Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released the following after reintroducing three legislative items to help improve our nation’s Medicaid system. The legislative items include the Prioritizing the Most Vulnerable Americans Act (formerly H.R. 6462), Better Accounting for Medicaid Costs Act of 2017 (formerly H.R. 5021), and the Improving Oversight and Accountability in Medicaid Non-DSH Supplemental Payments Act (formerly H.R. 2151). These bills will lower costs, increase oversight, and give patients better access to Medicaid coverage.
“We need to improve Medicaid in order to expand coverage for those who need it most and lower costs that are increasing at an unsustainable rate,” said Congressman Collins. “These legislative items will raise accountability standards and ensure Medicaid supports the most vulnerable Americans, which is what it was designed to accomplish.”
Prioritizing the Most Vulnerable Americans Act (formerly H.R. 6462)
Requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), in approving Medicaid demonstration projects to:
Better Accounting for Medicaid Costs Act of 2017 (formerly H.R. 5021)
Improving Oversight and Accountability in Medicaid Non-DSH Supplemental Payments Act (formerly H.R. 2151)
Requires the Secretary of HHS to:
Each of these legislative items is cosponsored by members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Medicaid Task Force. The Task Force was established during the 114th Congress by former Chairman Fred Upton and is led by Congressman Brett Guthrie. Members of the Task Force were charged with devising ways to strengthen and sustain Medicaid for the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21) have introduced the Family Farm Relief Act of 2017, legislation to move the H-2A Agricultural Visa program from the Department of Labor to the Department of Agriculture to better meet the unique labor needs of farmers and agricultural businesses.
“The last thing our farmers need is for the federal government to make it harder for them to make ends meet,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “Access to a willing and available labor force is absolutely critical for Western New York’s agriculture community, particularly our dairy farmers. I am proud to join my colleague Congresswoman Stefanik in introducing this common-sense legislation to streamline and improve the H-2A visa program.”
“Agriculture is the backbone of our North Country economy and I am pleased to introduce this important bill to address the labor shortages facing our farmers,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “When I travel the district speaking with our farmers, I often hear about how unnecessary delays in worker visas lead to difficulty meeting production goals. This commonsense legislation simply puts the H-2A agricultural visa program in the hands of those who best understand the specific needs of our farms.”
“Immigration reform that allows for both seasonal and year round farm labor has been a longtime priority for New York Farm Bureau. For too long, the federal H2A guest visa program has been cumbersome, prone to delays and too rigid to fit the needs of both farmers and their employees. We thank Congresswoman Stefanik for taking the lead on the The Family Farm Relief Act that will provide real reform and address a critical issue in New York's diverse agricultural community,” said David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President.
The Family Farm Relief Act of 2017 takes practical measures such as allowing visa applicants to fill out H-2A applications on paper or online, requiring a user-friendly online system, and ending burdensome requirements on advertising and prevailing practice surveys.
The current H-2A visa program is unworkable, especially for the dairy farms across our nation. The H-2A visa program does not currently provide a category for year-round livestock workers, including dairy. This has caused difficulties for dairy farms that need employees year-round. This legislation addresses this oversight, by creating an H-2A category for these workers.
Additionally, the legislation also allows farm cooperatives and other agricultural associations to apply for workers for their members, makes the program more workable for dairy and other livestock operations, and requires reporting to Congress if delays occur in the H-2A Visa application process.
Click here for bill text.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced the application period for the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant Program for FY16. Administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) each year, the SAFER Grant Program is designed to help local fire departments and Emergency Management Service (EMS) providers increase or maintain the number of trained, “front line” firefighters available in their communities.
“The SAFER Grant Program delivers funding assistance to our local fire departments and EMS providers that helps recruit new members and ensure that current members are properly trained,” said Congressman Collins. “I look forward to working with this year’s applicants and I encourage all NY-27 fire departments and EMS providers to apply.”
