NY Congressional Watch

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US Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, released the statement below following consideration of H.R. 2009, the Republicans’ 40th attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act:

“This bill makes it clear, once again, that Republicans have no vision for America. They have no solutions for creating jobs, strengthening our economy or improving life for middle-class Americans. Instead, for the 40th time they are attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Enough is enough – the political gamesmanship needs to stop.

“It’s incredible that even as the Republican majority defends special interest tax breaks, deductions for the owners of corporate jets and write-offs for big corporations moving jobs overseas, they would rather roll back tax breaks that the Affordable Care Act provides for American families to buy health insurance. I hope the day will come when this Congress can start work on an agenda focused on jobs and the economy, but until then I will continue to fight against efforts that would penalize hard-working families just to score political points.”

H.R. 2009 would prohibit the Treasury Secretary, or any delegate of the Secretary – including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – from implementing or enforcing any provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA provided over $1 trillion in subsidies and tax credits to help middle class families and small businesses purchase coverage – all of which would be permanently blocked if H.R. 2009 became law.

In New York, 1.5 million people with incomes up to $94,200 for a family of four will be eligible for these tax breaks beginning in 2014. These tax credits will help reduce the cost of insurance premiums, making affordable coverage a reality for millions more New Yorkers. The Affordable Care Act also keeps insurance affordable by combating unreasonable rate increases and ensuring that premium dollars are spent on actual care, not bloated executive salaries.

Reps. Joe Crowley (NY-14), Eliot Engel (NY-16), Bill Pascrell (NJ-9), Michael Honda (CA-17), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Gary Peters (MI-14), Ami Bera (CA-7), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2) and Eric Swalwell (CA-15) released the following joint statement applauding the FBI’s decision to begin tracking and quantifying hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu, and Arab Americans:

“One year after the Oak Creek killings, we are thrilled the FBI has agreed to begin tracking and documenting hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu and Arab Americans. This groundbreaking decision to collect valuable hate crime data will go a long way towards protecting communities living in fear of being victims of a hate crime. We especially want to thank Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller for this critical move. The decision will serve to strengthen relationships between these communities, local and state law enforcement, the FBI and the Department of Justice.”

To date, the FBI has not collected and tracked hate crimes against these communities – despite serious hate crimes perpetrated against community members, including the massacre at a Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wis. nearly one year ago.

In April 2012, members of Congress led a letter signed by 93 members of Congress urging the FBI and Department of Justice to begin tracking and documenting hate crimes committed against Sikh-Americans. Following the August 2012 attack on the Sikh Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wis. Members of the House of Representatives spearheaded the introduction of a Congressional resolution recognizing the contributions of the Sikh-American community and urging action on hate crimes.

In March 2013, Members of the House again led a letter signed by over 100 members of Congress to the FBI Advisory Policy Board to express strong support to begin tracking and quantifying hate crimes against Sikh, Hindu and Arab-Americans. Subsequently, the Advisory Board recommended that the FBI begin collecting this information, though the Bureau has not yet made a final determination.

US Representative Jose E Serrano (Democrat, Bronx) introduces a house bill to encourage savings. Congressman Serrano, along with 20 other members of Congress, introduced H.R. 2917, the “Financial Security Credit Act of 2013,” a bill to encourage a higher household savings rate by encouraging low- and moderate-income earners to increase their savings during tax time.

Congressman Serrano has voted to Limit NSA Spying during consideration of the Department of Defense Appropriations bill, Congressmen Amash and Conyers offered an amendment to restrict mass NSA collection of phone metadata. The secret program recently came to light after leaks by Edward Snowden exposed the mass surveillance of ordinary Americans. Congressman Serrano joined 204 of his colleagues in a bipartisan group to support the amendment. However, the amendment to limit the NSA's power failed by a vote of 205-217.