December news from Rep. Anthony Brindisi’s Office

Rep. Anthony Brindisi

Brindisi Announces $250,000 USDA grant to promote local food in Oneida County

Congressman Anthony Brindisi announced a $250,000 United States Department of Agriculture grant was awarded to Cornell Cooperative Extension. The grant funds, authorized by the Farm Bill, will be used to continue the Oneida County Public Market Local Food Outreach Education and Marketing Enhancement Initiative.

 “The Mohawk Valley produces some of the highest quality food in the world and connecting more consumers to this product will help our farmers and our communities,” Brindisi said. “These funds are critical to the excellent work being done by our farmers, Cornell, and Oneida County. As your representative, I’ll always fight to bring resources back to Upstate New York.”

The Oneida County Public Market Local Food Outreach Education and Marketing Enhancement Initiative promotes local farmers and ranchers by enhancing venues for local farmers and producers to sell directly to consumers, and attracting low-income and low-access community members to the market. The project provides farmers with business education including food safety, marketing, legal and finance advising through a collaboration with the Farm and Food Business Incubator at Mohawk Valley Community College.

Brindisi secures $18 million for missions conducted at Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome

Brindisi secured key victories for Upstate New York in the final National Defense Authorization Act. Brindisi fought for an $8 investment for a Quantum Innovation Center at Rome Lab and an additional $5 million for quantum science research. In total, the mission at Rome Lab will receive nearly $18 million in crucial investment. Earlier this year, Brindisi secured key wins in the House version of the NDAA. Brindisi, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, fought to include them in the final bill.

“This is a big win for Upstate New York and our troops,” Brindisi said. “Securing these critical funds for Rome Lab will allow the Mohawk Valley to continue to innovate and lead in the development of cutting-edge military technology. Keeping our country safe is my top priority and the mission at Rome Lab is critical to protecting our national security.”

Brindisi led an amendment to authorize $8 million to establish a Quantum Information Science Innovation Center. The Rome Air Force Research Laboratory is leading in quantum information technology for the Department of Defense. In 2017, Rome Lab took a major step in its quantum research by becoming the first Department of Defense Lab to trap an ion, which was a major breakthrough in the development of quantum capabilities for the Air Force. Quantum research and technology development is being aggressively pursued by other countries, including China, who recognize the massive potential of quantum technologies. AFRL’s efforts to develop Quantum technologies has immense national security implications, and it is crucial that the United States does not fall behind adversaries in this field. The QIS Innovation Center would seek to provide an environment where researchers from the Air Force, Government, industry, and academia can collaborate to solve difficult problems using Quantum Computing.

Brindisi statement on USMCA deal announcement

Brindisi applauded the bipartisan deal on the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. Congressional leaders announced a deal between organized labor, the Administration and members of Congress on the historic trade agreement. Brindisi was one of six lawmakers who met with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss USMCA.

“I worked hard with members of both parties and this Administration to get this deal to the finish line, and now it is time for Congress to vote on this trade deal,” Brindisi said. “USMCA will hold Mexico and Canada accountable, help our family farms, and protect American jobs. We need to make sure our workers, farmers, and small businesses have a fair shot at success. I will continue to work with anyone to find solutions that work for Upstate New York.”

Brindisi, Schumer Buy-American provisions to create good-paying jobs at Sherrill Manufacturing in Oneida County included in must-pass legislation

Brindisi and Senator Chuck Schumer secured a key victory for Upstate New York in the final National Defense Authorization Act. Brindisi and Schumer fought to include the Support Procurement of our Nation’s Stainless Steel Act in the final conference report.

The measure, sponsored by Brindisi in the House and included in the NDAA, would reinstate the Berry Amendment’s long-standing Department of Defense domestic sourcing requirement for stainless steel flatware. Brindisi secured this provision in the House NDAA and Schumer worked to ensure it was included in final passage. The SPOONSS Act was introduced in previous years but was defeated each time it came to a vote. Now, it is included in must-pass legislation that will head to the President’s desk before the new year.

“Stick a fork in it, my SPOONSS Act will help upstate companies like Sherrill Manufacturing sell more flatware and employ more people in our community,” Brindisi said. “I am thrilled to see the SPOONSS Act included in the NDAA. I fought hard to get this legislation included because it will create good-paying jobs in Oneida County. I want to thank Senator Schumer for his hard work to keep this provision included in the final bill.”

“This is a wonderful realization of a goal we have long pursued: getting the United States government to use its buying power to support the world-class workers at Sherrill Manufacturing, the very last flatware maker in the good ol’ US of A,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why I’m so proud I worked with Congressman Anthony Brindisi to finally put a fork in this issue and include our provision requiring our military to purchase utensils and flatware from American manufacturers like Sherrill Manufacturing in this year’s NDAA, which is expected to pass Congress next week. Not only will this law ensure that our military have the highest quality silverware available, made by hardworking Americans, but will also provide a valuable shot in the arm to the Mohawk Valley economy, America’s only remaining flatware-maker.”