FEMA will begin accepting applications from eligible departments beginning on Monday, January 9, 2017 at 8:00AM. Applications must be submitted by Friday, February 10, 2017 at 5:00PM.
Interested applicants with further questions or those seeking letters of support from Congressman Collins are asked to call his Geneseo District Office at (585) 519-4002.
Congressman Chris Collins today released the following statement offering his appreciation to the elementary schools, businesses, and community organizations throughout New York’s 27th Congressional District that participated in his office’s annual “Holiday Mail for Troops” project. Over 2,000 holiday cards, including personalized letters and creative crafts, were collected this year. The cards will be delivered to the men and women serving at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) and abroad before Christmas Day.
“Our annual Holiday Mail for Troops project is a great opportunity for our community to show its support for the service men and women who will be away from their loved ones during the holidays,” said Congressman Collins. “Thank you to all of the students, teachers, businesses, and community advocates who helped send over 2,000 holiday cards to the men and women serving at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.”
Each year, Congressman Collins’ office reaches out to all NY-27 elementary schools to join together to show our appreciation during the holiday season for the service members located at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Below is a list of the 2016 “Holiday Mail for Troops” project participants:
For pictures of some of the 2,000 cards Congressman Collins’ office collected this year, please visit our Flickr album:https://flic.kr/s/aHskK9C23W.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released the following statement after the International Joint Commission (IJC) announced their plans to go through with Plan 2014.
“If the International Joint Commission thinks for a second that Plan 2014 will ever be fully implemented, they are sorely mistaken,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “I can guarantee you that I will do everything in my power to protect the taxpayers, homeowners and small businesses along the Lake Ontario shoreline that are set to be devastated by this bureaucratic disaster.”
“As long as I am a Member of Congress, I will fight to block any and all funding paths this plan needs to be implemented,” continued Congressman Collins. “Additionally, the incoming Republican Administration will know from Day One how important it is to eliminate Plan 2014 once and for all.”
Congressman Collins has voiced strong opposition to the IJC’s Plan 2014 since it was introduced.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today is hailing the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, landmark medical innovation legislation that will directly benefit the lives of Western New Yorkers.
The legislation includes $6.3 billion to help accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures and treatments and provides new funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Health Subcommittee, Congressman Collins was able to play a direct role in the creation of the legislation. He weighed in on key elements of the bill including the inclusion of measures to fight the opioid crisis, which has devastated Western New York, and helped to secure additional funding for the NIH, which will help fund research at places like Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
“This bipartisan legislation incentivizes innovation to defeat disease, and most importantly gets cures to the patients who need them most,” said Congressman Collins. “The 21st Century Cures Act provides the health care industry with the ability to help the thousands of Western New Yorkers impacted by deadly diseases by creating the life-saving cures those patients need.”
Congressman Collins specifically authored the following provisions included in the legislation:
“I am proud to have had a role in crafting this landmark legislation,” continued Congressman Collins. “Ensuring medical innovators have the funding and ability to do their jobs is crucial to helping the millions of Americans struggling with incurable diseases. This legislation has the ability to change people’s lives, and I could not be more excited about its passage.”
The 21st Century Cures Act will:
The legislation will now move to the Senate, where it will need to pass before heading to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. It’s expected to be brought to the Senate for a vote before the end of the year.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today introduced legislation that would curb the installation of wind turbines in close proximity to military installations, such as the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station (NFARS) in Niagara Falls, New York.
Recently, Apex Clean Energy has proposed a plan to build 70 propeller turbines amid farms and towns throughout Niagara County. The impact that this plan may have on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station has raised significant concerns from local residents and lawmakers.
“I cannot condone any activity which puts the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station’s (NFARS) future operations and viability at risk,” said Congressman Collins. “This air base employs over 2,600 people and contributes over $200 million a year to Western New York’s economy. Massive wind turbines built in such close proximity to military installations, such as the ones being proposed in Western New York, can negatively impact a base’s potential new missions and its future operations. I will do everything in my power to ensure the viability of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.”
