where they shop, and where they learn. We must move swiftly to advance this legislation because if a single life can be saved it is worth the effort.”

Press release from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand:

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today issued the following statement on the announcement of a bipartisan gun safety deal:

“The bipartisan gun safety announcement is an important step toward tackling the gun violence that plagues our communities, schools, hospitals and places of worship. Throughout my career, I have fought for legislation to strengthen background checks, combat gun trafficking up the Iron Pipeline, close the boyfriend loophole and fund mental health services— I’m grateful that this deal includes many of these important commonsense measures. I am proud of Senator Murphy, Senator Cornyn and the entire bipartisan group that worked together to craft this important package, and I look forward to working with them to get it through Congress and onto the President’s desk.”

Tribal communities to get $3.7M in HUD grants to improve housing

By Press Release

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $3,702,246 in federal block grants for seven New York tribal communities through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Indian Housing Block Grants Program.

Included is $35,007 for the Tonawanda Band of Seneca in Basom.

The funding, authorized in the American Rescue Plan, will go toward developing new affordable housing projects and improving existing units on Indian reservations and lands, in turn providing tangible relief to individuals and families. 

“Let me make this clear: safe housing, especially during a pandemic is a right,” Senator Schumer said. “This federal investment gets us closer to our goal of ensuring that every New Yorker has a safe place to call home, including our neighbors in New York’s tribal communities.

"I have long believed in the importance of directing resources to historically disadvantaged communities, and that need is even more pronounced in this crisis which has done so much to worsen those inequities. I will always fight tooth and nail so all of New York’s tribal community members have a place to call home.”

“I am proud to announce this American Rescue Plan funding to combat homelessness across the country,” Senator Gillibrand said. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have exacerbated housing insecurity across New York, especially in underserved communities.

"This funding will help ensure that New York’s tribal communities have access to stable, safe, and affordable housing. No one should ever have to question whether they’ll have a safe place to sleep at night during the pandemic and beyond.” 




Cayuga Nation

Seneca Falls


Oneida Indian Nation of New York



Seneca Nation of New York



Shinnecock Indian Nation



St. Regis Mohawk Tribe



Tonawanda Band of Seneca



Tuscarora Nation



Senators Schumer and Gillibrand lose confidence in Cuomo, call for his resignation

By Press Release

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand released the following joint statement on Friday:

“Confronting and overcoming the COVID crisis requires sure and steady leadership. We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct.

"Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.”

Senators push to restore full SALT deduction on federal income tax returns, nixing $10K cap

By Press Release

Press release:

Today, U.S Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation in the new Congress to eliminate the $10,000 cap on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction starting in 2021.

The proposal would allow taxpayers to fully deduct their state and local taxes on their federal income returns. In 2017, the deduction was capped at $10,000 and resulted in a tax increase for many middle-class families.

“When it comes to SALT, New York families needed and deserved this money before the coronavirus took hold, the stakes are even higher now because the cap is costing this community tens-of-thousands of dollars they could be using amid the crisis,” Senator Schumer said.

“That is why I am proud to be leading this legislation to restore our full SALT deduction. Double taxing hardworking homeowners is plainly unfair; We need to bring our federal dollars back home to the to cushion the blow this virus—and this harmful SALT cap—has dealt so many homeowners and families locally.

“I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation to repeal the cap on the State and Local Tax deduction, a cynical policy passed by Republicans as a way to repay wealthy donors and lobbyists with big corporate tax cuts,” Senator Gillibrand said.

“The reinstating of the SALT Deduction will ensure that New York families have more money in their pockets, get much-needed tax relief and will once again be treated fairly.”

Schumer and Gillibrand pointed to the following reasons for why the SALT deduction is unfair to New Yorkers:

  • New Yorkers already subsidize other states by paying $36-45 billion more in taxes than we receive back from the federal government;
  • The repeal of the SALT deduction results in double taxation by imposing federal taxes on the income used to pay state and local taxes;
  • The elimination of the deduction drives wealthier people to other states and leaves middle- and lower-income taxpayers holding the bag to pay for school, police and other essential state and local tax burdens.

A breakdown of data from 2017 shows just how critical the full deduction was to New York homeowners. In the 27th Congressional District, for example, 33 percent of taxpayers used the SALT deduction that year, and the average deduction was for $14,096. In Genesee County, a total of 6,840 households claimed the SALT deduction and the average deduction amounted to $10,156. Countywide, 94 percent middle-income taxpayers were beneficiaries of the SALT deduction.

Across Upstate New York, the average SALT deduction was more than $13,000 across more than 1.2 million households.

Under the pre-Trump tax code, taxpayers who itemized deductions on their federal income tax returns could deduct state and local real estate and personal property taxes, as well as either income taxes or general sales taxes.

State and local income and real estate taxes had made up approximately 60 percent of local and state tax deductions, while sales tax and personal property taxes made up the remainder. According to the Tax Policy Center, approximately one-third of tax filers had itemized deductions on their federal income tax returns.

NYS set to receive critical federal funds to aid COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts

By Press Release

Press release:

Following U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s call last week with Jeffrey Zients, President Biden’s pick to be the White House coronavirus coordinator, Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today (Jan. 27) announced $466,800,000 in federal funding for New York’s vaccine distribution and administration.

These federal funds are critical to the safe and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and were allocated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Specifically, this funding covers the costs of supplies required for storing, handling, distributing, transporting, and administering COVID-19 vaccines.

This includes emergency medical care, containers for medical waste, and supplies necessary for proper storage of the vaccines including liquid nitrogen, dry ice and portable storage units. Additionally, the funding supports vaccine transportation such as refrigerated trucks and transport security, medical and support staff, onsite infection control measures, PPE (personal protective equipment) for staff and face masks for patients, temperature scanners, physical barriers and disinfection services for vaccine distribution facilities. Finally, the funding will be used for facility costs, including leasing space for storage and administration of vaccines.

“In order to get these wonderful vaccines injected into the arms of millions of New Yorkers, we must also inject hundreds of millions of dollars into New York State and New York City’s budgets – so they can get this job done ASAP to keep people safe and to reenergize our economy,” Senator Schumer said. “New York continues to face unprecedented health and economic crises and is working to combat the virus with COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.

"Federal support of the state’s vaccine distribution system is critical to delivering vaccines to New Yorkers as quickly and safely as possible. This infusion of almost half-a-billion in federal funds supports the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines to distribution sites across the state and will ensure that distribution sites are safe and equipped with the proper medical supplies, medical staff, cleaning services, and more. I will continue to fight for federal funds like these so we can effectively beat back the virus with the safe and equitable distribution of vaccines.”

“While we celebrate the authorization of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines that put us one step closer to eradicating the virus, we have to face reality – federal aid is critical to helping New York State ensure vaccinations are distributed efficiently and equitably to those who need it the most,” Senator Gillibrand said.

“I am proud to deliver nearly half-a-billion dollars in federal funding to do exactly that – get vaccines in the arms of New Yorkers. These federal dollars will help New York guard against our nation’s lagging vaccine distribution by providing resources for staff, supplies, PPE, and distribution centers. Only then can we move forward and begin to recover from the current health and economic crisis.”

Schumer and Gillibrand have been instrumental in securing federal funds for New York to fight the coronavirus and support its vaccine distribution efforts. In December, the senators delivered $1.3 billion through the COVID relief deal for vaccine distribution, testing, tracing and more. The senators previously announced $14 million in federal funding for COVID-19 vaccine preparedness and response to help New York’s public health agencies and nonprofits implement vaccine programs.