Brindisi welcomes groundbreaking of the New Mohawk Valley Health System Medical Center in Utica

Brindisi celebrated the groundbreaking of the new Mohawk Valley Health System medical center in Utica. As a member of the state Assembly, Brindisi was instrumental in securing $300 million in capital funding for this project by working across the aisle with his Republican colleague Senator Joe Griffo.

“This is an important day for the Mohawk Valley, delivering on a years-long promise to build a state-of-the-art hospital right here in Utica,” said Brindisi “Throughout this process, the most important priorities for me with this hospital development have been access and accessibility for patients, and this project will provide easier access for residents and generate real economic development downtown. This was truly a collaborative effort, and I was proud to work with Senator Griffo to secure a $300 million state Health Care Facility Transformation grant, as well partner with County Executive Picente, Mayor Palmieri, Governor Cuomo, and the local leadership in Oneida County to make this project a reality.”

Background:

The 2015 New York State budget first included $1.4 billion in capital funding for supporting new hospitals, including in Utica. Then-Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi and Senator Griffo first secured $300 million for this project (SOURCE)

In April 2016, then-Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi and Senator Griffo announced $300 million in funding for this new hospital was firmly secured in the New York State Budget (SOURCE)

Brindisi votes to bring down prescription drug prices and hold big pharma accountable: ‘Congress must work to get money back in the pockets of hardworking Americans’

Brindisi voted to pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, through the House of Representatives. This historic legislation would allow Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies and cap out-of-pocket costs for the millions of Americans enrolled in Medicare Part D.

“The skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs is the number one issue I hear about from hardworking Upstate New Yorkers, and unfortunately their stories are not unique,” Brindisi said. “We delivered on our promise to help fix our country’s broken health care system. I will continue working to find responsible, bipartisan solutions for Upstate seniors and working families to ensure that nobody has to choose between paying the bills and getting the medicine they need.”

According to AARP, the average annual cost of prescription drugs rose nearly 58 percent between 2012 and 2017. Prices in 2019 increased for 3,400 drugs on the market, with an average price increase of 10.5 percent, a rate roughly five times the inflation rate. In New York’s 22nd Congressional district alone, H.R. 3 would help lower out-of-pocket costs for the 117,000 people enrolled in Medicare Part D and another 467,000 who have private health insurance.

Brindisi has championed efforts to lower drug costs during his time in Congress. Earlier this year, Brindisi held roundtables to hear directly from Upstate New Yorkers about the cost of prescription drugs. He helped introduce the bipartisan Ensuring Timely Access to Generics Act, a bill that would crack down on tactics used by pharmaceutical companies to delay generic drugs from coming to market. Additionally, Brindisi joined Democrats and Republicans to outline principles for legislation to increase transparency and competition in the drug marketplace. He also helped introduce the bipartisan ACCESS to Biosimilars Act, a bill that would increase competition by eliminating copays on expensive biosimilars and expanding treatment options for patients.

Brindisi-sponsored bipartisan Agriculture Labor Reform bill to modernize worker visa system passes House

Bill supported by New York Farm Bureau and other agriculture organizations will help dairy farmers across Upstate New York hire more workers

Brindisi announced that the Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed the House of Representatives this week. The legislation, originally co-sponsored by Brindisi, is a compromise between Republicans and Democrats to provide commonsense immigration and workforce reform.

The legislation includes key provisions from Brindisi’s bipartisan Dairy and Sheep H-2A Visa Enhancement Act. Additionally, the legislation will establish mandatory E-Verify provisions for all agricultural employment.

“I’ve heard from farmers across our region calling for responsible, commonsense, bipartisan immigration reform and this bill delivers,” Brindisi said. “Our legislation will expand key visa programs for dairy farms and strengthen the electronic verification process for all agriculture workers. Working together, with Democrats and Republicans, shows that Congress can get things done for our farmers.”

“Access to a stable, year-round workforce continues to be a major challenge for upstate New York dairy farmers like me,” said Morrisville farmer Bill Banker. “We milk our cows every day of the year, which means the current seasonal visa program can’t meet our needs. Congress needs to act on ag labor reform to allow our dairy sector to continue to thrive for years to come. It’s not just about today, it’s about keeping us farming in the future. The bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act takes critical steps to provide dairy farmers with a means of obtaining the workforce they need.”

“With the ever-tightening labor market in this country, it has become nearly impossible for agriculture to meet its labor needs,” said Homer farmer Mike McMahon. “Dairy especially is at risk as it does not qualify for legally documented workers (H-2A). Finally, a bill has been introduced: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act which will open up the H-2A program. This will accommodate the needs of dairy to enable it to bring legalization to their immigrant workforce through a current government program and eliminate the fear of reprisal and deportation of our labor force.”