Congressman Collins introduced the “Protection of Military Airfields from Wind Turbine Encroachment Act” in an effort to ensure that any new wind turbines located within a 40-mile radius of a military installation will be deemed ineligible for renewable energy tax credits. Full text of the legislation can be read here. A companion bill was introduced in the United States Senate by Senator John Cornyn, R-TX.
“Our military installations are crucial to the security of our nation,” continued Congressman Collins. “This legislation ensures that military installations like the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station can fully operate without potential interference from wind turbines, some of which can be as tall as 600 feet.”
“The Department of Defense has been increasingly engaged to express either reservations or objections to potential wind projects across the country, on the basis of military readiness issues and conflicts with military radar systems,” said Dan Engert, Somerset Town Supervisor. “The Lighthouse Wind project in Somerset is very poorly sited for a number of reasons, and I do not think it's in our government's best interest to expand wind energy at the expense of military readiness. I am very grateful that Congressman Collins and Senator Cornyn recognize this impact and have introduced legislation in both chambers that will force corporate wind developers to site projects far and away from military installations, like the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.”
“I fully support Congressman Collins' proposed legislation to protect military installations from encroachment from industrial wind turbine projects,” said James Simon, Yates Town Supervisor. “The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station has a positive economic impact on the Town of Yates. We are fortunate that the skies above the Town of Yates not only have unrestricted airspace for low flying military aircraft and drones, but also provide unimpeded radar coverage for national defense.”
“We are grateful to Congressman Collins for taking the initiative to propose legislation that will work to protect the future of our air base and the thousands of families and workers who rely on its continued operation,” said Pamela Atwater, President of Save Ontario Shores. “Save Ontario Shores pledges its full support to this proposed legislation and we look forward to its enactment.” Save Ontario Shores is a local group that was formed to address the concerns relating to the health, safety and welfare of Town of Yates and Town of Somerset taxpayers and residents, in regards to the Lighthouse Wind project being proposed by Apex Clean Energy.”
Congressman Collins has previously taken steps to address this issue. In December 2015, Congressman Collins authored a letter to the Department of Defense and Federal Aviation Administration officials expressing concern about a proposed wind turbine project along the Lake Ontario Shoreline. Full text of the letter can be read here.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after Speaker Paul Ryan announced Congressman Collins will serve as Congressional Liaison to the Trump Administration’s transition team.
“I am honored and humbled to serve President-elect Trump in this capacity,” said Congressman Collins. “Throughout the campaign I have worked very closely with President-elect Trump and Speaker Ryan, and I look forward to continuing that work as we look to put forth an agenda that will Make America Great Again for all Americans.”
In his role as Congressional Liaison, Congressman Collins will work with the Republican Conference membership and relay their ideas on legislation, staffing and any additional concerns to the Trump transition team. Congressman Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump for President and was recently named as a member of the Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee.
Congressman Chris Collins today released the following statement recognizing five Tuskegee Airmen with the Congressional Gold Medal at the National Warplane Museum, located in Geneseo, NY. Three of the Congressional Gold Medals were presented posthumously to the Airmen’s next of kin. The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States Congress. The medals were presented about 70 years after the Airmen completed their historic World War II mission.
“At a time in our history where African-Americans faced tremendous prejudice, the Tuskegee Airmen remained true to their convictions and answered the call of duty, serving our nation honorably,” said Congressman Collins. “These brave men undoubtedly laid the foundation for change, so future generations can serve in our armed forces, no matter their race or ethnicity. It was a true honor to join these men and their families on Veterans Day to recognize their service and the service of all of our veterans.”
“We are excited to be a part of this significant event, especially on Veterans Day,” said Austin Wadsworth, President of the National Warplane Museum. “Honoring these Tuskegee Airmen today is just one of the ways we are able to continue our mission—to recognize all United States military personnel for their selfless service and sacrifice. I’d also like to thank Congressman Collins for joining us today to present these well-deserved medals to the Airmen and their families.”