And most recently, Schumer and Gillibrand penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the department’s failure to develop and implement a comprehensive national vaccine plan under the former administration. Senator Schumer has also spoken with and communicated that New York needs three things: predictability, communication, and vaccines, in order to have an effective and efficient vaccine distribution system.

Senators get $1.4B in federal funds for higher education to help during COVID-19 crisis, GCC's share is $5.2M

By Press Release

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced an additional $1.4 billion in federal funding for New York state’s private, public, and proprietary institutions of higher education.

The funds are allocated to the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II by the recently Schumer-negotiated, Gillibrand-backed, Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).

The funding is in addition to federal funding already allocated from the CARES Act in March.

Genesee Community College will get $5,220,960.

“Our universities have been selflessly navigating the ongoing global pandemic, ripping huge holes in their budgets to prioritize the health and safety,” Senator Schumer said.

“Today’s funding I prioritized in negotiations for the recent COVID relief package will help to mitigate some of the financial devastation our colleges and universities face as the crisis continues long beyond what anyone imagined. We need to ensure that our world-class institutions of higher education right here in New York are equipped with the assistance they need to make it through this crisis and thrive.”

“New York’s universities have been hit hard by this pandemic and they’ve been forced to make tough budget cuts in order to prioritize the health and safety of their students and staff. Federal funding is critical to ensure students maintain access to a strong education throughout this crisis,” Senator Gillibrand said.

“The funding that Leader Schumer and I fought to deliver will provide an essential lifeline for these institutions to support students, provide essential technology and infrastructure for online learning, and fund increased expenses due to the pandemic. I’m proud to have secured this funding and I will continue working to deliver resources that our higher education institutions need to weather the COVID-19 crisis.”

Schumer and Gillibrand said that public and nonprofit schools will be able to use their awards for financial aid grants to students, student support activities, and to cover a variety of institutional costs, including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll. Proprietary schools must use their awards exclusively to provide financial aid grants to students.

The DOE specified that allocations to institutions were based on a formula that includes the relative shares of Federal Pell Grant recipients, the relative shares of non-Pell Grant recipients, and the relative shares of Federal Pell and non-Pell Grant recipients exclusively enrolled in distance education prior to the coronavirus emergency.

Allocations to each institution can be found here(GCC's allocation is on page 62 of the PDF file).

Senators say Feds failure in vaccine distribution must be fixed to get all New Yorkers vaccinated ASAP

By Press Release

Press release:

As New York embarks on phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccination rollout, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today called out the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) failure to develop and implement a comprehensive national vaccine plan, despite having months to do so, and demanded the Department take immediate action to fix the significant failures of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution process.

The senators said they have been requesting HHS work and communicate with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, vaccine and PPE manufacturers, public health experts, and health care providers for months to develop a plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.

“The biggest thing we want to ensure about the coronavirus vaccine is access. The vaccine must be available to whoever needs and wants it,” Senator Schumer said. “By refusing to work with local governments to implement a national vaccine plan, HHS is failing New Yorkers who are earnestly waiting their turn for a vaccine, and they must step up to address the health inequalities and distribution failures. In order to succeed in the collective goal of public health, I am demanding that HHS fix its broken distribution plan and work with municipalities to get New Yorkers vaccinated ASAP.”

Senator Gillibrand said: “New York’s health systems have been stretched to the limits and as the virus surges across the state, federal support is necessary to effectively distribute and administer vaccines. The Trump administration’s lack of leadership has hampered our nation’s vaccine distribution and resulted in doses of vaccine expiring before reaching Americans.

"Even in the final days of this administration, it’s crucial that they enact a robust federal plan to allow the incoming Biden administration to quickly reach every American in need of the vaccine. The Biden administration should not have to start from scratch to form close partnerships with state and local governments in order to deliver detailed guidance and essential resources to speed up vaccine administration.”

Schumer and Gillibrand underscored that a successful plan must include guidance and best practices on taking the vaccine from distribution to administration, provide all necessary resources to state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments and other jurisdictions, account for the significant challenges jurisdictions face in scaling up their workforces, and act to ensure vaccine distribution efforts also combat health inequities.

The senators also called for HHS to launch a massive public facing campaign to promote vaccine confidence and help people understand where, when and how to get vaccinated.

In the coming weeks, the senators emphasized that HHS must engage with states to proactively identify and address challenges to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are quickly and equitably distributed and administered across the country.

Additionally, Senator Gillibrand recently called for the passage of the Health Force, Resilience Force, and Jobs to Fight COVID-19 Act to address the nation’s lagging vaccine campaign by investing billions in local public health infrastructure and recruiting, training and employing hundreds of thousands of Americans to administer and distribute vaccines, particularly in underserved communities.

Community-based public health jobs and resources, like those created by the Health Force, are known to improve local vaccine education, outreach, and vaccination rates. The Health Force proposal would ensure the federal government has a proactive and coordinated approach to vaccine distribution and administration including delivering $40 billion a year, for the first two years, to meet the COVID-19 vaccine distribution needs and address the various public health challenges caused by the pandemic. 

Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand’s letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, signed alongside 43 other senators appears below:

Dear Secretary Azar:

We write to you with concerns about significant challenges in COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration across the country and to outline key actions the Trump Administration should have taken—and must now take—to address these challenges. With our health system and economy in crisis, and millions of lives at stake, we cannot afford for this vaccination campaign to continue to be hindered by the lack of planning, communication, and leadership we have seen so far.

President Trump tweeted on January 3rd that “the vaccines are being delivered to the states by the Federal Government far faster than they can be administered!” That should have been an indicator of a failed vaccine roll out, not a point of pride. It is the federal government’s role to ensure states, Tribes, localities, and the public are receiving the resources and support they need, rather than requiring every jurisdiction to manage on their own without the benefit of the national resources and perspective that only the federal government can provide.

Since July, we have been calling on the Trump Administration to work with states, Tribes, and localities, vaccine and PPE manufacturers, public health experts, congregate care settings, and other health care providers to develop a comprehensive, national plan for vaccines. Since September, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Operation Warp Speed (OWS) first published their playbook and strategy for vaccine distribution, state, Tribal, and local health departments have said that they need clear communication, transparent decision-making, evidence-based guidance, and financial resources to effectively implement vaccine administration plans.

Despite months to plan, the Trump Administration has failed to meet these needs or deliver promised doses to jurisdictions, and as a result of this lack of planning, only 36 percent of distributed vaccines have been administered.

We hope the recently announced efforts to scale up vaccinations in pharmacies will help to turn this tide but it is clear much more is needed. States, Tribes, and localities, providers, and the public are being left without federal support or clear, complete information about what to expect in the future as nearly 300,000 Americans fall ill daily from this virus. 

In order to avoid these failures, the Trump Administration should have issued and implemented a comprehensive national vaccines plan, including detailed guidance and an infusion of resources to support states. Federal responsibility does not end with delivery of vaccines to states, as you have suggested. Vaccine administration must be a close partnership between the federal government and state, Tribal, and local governments, with the federal government stepping up to ensure that all needs are met.

A vaccine allocated on a spreadsheet, or even a vaccine distributed and sitting on a shelf, is not enough to protect anyone. The metric that matters, and where we are clearly moving too slowly, is vaccines in arms. A comprehensive national plan should:

  • include robust guidance for states, Tribes, localities and health care providers including on personal protective equipment (PPE) usage, vaccine administration prioritization, and best practices for taking the vaccine from distribution to administration;
  • specify how the Federal government will support these entities with funding, supplies, information, and personnel—which thus far the Trump Administration has failed to do; and
  • account for the significant challenges jurisdictions face in scaling up their workforces while continuing other lifesaving public health work, which may include providing increased support for mass vaccination clinics and mobile testing units, as well as supplementing the vaccination workforce including vaccinators, logistical support, and more. 