The legislation is also supported by Chobani, National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., International Dairy Food Association, Cayuga Milk Ingredients, U.S. Apple Association, New York Apple Association, New York State Berry Growers Association, New York State Flower Industries, and the New York State Vegetable Growers Association.

Co-leading the bill are Representatives Lofgren of California, the Chair of the Judiciary Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee, and Newhouse of Washington. For a one pager on this legislation, click HERE.

Brindisi statement on Articles of Impeachment

Brindisi issued the following statement:

President [Donald J.] Trump is my President, too. I’ve always said I would work with him to get things done, as I have demonstrated. President Trump signed my first bill into law to extend key housing and transportation programs to our nation’s veterans who need them. I worked together with the President to push a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico. Soon he will sign into law major provisions I championed in the National Defense Authorization Act including huge support for Rome Labs, and my SPOONSS Act that will create jobs by requiring the military to buy American-made flatware from Central New York. We have also passed the first-ever fentanyl sanctions legislation, cracking down on illicit drug traffickers in China and Mexico that are flooding our streets with synthetic opioids.

However, I will always put Country first and stand up for what I believe in when I think he is wrong.

I took an oath to defend the Constitution. What the President has done is not something I can pretend is normal behavior. It is also not okay for the President to block the testimony of key subpoenaed witnesses that had direct knowledge of the administration’s actions. There is a difference between working with a President and checking that same President. My job is to do both. I will be voting for the articles of impeachment and I look forward to getting right back to work to get things done for the American people.

Brindisi announces Congressional App Challenge winner

Brindisi announced Luke Redmore is NY-22’s 2019 Congressional App Challenge winner. Redmore, a student at Seton Catholic Central in Binghamton, designed and coded his app “Catholic Schools of Broome County,” as part of a school project.

“We are so proud of Luke and his incredible accomplishment,” said Brindisi. “His app is proof that New York State and the Southern Tier are leading in STEM education. We received impressive entries from students across our district, and it is an honor to have Luke represent NY-22 on the national stage.”

Brindisi called Redmore on Wednesday to notify him of his accomplishment and congratulate him on his achievement. Redmore’s app is designed to serve as a one-stop shop for Broome Catholic Schools students and parents. The app provides important information for students and families like school lunch menus, grades, schedules, and more. Redmore designed the app to update automatically, making it hassle-free for students and faculty. The Broome County Catholic Schools system recognized Redmore’s app as their official app.

The Congressional App Challenge judges praised Redmore’s work.

“Luke’s idea to scrape data from school websites is an interesting approach, and he demonstrated an in-demand skillset by using a multipurpose programming language,” said Brian Hudson, Adjunct instructor at SUNY Poly. “Bonus points to Luke for Seton Catholic Central’s adoption of his app.”

“I want to thank Congressman Brindisi for starting the Congressional App Challenge,” said Kerri Green, President & CEO of Commerce Chenango. “This challenge created a unique way to focus on STEM initiatives while encouraging entrepreneurism and out-of-the-box thinking. It was such an honor to participate as one of the judges for this inaugural program. While both finalists presented a wonderful app with many positive uses, I am pleased that the winner is Catholic Schools of Broome County. I was impressed with their app, practical uses for it, and what it could mean for the Catholic Schools system. I found it inspiring and could see ways other organizations could use an app such as this. Congratulations to the developer, Luke Redmore, and I hope the Congressional App Challenge continues to inspire other creators to work on making their ideas a reality.”

“What a great way to help your school,” said Kyle Davis, Greater Binghamton Chamber Government Relations. “Luke’s app will make a difference for students, parents, and teachers across Broome County.”

“Luke should be proud of the app that he created and for winning the Congressional App Challenge in NY-22 hosted by Congressman Brindisi and his staff,” said Kyle Davis, Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce. “The app was well designed and should be able to have a lasting impact at his school.”

“Congressman Brindisi’s App Challenge is a great way for students to be engaged in STEM Education,” Jen Gregory, Executive Director of Southern Tier 8 said. “Congratulations to Luke Redmore for winning this year’s competition.”

Brindisi launched the Congressional App Challenge in June and invited middle school and high school students across NY-22 to participate.

Brindisi statement on passage of USMCA trade deal

Following House passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, Congressman Anthony Brindisi issued the following statement:

This trade deal will help our family farmers, small businesses, and workers. I worked hard, with Democrats, Republicans, and key members of the Administration to get this deal done. USMCA will make sure our dairy farmers have access to markets, hold Mexico and Canada accountable, and help keep good-paying jobs in our country.

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