“I am pleased that Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen who have not yet received their replica medals are able to have them officially conferred today,” said Michael Joseph, Historian of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.
“Tuskegee Airmen” refers to the men and women who were involved in the “Tuskegee Experience.” The Tuskegee Experience was a program established by the United States Army Air Corps in an effort to train African Americans to fly and maintain combat aircraft during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen included pilots, navigators, bombardiers, maintenance and support staff, instructors, and all the personnel who helped ensure the planes remained in the air. The Tuskegee Airmen recognized during the Veterans Day ceremony are as followed:
Wallace C. Higgins
Wallace C. Higgins enlisted in the United States Army on December 10, 1943. Initially reporting to Ft. Dix, NJ, he was sent to Biloxi, Mississippi for basic training and aptitude testing. After Wallace completed his testing, he was selected to be a part of the Tuskegee Airmen experiment in Alabama. He participated in Pre-Flight training at the Tuskegee Institute, and then completed his Primary Flight training, which included solo-runs in the P-17 Stearman. Wallace spent eleven months at the Tuskegee Institute, until a downturn in the war in Europe resulted in less pilot training at Tuskegee. In 2015, Wallace was recognized by Congressman Reed and was presented the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of his service. When Wallace heard that his fellow Airmen were identified, he wanted to attend this ceremony to participate in the Veterans Day ceremony.
Herbert Thorpe, a Brooklyn native, enlisted in the United States Army Reserves in October 1942. He underwent training at the Tuskegee Army Air Field Flight School at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. After Herbert completed training at gunnery school and bombardier/navigator school, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Herbert then returned to Tuskegee to begin flight training. Herbert earned B-25 Pilot’s Wings in October 1945 at Tuskegee, where he was one of the heralded “Tuskegee Airmen,” the first black pilots in United States history.
Richard Thorpe (Deceased)
Richard Thorpe, after successfully completing pilot training, was assigned as a replacement pilot with the Tuskegee Airmen and was instructed to report to Italy for combat. During one of the orientation flights, Richard unexpectedly lost control of his aircraft, and passed away in 1945. Richard’s brother, Herbert, also served as a Tuskegee Airmen and was presented the award on his late brother’s behalf.
Robert M. Johnson (Deceased)
Robert M. Johnson was born February 3, 1925 in Pittsburgh, PA, where he attended Morehead grade school and 5th Avenue High School. Robert enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps on July 23, 1943. After his enlistment, he received both his officer and flight training in Tuskegee, Alabama, as part of the Tuskegee Project. Robert Johnson was killed in action on December 5, 1944.
Leland H. Pennington (Deceased)
On April 21, 1945, the City of Rochester, NY lost a war hero. Flight Officer Leland H. Perrington, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen’s 301st Fighter Squadron, was lost while returning to base from combat. Pennington’s last action during World War II was a successful bomber escort mission over the Attnang-Puchheim Marshalling Yard in Austria. During this mission, Pennington was flying a P-51 B-10 Mustang named “Lucy Gal.”
The Veterans Day ceremony took place at the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo. Members of the Veterans of Foreign War Post 5005 and the Patriot Guard Riders of Western New York led the Presentation of Colors. Students from Honeoye Falls-Lima Select Choir led the ceremony in the National Anthem. A representative from the office of Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23) shared remarks on his behalf and presented Mr. Wallace Higgins with a Congressional Certificate of Commendation and an American flag that was flown over the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
After Congressman Collins recognized the Tuskegee Airmen listed above, two certificates were presented to Mr. Charles Price and Dr. David Anderson in recognition of their dedication to the Tuskegee Airmen Education Program at the National Warplane Museum. of their dedication to the Tuskegee Airmen Education Program at the National Warplane Museum.