In the absence of this long-overdue national plan, it is all the more important that the Trump Administration actively engage with state planning efforts in the coming days, identify challenges across distribution and administration, and proactively address problems that arise in partnership with jurisdictions.

In order to support the efforts outlined in a comprehensive, national plan, the Trump Administration must also quickly provide robust vaccine distribution funding to States, Tribes, and localities. In advance of vaccine distribution efforts commencing, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had provided just $617 million in funding to states for vaccine efforts—this amount was woefully inadequate. In fact, the Trump Administration falsely stated as recently as November that States did not need funding for vaccine distribution.

Ultimately, Congress provided $8.75 billion for vaccine distribution efforts in the recently enacted COVID relief bill which will meaningfully help states execute their vaccine administration plans. The bill requires a portion of this funding to be sent to states within 21 days, and President Trump’s delay in signing this legislation should not further delay the distribution of these funds.

We recognize that the CDC announced the availability of $3 billion for states for vaccination activities, but we cannot afford a repeat performance of this Administration’s decision to sit on billions of dollars in testing funds when states urgently needed them.

The Trump Administration must ensure strong support reaches jurisdictions as soon as possible to support their critical work. The challenges we are seeing in vaccine distribution also underscore the need for robust and permanent investments in public health infrastructure to get us out of this cycle of crisis and response.

The Trump Administration must act to correct the lack of transparency and communication from the federal government around COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration. Over the first two weeks of vaccine distribution, more than a dozen states found their actual vaccine allocations fell significantly below initial OWS allocation forecasts.

For several days, OWS denied these discrepancies, before ultimately admitting officials had provided states with flawed numbers. Even now, states are given just one week of advanced notice about the number of doses they will receive and have been given no information about distribution projections after February.

Local health departments are largely excluded from planning calls with OWS and CDC, even though they often ultimately receive and administer vaccines. There is no federal plan to publicly release sufficient data on vaccinations in long-term care settings, where more than 133,350 residents have died, accounting for 37 percent of all deaths from COVID-19.

The federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, which states expected to rely on to support vaccination of these particularly vulnerable populations, has administered only 17 percent of the vaccines distributed to these facilities to date.

Jurisdictions and health care providers are not the only ones in the dark; members of the public do not know when, where, or how they will be able to be vaccinated. CDC already supports a national portal to provide information to the public on where they can receive flu vaccines and other vaccines; the public needs this and more information when it comes COVID-19 vaccines, which should be broadly publicized.

Furthermore, while some states are taking steps to educate providers and the public to improve communication and build trust, the Trump Administration has failed to meaningfully address vaccine confidence, after spending months directly undermining such confidence by casting doubt on our nation’s world-class scientists and scientific agencies.

The Trump Administration should launch a long-overdue, large-scale public awareness campaign and work with leaders in communities across the country to provide science-based information to promote high vaccination rates. The federal government must play a proactive role in improving transparency and communication with public health departments and the American people.

Finally, the Trump Administration must also act to ensure vaccine distribution efforts combat rather than exacerbate the health inequities that have been laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. A failure to plan strategically and proactively for vaccine distribution means communities of color, residents of congregate care facilities, rural communities, and other populations disproportionately at-risk will remain neglected in our pandemic response.

This is especially true for the millions of health care workers of color who provide the daily care and support for residents of congregate care settings and who provide home health care. We have seen the toll this pandemic has taken on vulnerable communities, and the egregious health disparities that have resulted from this pandemic, and we must act to combat these inequities.

Since FDA granted the first emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine, only 2 percent of Americans have been vaccinated. In that same time, the United States passed 20 million cumulative cases of COVID-19 and saw a new record in daily deaths from COVID-19 when over 4,085 Americans died on January 7.

Of the 20 million doses promised by the end of 2020, only 4 million doses were administered before the end of the year. In light of this failed vaccine rollout amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, we urge you to finally take the steps necessary to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are quickly and equitably distributed and administered across the country.

Senators applaud action to protect NY dairy farmers and make Canada abide by pricing and export agreements

By Press Release

Press release:

After first raising concerns about Canada’s allocation of tariff-rate quotas for U.S. exports of dairy products in June and again in September, U.S. senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand applauded the U.S. Trade Representative’s decision to file a United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement enforcement action against Canada to protect New York’s dairy farmers and ensure fairer market access.

In a statement issued today (Dec. 11) Schumer and Gillibrand said, “Dairy is New York’s primary agricultural product and our dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the Upstate economy. They have been hit especially hard and squeezed by the economic effects of the pandemic, and poor implementation of USMCA provisions by Canada over the past five months will only further hinder their ability to recover from this crisis.

"Yesterday’s filing of the first-ever USMCA enforcement action by the United States to protect New York’s dairy farmers from Canada’s unfair allocation of tariff-rate quotas is a necessary step to ensuring that the Upstate New York dairy industry fully benefits from the agreement’s expanded market access opportunities, unimpeded by unreasonable trade barriers.

"New York’s dairy industry must have Canada fully abide by its USMCA dairy pricing and export policy commitments. We must continue to hold Canada and our other trading partners accountable and ensure equitable trading practices to help New York’s dairy farmers churn up profits that mitigate the huge losses they have suffered this year.”

Schumer, Gillibrand to feds: level the field and help NY dairy farmers churn up and milk profits

By Press Release

Press release:

Continuing their tireless advocacy for New York’s hard-hit dairy farmers in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to ensure both Canada and Mexico are held accountable to their trade commitments under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which entered into force earlier this year on July 1st.

Specifically, the senators pointed out three harmful dairy trade practices, including Canada’s recent allocation of tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for U.S. exports of several categories of dairy products, Canada’s Class 7 pricing program (Class 6 in Ontario) and lack of transparency in milk-pricing regulations, and the need for Mexico to translate its USMCA commitment of safeguarding more than 30 common cheese names for American products, into regulations.

“New York’s dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the Upstate economy, but unfortunately they have been squeezed by the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis,” Senator Schumer said. “That is why I am calling on Ambassador Lighthizer and Secretary Perdue to do everything in their power to ensure that Canada and Mexico abide by their dairy trade obligations, allowing Upstate New York dairy farmers to freely sell their product – as agreed to in the new trade agreement with both countries, the USMCA.

"The trade deal entered into force two months ago, and there can be no further delays to ensuring our New York dairy farmers can sell their products, unimpeded by unfair trade barriers, into Canada and Mexico and churn up profits that mitigate the huge losses they have suffered this year.”

“Dairy is New York’s primary agricultural product and our rural economies depend on the survival of the industry, but poor implementation of USMCA provisions on dairy will harm our dairy farmers and make it even harder for them to recover from this crisis,” Senator Gillibrand said. "Secretary Perdue and USTR Ambassador Lighthizer must hold our trading partners accountable and ensure equitable trading practices for America’s dairy farmers.”

Schumer and Gillibrand explained that under USMCA, Canada agreed to an expansion of tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for several categories of U.S. dairy products. However, recently, it has come to the senators’ attention that Canada’s recently-released TRQ allocations weaken the intent of the USMCA and will prevent New York dairy farmers from fully benefitting from the agreement’s expanded market access opportunities.

Additionally, the senators said that under the new trade deal, Canada agreed to eliminate Class 6 & 7 pricing within six months. However, as Schumer revealed in June, Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), which represents approximately 4,000 Canadian dairy farmers, requested that Ontario’s tribunal which provides an avenue of appeal on agriculture issues grant restricted access to DFO’s pricing regulations.

The senators argued that with only a few months left until the USMCA six-month deadline to eliminate Class 6 & 7, the lack of transparency and timing of DFO’s request  in combination with the new TRQs, raises questions about whether or not Canada is seeking to circumvent its dairy commitments in USMCA.

The senators also noted that U.S. dairy farmers secured a major victory in the USMCA when Mexico affirmed a list of more than 30 terms for cheese that would remain available as common names for U.S. cheese producers when exporting to Mexico, but with uncertainty remaining over how Mexico will translate its commitment to protect these common cheese names into regulations, U.S. dairy farmers are in danger of losing out on the market share they spent years developing.

U.S. senators announce City of Batavia firefighters to get nearly $69K in federal funds

By Billie Owens

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $3,351,732.05 in federal funding to fire departments across New York State to enhance departments’ response capabilities and to help them more effectively protect the health and safety of the public.

The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG).

The City of Batavia is set to get $68,880.95.

“From the peak of the pandemic to normal times, our brave firefighters are always on the front lines, risking their lives to protect their communities,” Senator Schumer said. “These courageous firefighters deserve all the federal support possible to help them do their jobs.

"I’ve fought my whole career to bring more federal resources to support our brave firefighters, and I’m proud to deliver this funding so New York’s fire departments have the resources and equipment to do their jobs and make it through the ensuing economic crisis.”

Senator Gillibrand said “Every day, first responders face dangerous conditions to protect our communities, and we must provide them with the resources needed to stay safe on the job during this health crisis. I am proud to have fought for this critical funding in support of New York’s local fire departments.

"These federal dollars will help offset costs from the COVID-19 emergency and modernize equipment that will protect our firefighters’ health and safety as they do their jobs. I will always fight in the Senate for the resources that our firefighters need to save lives.”

The senators explained that the funding comes as localities face budget shortages and consider staff cuts, including in fire departments. Schumer and Gillibrand said the funding announced today will go directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations, and state fire training academies.

A chart with the AFG breakdown appears below:

Organization Name


Funding Amount

Middleburgh, Village of



Troy, City of



Watervliet, City of



Greenville Fire District



Southwood Volunteer Fire Department Inc.



New Rochelle, City of

New Rochelle


Hornell, City of



Coopers Plains-Longacres Volunteer Fire Company Inc.

Coopers Plains


Poughkeepsie, City of



Syracuse, City of



Dundee Village



Fulton, City of



Dewitt Fire District



East Worcester Hose Co. 1

East Worcester


Watertown, City of



Lancaster, Village of



Otter Lake Fire Company Inc.



Oswego, City of



Fulton, City of



Worcester Hose Company Inc.



Tully Joint Fire District



Batavia, City of



Auburn, City of



Schumer, Gillibrand announce $9.2 million in DOT funds for Upstate roads ruined in storms last fall

By Billie Owens

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has granted Upstate New York counties devastated by the Halloween storm last year, $9,200,000 in federal funding through the Emergency Relief (ER) program.

The $9.2 million will go toward repairing roads and highways in Upstate New York, both of which were seriously damaged during the flooding, including those in the NY-27 Congressional District.

“This grant is good news for everyone in Upstate New York," Schumer said. "Last Halloween, our state, from one corner to the other, saw severe damaged after being ravaged by heavy rain, flooding, and tempestuous winds.

"This federal aid will finally begin the process of healing and recovery for these Upstate communities and ease the burden of natural disasters on New York taxpayers."

Senator Gillibrand said: “I’m grateful we could deliver federal aid to communities across Upstate New York that are still suffering from the extensive damage caused by the Halloween storms. This grant is an important first step in ensuring these communities get the resources they need to rebuild.”

During the Halloween storm, 12 counties received at least 3 inches of rain, which is nearly a month’s worth in most Upstate areas, and 27 counties received flood warnings and flash flood warnings.

Furthermore, winds blew between 60 and 70 miles per hour, knocking down countless trees, destroying private property and leaving hundreds of thousands of Upstate New Yorkers without power.

In the Mohawk Valley, hundreds of residents were evacuated and many properties remain uninhabitable. The storm even tragically took the life of a priest, Father Tom Connery, in Herkimer County, who was trapped in his vehicle during one of the flash floods.

In Western New York, floodwaters and wind caused millions in damage across the Lakes Erie and Ontario shorelines.

Schumer and Gillibrand have long advocated for federal recognition of the disaster and called repeatedly for funding to begin repairs. The DOT funding will go toward the 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, and 27 Congressional districts.

Senators announce $2M funding increase to combat tick-borne diseases in Upstate NY

By Billie Owens

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced Thursday, following their tireless advocacy, $14 million in federal funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to combat Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases and the Kay Hagan Tick Act were included in the final, soon-to-pass bipartisan spending package for Fiscal Year 2020.

The $14 million in funding amounts to a $2 million increase over last year’s level. Last year, a Schumer-backed amendment in the must-pass Health and Human Services (HHS) appropriations bill secured the first increase in CDC Lyme disease funding in five years.

The bipartisan Kay Hagan Tick Act, named in honor of the late Senator Kay Hagan who recently passed away due to complications from Powassan virus, a rare tick-borne disease, is cosponsored by both Schumer and Gillibrand and complements the CDC funding.

The senators explained that since New York remains the #1 target for tick-related disease in the United States, they went back to the mat to secure additional funding for the critical CDC program this year and fight for adoption of the Kay Hagan Tick Act.

“Upstate New York has been feeling the brutal bite of Lyme disease and tick-borne diseases for years now, and thankfully this sorely needed increase in CDC funding and the Kay Hagan Tick Act, combined, will give us the resources we need to strike back,” said Senator Schumer. “New Yorkers and their children shouldn’t have to worry that spending time outside in their backyards will leave them with a debilitating ailment like Lyme disease, and this funding will help prevent that.

"I was proud to lead the charge in securing the crucial funding and imperative legislation to combat the spread of tick-borne diseases throughout New York and will keep fighting until we can stamp out these persistent diseases.”

“I am very pleased that Congress has included in the year-end budget package funding for Lyme disease and tick-borne illness research, surveillance, prevention, and outbreak response,” said Senator Gillibrand. “New Yorkers have felt the impact of tick-borne illness for years, we need to step up our efforts to protect our communities.

"It is particularly meaningful this year, as we lost my dear friend and colleague, former-Senator Kay Hagan to tick-borne illness just a couple of months ago. I am hopeful that with this funding we will be able to prevent other Americans from suffering from the often-devastating and life-altering impacts of tick-borne illness.”

Schumer and Gillibrand said that the increase in funding for the CDC will specifically be used to target vector-borne pathogens which cause diseases in humans.

The funding will contribute to a better understanding of when, where, and how people become exposed to vector-borne pathogens, as well as boost prevention efforts related to vector-borne pathogens and mitigate potential consequences of infection.

Additionally, the funding will be used to help implement vector-borne disease diagnostics, surveillance, control, and prevention programs.

The Kay Hagan Tick Act requires HHS to develop a national strategy for vector-borne diseases, including tick-borne diseases, in an effort to coordinate efforts among various government agencies.

The bill also reauthorizes the Regional Centers of Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease for five years at $10 million per year.

Schumer and Gillibrand noted that this is especially important for New York State, as Cornell University is home to the Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases.

Lastly, the Kay Hagan Tick Act will allow the CDC to make grants to state, local, and tribal health departments in order to improve the ability to identify, report, prevent, and respond to vector-borne diseases and related outbreaks. 

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection carried by deer ticks, which can be transmitted through a bite to a human or animal. If left untreated, the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi travels through the bloodstream, manifests itself in body tissues, and causes mild or severe symptoms, depending on the case.