Congressman Chris Collins, after touring the Buffalo Niagara Gun Range today, released the following statement on his office’s ability to work with residents of New York’s 27th Congressional District to resolve a variety of issues pertaining to Federal agencies. The Buffalo Niagara Gun Range was recently purchased by Thomas Kulwicki, owner of Alessi Holsters, a small gun holster manufacturer located in Cheektowaga. Congressman Collins’ office worked with Mr. Kulwicki to ensure he was able to secure a Federal Firearm License (FFL) and a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan before purchasing the Buffalo Niagara Gun Range.
“One of the most important and rewarding functions of my congressional office is helping my constituents resolve issues with federal agencies,” said Congressman Collins. “In this case, we were able to help Tom purchase the Buffalo Niagara Gun Range and expand his small business to a new and larger location in a timely fashion. I’d like to thank Tom for his contribution to our local economy and his continued support of the Second Amendment.”
“This collaboration is great news for Niagara County and the Western New York sportsmen community,” said New York State Senator Rob Ortt (R, C, I-62nd District). “The quick actions taken by Congressman Collins and his casework team to help Mr. Kulwicki’s manufacturing business relocate to Niagara County are admirable. The small, but unique business is an asset to our community and is significant to the economic viability of out county and region. We’re excited to see what the future holds for the Buffalo Niagara Gun Range.”
In April, Mr. Kulwicki reached out to Congressman Collins’ office for assistance with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Mr. Kulwicki was required to submit a Federal Firearms License (FFL) to the ATF and work with the local field office in Buffalo to schedule an onsite qualification inspection of the proposed business premises—the Buffalo Niagara Gun Range. After the FFL application was approved and the onsite qualification inspection was conducted, a final approval of an SBA loan for purchase of a new business was necessary before Mr. Kulwicki’s bank transferred from First Niagara to Key Bank.
Both issues were resolved after Congressman Collins’ casework staff submitted two separate congressional inquiries to the SBA and ATF, respectively. Throughout the process, Mr. Kulwicki worked closely with the assigned caseworker to ensure that both inquiries were given the proper attention, were thoroughly reviewed, and were issued a final determination prior to the bank transfer deadline. If Mr. Kulwicki was unable to receive a Federal Firearms License and secure this SBA loan funding prior to his bank transfer, he would have been required to start the process from the beginning, and the purchase of the Buffalo Niagara Gun Range would have been voided.
“Without the help and support of Congressman Collins and Senator Ortt, I would not have been able to purchase the Buffalo Niagara Gun Range,” said Thomas Kulwicki, owner of the Buffalo Niagara Gun Range and Alessi Holsters. “Both of their offices are extremely professional and they all worked tirelessly on my behalf to make sure I had all of the assistance I needed. Because of their offices’ efforts, I was able to expand my small business into Niagara County and now I can look forward to hiring a number of new employees.”
For pictures of today’s event, please visit Congressman Collins’ Flickr album.
The Congressman’s office remains available to assist any resident of New York’s 27th Congressional District with casework related to all federal matters, including Social Security benefits and Medicare, as well as interacting with federal agencies, including the Veterans’ and Small Business Administration.
1117 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Chris Collins represents New York’s 27th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. The 27th District of New York includes 105 towns spread out over eight counties in Western New York and the Finger Lakes. The residents of NY-27 elected Mr. Collins to Congress in November of 2012.
Congressman Collins serves as a member of the House Small Business, Agriculture and Science, Space and Technology committees. He is also the Chair of the Small Business Subcommittee on Health and Technology, which is charged with examining how the cost of healthcare is impacting American small businesses.
Congressman Collins comes to Capitol Hill with both private and public sector experience. Before being elected to Congress, Chris served as Erie County Executive and built a career as a business owner and entrepreneur, creating and saving hundreds of American jobs in Western New York.
A mechanical engineer, the Congressman began his professional career with Westinghouse Electric in 1972. Chris lives in Clarence, NY with his wife Mary. He has three children and three grandchildren and remains active with the Greater Niagara Frontier Council Boy Scouts of America.
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