Lyme disease begins as a rash at the location of the tick bite and then spreads to the nervous system and joints. Early diagnosis and antibiotic treatment are crucial to recovery, and appropriate antibiotic use in the early stages of Lyme disease typically results in a swift recovery. Untreated and undiagnosed Lyme disease can lead to debilitating effects on a person’s health.

Senator Schumer and Gillibrand have long fought for federal funding for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease, which have contributed to a major spike in cases across New York State.

Last year, Schumer fought to secure more than a 12-percent increase in CDC Lyme disease funding, for a total of $12 million, which was the first increase of its kind in five years.

In 2018, during an in-person meeting with CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield, Schumer received a firm commitment from the director that he would be working to address Lyme disease in New York State.

Schumer and Gillibrand also helped secure a $2 billion increase in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding last year, which can be used to expand and build upon existing NIH-funded Lyme disease research that is already occurring at New York institutions, such as Stony Brook, Columbia University, in the SUNY system, and at Hunter College.

Schumer has traveled throughout New York State advocating for increased funding to fight tick-borne diseases and will continue to advocate for these funds for New Yorkers.

Senators secure $2.5M for Firefighter Cancer Registry, $5M for FEMA grants, and $1.5M for cancer tracking

By Billie Owens

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that they secured $2.5 million for the National Firefighter Cancer Registry as part of the bipartisan spending agreement, which is expected to pass Congress shortly.

In June 2018, Congress passed Schumer-backed legislation that established a specialized National Firefighter Cancer Registry, which is now managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Schumer has long fought on behalf of this critical registry that aims to improve collection capabilities and activities related to the nationwide monitoring of cancer incidence among all firefighters, both career and volunteer.

Additionally, Schumer and Gillibrand fought to secure critical, $5 million increases for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program and Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant program. 

“Firefighters risk their lives every day, charging into extreme danger, and exposing themselves to harmful toxins and pollutants. We owe it to these courageous men and women to ensure that if they fall ill, they receive first-rate medical care and treatment,” Senator Schumer said.

“That’s why I was so proud to lead the effort in securing a boosted $2.5 million for the absolutely paramount national firefighter cancer registry, which not only helps researchers track the incidence of cancer among firefighters, but also informs efforts to treat and eventually prevent firefighters being stricken by cancer, and major increases in federal funding for two of the grant program our first responders depend on most: AFG and SAFER. I’ll always have the backs of our local heroes—our fighters—who throw themselves in front of harm’s way to protect their communities.” 

“Firefighters put their lives on the line to protect all of us and that risk extends far beyond their firefighting. It is imperative that we give these brave responders access to the medical care they need to combat cancer and other ailments brought on by their exposure to smoke and other harmful toxins,” Senator Gillibrand said.

“I am proud that Congress has dedicated funding for the National Firefighter Cancer Register to better understand the connection between firefighting and cancer and give our firefighters access to the resources they need, and that funding for two critical firefighting grant programs has increased. This is great news for our first responders, and I will continue to advocate for them in Congress.”

According to a five-year study conducted by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, there are twice as many firefighters in the United States with malignant mesothelioma, a rare type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, when compared to the general population. The same study also found that firefighters have an increased risk of death from lung cancer and leukemia as compared to the general population.

The senators explained that firefighters are exposed to a range of harmful toxins when responding to emergency situations, often as a result of the noxious flame retardants and other chemicals that are used in everyday items, such as furniture, clothing, and children’s toys.

Experts and scientists have repeatedly sounded the alarm on the danger of these toxic chemicals because they have been found to cause developmental delays in children from long-term exposure in addition to rare cancers in firefighters when these products burn and the toxins become airborne.

Schumer and Gillibrand said research has indicated that there is a strong connection between firefighting and an increased risk for several major cancers, including testicular, stomach, multiple myeloma, and brain cancers.

Prior to 2018, there had never been a long-term registry established to track the potential connections between firefighting and incidences of cancer. Schumer and Gillibrand, therefore, said this national firefighter cancer registry is of the utmost importance, so experts and researchers can more effectively monitor nationwide trends and incidences of various cancers among firefighters – both career and volunteer.

The senators said this registry could also help medical professionals more effectively identify and treat cancer in firefighters over the long-term.

Specifically, this national firefighter cancer registry does the following:

  • Compiles epidemiological information submitted by healthcare professionals related to cancer incidence among firefighters in one comprehensive database;
  • Makes anonymous data available to public health researchers so that they have access to comprehensive datasets that will allow them to expand groundbreaking research related to firefighting and cancer;
  • Improves understanding of cancer incidence, which could potentially lead to the development of advanced safety protocols and safeguards for firefighters on the front lines each day;
  • Allows for increased collaboration between the CDC and epidemiologists, public health experts, clinicians, and firefighters through regular and consistent consultations to improve the effectiveness and accuracy of the registry. 

Schumer supported the creation of the national firefighter registry from its earliest stages, traveling from one corner of the state to the other to push the legislation that eventually established it as one of its original cosponsors.

The AFG Program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the Department’s United States Fire Administration. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program’s priorities and demonstrate financial need.

The SAFER grant program was established by FEMA within the Department of Homeland Security to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities.

The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response, and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Association and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Sen. Gillibrand nominates young man from Darien Center as candidate for Air Force Academy

By Billie Owens

Press release:

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today announced her nominations for candidates from the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region to two of the nation’s leading service institutions: the United States Naval and Air Force academies.

This year, Senator Gillibrand nominated five candidates from the Rochester-Finger Lakes Region to the service academies.

Only one candidate nominee is from Genesee County: Edward Foeller (Darien Center) – U.S. Air Force Academy.

“I am honored to nominate such dedicated and talented students to our nation’s service academies," Senator Gillibrand said. "They have demonstrated exemplary leadership abilities and an outstanding academic record, as well as a passion to serve our nation.

“Our service academies cultivate top-tier officers who bravely protect our nation, and I look forward to these nominees’ successes as they further their education and continue their commitment to our country in the armed forces.”

A selection committee formed by Senator Gillibrand chose the nominees from a large group of qualified applicants. Decisions were based on criteria including academic record, leadership potential, and overall achievement. Final acceptance is determined solely by the service academies.

The United States service academies offer a first-class education as well as a chance for young people to serve our country upon graduation as commissioned officers in the United States Armed Services.

Collins, Schumer, Gillibrand say budget bill will be good for New York

By Howard B. Owens

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:


High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)

“For too long, heroin use, fatal overdoses, and drug-related crimes have been on the rise, plaguing Upstate New York communities.  This is why I rejected the administration’s initial request to gut the Office of National Drug Control, including HIDTA, and robustly fund the program. Now communities in New York State and beyond will have the federal resources they need to combat the growing scourge of drug trafficking. I went to bat for the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA), program and now with  $280 million in federal funding an increase of $26 million from FY17, communities in New York will finally have the funding needed for increased technical expertise, more law enforcement personnel and the additional resources needed to combat heroin use and tackle this challenge head-on,” said Senator Schumer.

“I’m very pleased to announce this new federal funding to help communities in Upstate New York fight the opioid epidemic,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The opioid epidemic has already torn apart too many families and destroyed too many lives in New York, and we must use every tool and resource we have to end this crisis. This funding will help ensure that law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local level are able to better coordinate with one another to safeguard our communities from drug trafficking and abuse. I was proud to fight to make sure these funds were included in the omnibus, and I won’t stop working with my colleagues until the opioid epidemic is ultimately defeated.”

INTERDICT ACT Funding – CBP Fentanyl Detection Devices

“Deadly substances are being smuggled into our communities sold on our streets, and are destroying our families. We know how they get here and where they come from, which is why I worked to pass INTERDICT into law so that narcotics, like illicit fentanyl, entering ports of entry and international mail facilities can be quickly detected, identified and seized. With the $65 million in federal funding provided by this agreement, a nearly $60 million increase than what was originally authorized, customs agents at airports and beyond will finally have the resources they need to stop this flood and help save lives. With this new multimillion dollar investment those of the front lines will have the hi-tech tools necessary to root out fentanyl and other synthetic opioids that are leading to tragic deaths throughout New York,” said Senator Schumer.

“Too many communities across New York are suffering because of the opioid epidemic. As we continue to combat this crisis, we need to ensure that law enforcement personnel have the necessary resources to keep our communities safe,” saidSenator Gillibrand. “This critical funding will help our law enforcement control illegal imports and prevent the spread of illicit fentanyl throughout the state. I was proud to be a co-sponsor of the bipartisan INTERDICT Act, and am pleased that funding will be allotted to target one of the root sources of the opioid addiction crisis.”

HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)/ Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program
“CDBG funding is the very cornerstone of Upstate economic development efforts and community revitalization, so it was critical that we fought and won to provide substantial resources via this vital program all across Upstate New York. Investing in strong neighborhoods is an important victory to help economic development efforts in Upstate neighborhoods by providing homeownership, rental assistance, and housing rehabilitation funds. We were able to secure $1.36 billion for HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) funding and $3.3 billion for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. Without this critical funding, already vulnerable communities could have been devastated,” said Senator Schumer. “That is why I fought with every fiber of my body to prevent the proposed elimination of both the HOME and CDBG programs. This funding means local governments and communities will now have the resources they need to provide families and their children with safe and affordable housing options and can continue the neighborhood revitalization efforts that are critical to local economic development.”  

“I’m very pleased to announce this funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program and the Community Development Block Grant Program,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These programs help support economic development in rural and urban communities all over our state and helps ensure that low-income New Yorkers and their families can have a place to live no matter where they are from or what their life circumstances are. I was proud to fight for inclusion of this important federal investment in the omnibus, and I will continue to do everything I can in the Senate to support these programs.”

Great Lake Restoration Initiative (GLRI) Funding

“It is imperative that we continue to properly monitor, preserve and rehabilitate our Great Lakes – which are sources of drinking water, recreation, and jobs-- so residents and visitors can enjoy these invaluable Upstate NY resources for years to come,” said Senator Schumer. “We need to continue to protect New York’s most vital water resources – like Lake Ontario and Lake I will continue to fight year after year to secure the highest level of funding for the GLRI program. I am optimistic that this federal investment will allow for more fishing and tourism opportunities, which means new jobs and new revenue.”

“I am very pleased to announce new federal funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “The Great Lakes are some of New York’s most treasured resources, and this important program helps ensure that we can continue to restore and preserve the Great Lakes watershed for years to come. I will always fight in the Senate to protect our Great Lakes, and I was proud to fight to make sure this funding was included in the omnibus bill.”

Railroad Safety Including Positive Train Control (PTC)

“Positive Train Control will help prevent fatal crashes and derailments – and so it’s of the utmost importance that all of our rail lines have this life-saving technology installed as soon as possible. That is why I fought so hard to secure $250 million to help pay the cost of PTC implementation in cases where governments and taxpayers would have to bear the brunt of the expense,” said Senator Schumer. “We need to install cutting-edge technology that will save lives before we see more tragic derailments like the Philadelphia tragedy.”

“There is an urgent need to improve the safety of our railways and this federal funding will help implement Positive Train Control, grade crossing improvements, and other critical railway safety updates,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I was proud to have fought for these funds to be included in the omnibus language. We should continue to make these major investments in our rail infrastructure to ensure that New York State commuters and the communities around the tracks are safe and have access to the most efficient railways.”

Rebuilding Crumbling Veteran’s Hospitals

“Our vets need and deserve better healthcare in state-of-the-art facilities. This new bill will give the VA hospitals in New York and beyond the ability to repair, modernize and maintain their infrastructure.  These brave men and women fought to protect our freedom and it is our duty to protect them by providing access to high-quality health care services in modern hospitals,” said Senator Schumer.

“Our veterans risk their lives for this country, and they should be guaranteed the best care and the best treatment when they come home,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These federal funds will help rebuild New York’s veterans hospitals, so that any veteran who needs to use one will be able to receive the highest level of care. I was proud to fight for this funding, and I will always do everything I can in the Senate to protect our veterans.”

Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund

“This bill contains an important victory for updating New York’s aging water infrastructure and job creation: we secured $1.694 billion for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $1.163 billion for the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. This represents a $600 million increase in our water infrastructure. This federal funding will provide critical support to water and sewer projects across the state many of which are long overdue. New York has some of the oldest sewer systems in the country, and the State Revolving Funds can be used to upgrade and modernize water infrastructure,” said Senator Schumer. “In any given year, we have hundreds of sewer and water system projects in Upstate New York that are in need of funding, so I was proud to go to bat for this program to ensure that funding for New York was not scrapped or put on the back burner. Now I’m urging my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and in both chambers of Congress, to vote for this bill so we can send this to the president’s desk. Having safe and up to date water and sewer systems is critical to public health and helping New York towns and villages grow and prosper.”

“New Yorkers know all too well that clean water is something we can never take for granted, so I am very pleased to announce this new funding for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “These federal funds will help make sure communities in New York have the resources they need to keep their drinking water clean and safe, and to keep their wastewater systems working well. I was proud to fight for these funds, because no New Yorker should ever have to worry about whether our water is safe to use.”

Firefighter Assistance Grants

“It is critical that we continue to invest in our fire departments and brave firefighters. This bipartisan bill includes an important victory to pay for more fire equipment and hire and retain more firefighters. We were able to secure $700 million for our brave firefighters, who risk their lives every day to protect our communities, and who deserve to have the state-of-the-art equipment needed to do their jobs safely and effectively,” said Senator Schumer. “We need to continue to increase funding for these two critical programs that deliver vital resources to our fire departments across Upstate New York. I’ve fought my whole career to bring more federal resources to our volunteer and career fire departments – that is exactly why I worked double-time to keep our firefighters and communities safe this year.”

“This funding for the Firefighter Assistance Grants will help ensure that fire departments across New York have the training, equipment, and staffing they need to serve their communities safely and efficiently,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Firefighters risk their lives to keep us safe, and I will always support programs that provide them with the necessary resources they need to keep them and our communities safe.”

Infrastructure Programs like the TIGER Grant Program

“This bipartisan bill contains a major victory for communities across Upstate New York now pursuing economy-boosting transportation and infrastructure projects. The bill reverses the administration’s proposed cut and not only fully funds the TIGER Grant Program, but also secured a $1 billion increase, bringing the total funding to $1.5 billion. This is vital funding that is so critical to transportation improvement projects across Upstate. Everything from returning cars to Main St. in downtown Buffalo, to the transformation of Rochester’s Inner Loop, to improvements to the Capital District and Hudson Valley bus services have been funded by TIGER grants in the last few years,” said Senator Schumer.

“I’m very pleased that our federal infrastructure programs, including the TIGER Grant Program, will continue to receive an increase in funding from Congress despite the Trump Administration’s attempts to cut them,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These programs help ensure that when communities in New York are confronted with the need to improve their aging and outdated highways, bridges, railways, and multimodal facilities, there are federal resources to help them do the job. I was proud to fight for this funding, and I will continue to support these essential infrastructure programs in the Senate.”

Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement Grants (CRISI)

“Rail infrastructure across New York State and the entire country will get a much-needed boost as a result of this agreement. Over $590 million was included in the CRISI program which will help support rail infrastructure and safety projects across the country.  These grants go to projects aimed at advancing the safety and dependency of our railways and will work to improve rail safety, grade crossing safety, and to install Positive Train Control,” said Senator Schumer.

“Millions of New Yorkers rely on our railways for daily transportation, long-distance travel, and freight service to deliver New York goods across the country,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This federal funding for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement grant program will help increase the safety, efficiency, and reliability of our rail systems, and I’m pleased that this year’s spending package will include this important investment for rail infrastructure.”

Airport Improvement Program (AIP)

“Making sure New York’s airports are clear for takeoff is essential for the safety of air travelers and smooth functioning of the state’s economy – and especially to our upstate cities and small communities.  This new $4.35 billion in federal investment will fully fund the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and is a major win for New York State and its visitors. The bill adds $1 billion to the program which grants money to critical projects to improve many aspects of the airport including security, capacity, and environmental concerns. These funds are a win for New York’s airports and the millions of residents, tourists and business people who use them each year,” said Senator Schumer.

“These federal funds will help ensure that the Airport Improvement Program can continue to help communities all around New York improve their local airports,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Many communities in our state rely on their airports to support the local economy, and they often need resources from the Airport Improvement Program in order to complete important projects like runway construction, runway lighting, and airport safety improvements. I was proud to support this program in the Senate, and I’m very pleased that these funds were included in the omnibus.”

High-Speed Internet

 "To create the vibrant Upstate New York economy of tomorrow that creates and sustains the jobs of the future, we must invest in high-speed internet networks today, so that every Upstate home, school or small businesses gets – and stays – connected. The difference between economic success and failure in the 21st Century will be in large part determined by equal access to high-speed broadband that is reliable and affordable. With this multimillion-dollar investment, rural communities across New York state will finally have the resources needed to close the digital divide. These investments will create jobs, expand minds and build a strong base for future economic growth in New York state and beyond,” said Senator Schumer.

“There is no doubt anymore that our schools, hospitals, and businesses must have access to high-speed broadband internet in order to thrive. Imagine not having access to power or a road; that’s how we should be thinking about high-speed internet access in the year 2018,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am very proud to announce that the omnibus bill includes substantial new federal funding that will help bring high-speed internet to rural communities all over New York. This is outstanding news for our state, and I will continue to fight in the Senate to make sure New Yorkers have every opportunity to succeed.”

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

“Hundreds of thousands of fixed-income seniors and low-to moderate-income New Yorkers each year rely on LIHEAP funding to help pay for the home heating costs that have become a larger and larger share of their budget. This major federal investment –of more than $3.64 billion in federal funding – will help New York’s most vulnerable cover their high energy costs. This means fewer people will have to make the agonizing decision over whether to pay energy bills or put food on the table,” said Senator Schumer. “Having these funds available for New Yorkers who deal with harsh winters is critical.”

“LIHEAP is a lifeline for over one million New Yorkers, including many seniors living on a fixed income, veterans, and low-income families who struggle to pay their heating bills in the winter,” said Senator Gillibrand. “No New Yorker should have to choose between staying warm in the frigid cold and paying rent or putting food on their table, and I’m proud to have fought for these critical home energy assistance funds in the omnibus.”

Head Start Program

“Head Start is an investment that pays massive dividends later in life. New York has one of the largest enrollments of children in the Head Start program and this funding will allow New Yorkers to better address the needs of children and make sure that they have the opportunity to fulfill the American dream,” said Senator Schumer.

“Head Start helps ensure some of our youngest students in New York and across the country start out strong and have the resources they need to learn, grow, and succeed inside and outside the classroom later in life,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We know from studies that Head Start provides one of the most significant returns on our federal investment, and we have to keep fighting to make high-quality early childhood education a priority. I was proud to advocate for this funding, and am pleased to see it included in the omnibus." 

Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)

“High-quality child care is essential to enable parents to get and keep a job and to give children a strong start toward success in school and life. Unfortunately, it is out of reach for many families, but now with this additional $2.37 billion of  funding increases – bringing the total funding to $5.23 billion – we will add tens of thousands of new slots for working families who need access to affordable child care,” said Senator Schumer.

“I am proud to have pushed to secure funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program so that New York State and states across the country have the resources they need to ensure vulnerable children have access to the early learning experiences they need to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Senator Gillibrand. “These funds included in the Omnibus legislation are an investment in our communities and will help millions of low-income children and thousands of families in New York and across the country thrive.”

Stream gauge Funding

“Stream gauges are a critical first line of defense against impending floods, and given the repeated storms and flooding we have seen across New York, I made boosting their funding a top priority over the last year. Upstate New York communities also will be better served in flood detection, prevention, and evacuation planning as the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program received a $1.5 million funding increase specifically for stream gauges.   Now, I will push to see those funds flow to New York, where USGS can work to keep ever-threatened gauges online, and potentially add more of these flood detection devices to high-risk flood zones in order to better prepare for the next natural disaster,” said Senator Schumer.


“I’m very pleased to announce these new federal funds for the stream gauge program to help communities protect themselves against flooding from rivers and streams,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Communities across New York are at risk from flooding, whether it is seasonal or from heavy storms, so it’s essential that we continue these important flood prevention efforts around the state. I was proud to fight for this funding, and I will continue to do everything I can in the Senate to make sure New Yorkers are protected from floods.”

National Institute Of Health (NIH)

“This federal funding bill provides $37.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health, the epicenter of cutting-edge medical research, an increase of $3 billion over last year’s level and $2.4 billion more than the administration proposed in their budget. This money is so critical to New York State; last year, New York received more than $2.3 billion in NIH awards, supporting 30,000 jobs and research institutions from Cornell to Rochester to SUNY-Buffalo and elsewhere throughout Upstate New York. I will continue to fight for this critical funding to support Upstate New York State’s world-class research institutions and universities,” said Senator Schumer.

“The National Institutes of Health is one of the world’s leading medical research institutions, and this federal funding is a critical investment that ensures continued support for the NIH’s work to discover innovative treatment methods and cures for countless diseases,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The scientific advances made at NIH research centers are vital to the future of health care, and I am proud to have fought for this funding to be included in the Fiscal Year 2018 spending bill.”

Sen. Gillibrand meets with constituents at Richmond Memorial Library

By Howard B. Owens


Though there was no announcement to the media that she was coming, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spent about an hour in Batavia this morning meeting with constituents at the Richmond Memorial Library.

A camera crew from CBS's 60 Minutes accompanied her.

After the meeting, she agreed to a two-minute interview with The Batavian.

The meeting, she said, was arranged by her staff, who reached out to local agencies that provide assistance to area residents and those agencies selected attendees to the discussion.

"I wanted to hear directly from my constituents about their lives and what's going on and what challenges they have because I often find that people in Washington are so disconnected from reality and the people we represent," Gillibrand said. "I think Washington is pretty much broken so I like to come into my communities and listen to their stories directly and hear exactly what their challenges are."

She said the conversation was productive.

"What we heard was really interesting," she said "There is a lot of strain on costs of child care, access to affordable quality daycare, lots of strain on just putting food on the table and having health care they can afford. There is a real need for higher wages or more job opportunities and then lowering costs for both child care and health care."

While this was not a campaign stop, we asked about the 2018 campaign when she's up for reelection.

"I just want to make sure I'm fighting for the right things, and what these listening opportunities do for me is let me hear directly from people about what really is troubling them," she said.

We asked her about the potential for an infrastructure bill in 2018 and what it might mean for Genesee County.

"I want to be optimistic about that because the one thing we all agree on is we really need to rebuild our state and rebuild our country," Gillibrand said. "There's such an eagerness for better roads, bridges, sewers, electric grid, high-speed rail, better rail. I mean it's an unlimited need in our state. We have, I think, the last number I heard was $70 billion of unmet sewer needs. We had over 2,000 bridges that needed some kind of structural repair. I'm hoping that this can be the one really good bipartisan things we can work on."

There is often speculation that Gillibrand is thinking about a run for president in 2020.

She said, "I'm focused entirely on 2018 and I really want to serve in the Senate. I feel privileged and honored to serve."

All the talk in political circles this morning was about Oprah Winfrey speech last night at the Golden Globes and whether she might be thinking of a run for president in 2020. 

With the mention of Oprah's name, Gillibrand said, "She did a great speech, inspiring and important." Asked if Oprah should run, Gillibrand said, "Whatever she wants to do. She's awesome."

Photos: Before Gillibrand entered the library this morning, she noticed a mother and her two children watching her enter, so she went over and greeted them and asked if they wanted to pose for a picture. They left before I could get their names.


Senator Gillibrand's bipartisan 'Manufacturing Universities' legislation passes Senate

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Washington, DC – The U.S. Senate today passed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s bipartisan legislation to help universities in New York and throughout the country strengthen their engineering programs to meet the demands of the modern manufacturing industry.

The "Manufacturing Universities" legislation, which was led by Senators Gillibrand, Chris Coons (D-DE), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), passed as part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This provision authorizes the Department of Defense to support training at U.S. universities to help equip students with skills to compete in the 21st century manufacturing workforce. Universities would be selected through a competitive grant-based process and would tailor their educational curriculum to the needs of modern U.S. manufacturers.

“I am so pleased that the Senate came together to pass our bipartisan Manufacturing Universities bill as part of this year’s NDAA,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This legislation gives our universities access to new resources that can help them prepare more engineers, more product designers, more innovators, and more men and women to drive our economy forward.

"No job should go unfilled and no company’s expansion should ever be inhibited because there aren’t enough trained workers ready to work, and this legislation takes important steps to give students the skills they need to compete in the 21st century manufacturing workforce.”

The Manufacturing Universities legislation would establish a program within the Department of Defense charged with designating schools as ‘Manufacturing Universities.’ Designated schools would receive federal grant funding to meet specific goals, including focusing engineering programs on development of industry-relevant advanced manufacturing skills, building new partnerships with manufacturing firms, growing hands-on training opportunities for students, and fostering manufacturing entrepreneurship.

This bill was endorsed by the Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the Precision Metalforming Association, the National Tooling & Machining Association, the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Clemson University, University of South Carolina, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Drexel University, the University of Missouri System, the University of Illinois, the University of California, Davis, the University of California, Irvine, Boston University, the University of Rochester, the Rochester Institute of Technology, the State University of New York (SUNY) System, Kent State University, the University of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of Connecticut, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson University, The Ohio State University, Dow, DuPont, and Siemens.

Gillibrand 'deeply upset' over U.S. Senate's failure to vote on Military Justice Improvement Act

By Billie Owens

Press release:

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued the following statement today following the Senate’s failure to vote on the bipartisan Military Justice Improvement Act:

“I am deeply upset that the Senate closed the National Defense Authorization Act without even debating military sexual assault and the Military Justice Improvement Act specifically. The bipartisan amendment has previously earned the support of a majority of senators twice before and is widely supported by Veterans Service Organizationsretired military memberssexual violence NGOsmilitary law experts and most importantly military sexual assault survivors.

“When the Department of Defense tells us they estimate there are over 20,000 sexual assaults on service members each year, that nearly eight out of 10 of those attacked do not report the incident and that 62 percent of those brave souls who do report then face retaliation – often from someone in their chain of command who is supposed to protect them – how can it be possible that the Senate refuses to even debate reforming this system?

"The Department of Defense has buried its head in the sand on sexual assault for over 25 years and today the U.S. Senate joined them. Despite evidence uncovered by the Associated Press that the DoD misled members of the Senate on sexual assault cases, this simple reform was blocked from even being considered by this Senate. They used to just filibuster the bill, but now they won’t even debate it – pushing this national scandal to the shadows. I think that sends a shameful message to military sexual assault survivors.

“We know today that the men and women in the military who are sexually assaulted do not get a fair chance to get justice in the current system. Today, I am saddened to say the same appears to be true from the U.S. Senate. Given this abject failure on behalf of Congress, I will again call on President Obama, the Commander of Chief, to fulfill his responsibility to service members and take action to give them a system of justice worthy of their sacrifice.

"In December of 2013 President Obama put the Department of Defense on notice that they had one year to show ‘the kind of progress I expect’ before considering additional reforms. The data does not lie – significant progress has not been made, retaliation remains exactly where it was then and in the case of unrestricted reporting we have actually gone backwards from last year.

“The question for the Senate and the President shouldn’t be, ‘have we done enough to combat military sexual assault?’, but rather, ‘have we done everything we can to fight this epidemic?’ The answer to that question is a resounding 'no', and brave service members pay the price every day for our inaction. In recent surveys and in their countless stories, survivors tell us they lack faith in the command-controlled system. They simply fear that nothing will be done or they will be retaliated against for reporting. I don’t know why the President and members of the Senate refuse to believe them.

“Today is a setback in our fight on survivors’ behalf, but it is no more than that. I will continue to advocate for reform, and I refuse to back down or go away from fighting for survivors on this issue. Whether it is this President and Congress or the next, we will not give up until we can provide service members with a system of justice that is fair.”

Sen. Gillibrand spends some volunteer time at Le Roy Food Pantry

By Howard B. Owens


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spent a couple of hours in Le Roy this morning helping volunteers with the Le Roy Food Pantry sort and wrap gifts. Each gift was selected for specific children in the community and Gillibrand was right on top of keeping gifts in order.

The gifts included donations and handmade scarves and hats knitted by a Le Roy resident.  Gillibrand praised the local volunteer effort.

 "This organization really does do a tremendous amount of work so local families have what they need during the holidays," Gillibrand said.

Below, Lorie Longhany gets a copy of Gillibrand's book autographed.



Gillibrand announces $125K in funding for Habitat for Humanity affiliates in rural counties

By Howard B. Owens

Press release:

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced a $125,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Community Development Initiative Grant Program for Habitat for Humanity New York State, Inc. (HFH-NYS). The organization’s nine local affiliates throughout Upstate New York will use the funding to get training and technical assistance on board development, family selection and mortgage compliance, finance management, fundraising and resource development as well as energy efficient construction and improvements.

“Access to stable housing is essential for the health of our families and the economic strength of our communities,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Funding for Habitat for Humanity of New York will provide their Upstate New York affiliates with training and technical assistance to better serve those in need of quality housing.”

Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 and has built quality housing throughout 70 countries for those in need. The New York chapter was chartered in 2007 and works through 53 affiliates throughout New York who have produced more than 1,700 homes and created more than 300 jobs. Habitat for Humanity New York State will use the funding to provide technical assistance and training to nine Habitat affiliates in Upstate New York to help eliminate substandard housing.

The federal funding will be used by the Chautauqua Area Habitat for Humanity in the Chautauqua-Allegheny region; the Columbia County Habitat for Humanity in the Capital region; the Raquette Valley Habitat for Humanity in Watertown; the Habitat for Humanity of Otsego County in Central New York; the Ulster County Habitat for Humanity in the Hudson Valley; as well as the Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County, Habitat for Humanity Livingston, Orleans County Habitat for Humanity, and Southeastern Steuben Habitat for Humanity, which are located in the Rochester-Finger Lakes region.

USDA Rural Community Development Initiative grants were developed to assist community-based organizations and low-income rural communities in improving housing, community facilities and economic development projects in rural areas.

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