Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released the following statement today after discussing his sponsored legislation, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, with members of the Scranton Volunteer and Town of Batavia Fire Companies.
Congressman Collins and Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09) recently introduced this bipartisan legislation that would authorize $2,500,000 in federal funds from FY2018 through FY2022 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC would utilize these funds to create a national cancer registry to collect data on cancer incidence among firefighters.
“Public servants like our firefighters and first responders put their lives on the line every day for us,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “Unfortunately, studies show that firefighters see a higher rate of cancer than the rest of the general public. This vital legislation will provide the CDC with the tools they need to improve their data collection capabilities on volunteer, paid-on-call, and career firefighters. We hope that by creating a voluntary ‘Firefighter Registry’ the CDC will be able to better study this disturbing trend and prevent deadly health consequences for our first responders.”
This legislation would allow the CDC to establish and improve collection infrastructure and activities related to the nationwide monitoring of cancer among firefighters. These improved data records would include the status of the firefighter (volunteer, paid-on-call, or career), number of years on the job, the number of fire incidents attended, the type of fire incidence, and a number of other risk factors.
A 2015 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined that firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths when compared to the general U.S. population. The study confirms that firefighters are more at risk of contracting digestive, oral, respiratory and urinary cancers, and malignant mesothelioma.
To ensure maximum participation in this voluntary registry, Congress will instruct the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to cultivate an outreach and awareness strategy within 30 days of development. HHS would then make all data available without a fee for research and other purposes, in compliance with privacy security standards in HIPPA regulations. The culmination of this data will be used to develop better protective equipment and prevention techniques for our firefighters.
In 2013, Brian McQueen, former chief of the Whitesboro Fire Department and Deputy Fire Coordinator 271 for Oneida County, was diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After his doctors linked this diagnosis to his service as a firefighter, former Congressman Richard Hanna (NY-24) and Congressman Pascrell introduced the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act to implement a nationwide study of this deadly trend. Brian McQueen has since developed an educational program in New York to alert other firefighters of potential health risks associated with their profession.
Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) made the following statement in support of this legislation.
“I am grateful that Congressman Collins has taken up this important bill and I look forward to working with him to ensure it is passed in the 115th Congress. This legislation will utilize existing resources at the federal level to improve the coordination of vital research on cancer incidences among firefighters. As research advances, we will be able to protect our first responders better. I am proud that a constituent of mine, Brian McQueen, inspired this legislation. Mr. McQueen, a cancer survivor and local volunteer firefighter, has been a tireless advocate for our local firefighters and it is a true honor to be able to advocate for this legislation on his behalf.”
After speaking with the Town of Batavia Fire Department, Congressman Collins joined New York State Senator Chris Jacobs (SD-60) at the Scranton Volunteer Fire Company in Hamburg to highlight Senator Jacob’s support of legislation at the state level that will expand the Volunteer Firefighter’s Benefits Law. This NYS legislation will expand coverage to volunteer firefighters with at least five years of service who developed lymphoma or leukemia after their service, and coverage for volunteer firefighters with at least ten years of service who develop stomach, skin, breast, prostate and other reproductive cancers after their service.
“Volunteer firefighters provide life-saving services with great exposure to harmful substances and great risk to their own long-term health,” said New York State Senator Chris Jacobs. “At the same time we are collecting data at the federal level that will be used to develop better safeguards and protocols, we can also ensure that we provide them opportunities for, and access to, the very best in healthcare services for illnesses related to their service. That’s exactly what our legislation expanding the Firefighters’ Benefits law will do.”
“Cancer is an epidemic in the fire service,” said Ken Pienkowski, President of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York. “The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, along with our partners in the New York State and Assembly, are pushing for presumptive cancer coverage for the State’s approximately 110,000 volunteer firefighters. We are grateful to Congressman Collins for sponsoring this important legislation. The more information we gather about cancer in the fire service, the clearer it becomes how necessary it is to have presumptive coverage for all of our firefighters, paid and volunteer alike. ”
Major fire organizations from throughout the United States have authored letters in support of this legislation, including: the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Firefighters, the International Fire Service Training Association, and the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Please click here to view these organizations’ letters.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) has sent correspondence to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly expressing a deep concern regarding the expedited implementation of the biometric exit-entry system.
“Western New Yorkers and our economy rely heavily on the timely movement between Canada and the United States via the Peace Bridge,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “While keeping our communities safe is my number one priority, I want to ensure that before any agency implements the biometric exit-entry system fully, we examine all possible transportation impacts and take steps to alleviate any disruptions that may be created. Our southern and northern borders have different security issues and I hope those differences are taken into account.”
The biometric exit-entry program was requested by the 9/11 Commission to better track individuals traveling in and out of the country. However, its implementation has been delayed because of the significant logistical issues it could create. The issue has recently been raised because President Trump in his executive order on immigration states: “The Secretary of Homeland Security shall expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States, as recommended by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.”
In the letter, Congressman Collins writes, “I strongly support increased national security measures across our nation and commend President Trump for his swift action. However, I am concerned that an expedited implementation of this system will not take into consideration the differences in security interests at our northern and southern borders.”
Furthermore, he urges Secretary Kelly “to carefully consider the wide-spread impacts implementation of a biometric entry-exit system would have on our northern border.”
Congressman Collins previously introduced an amendment in 2015 requiring a pilot program be implemented before a full scale implementation of the biometric exit-entry program to avoid any major commerce and travel disruptions.
Full text of the letter can be seen here or read below.
February 2, 2017
The Honorable John Kelly
Secretary of Homeland Security
245 Murray Lane SW
Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear Secretary Kelly:
I am writing to express my concern regarding expedited implementation of the national Biometric Entry-Exit Tracking System outlined in Section 7 of the President’s Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorists Entry into the United States.” This order calls for “implementation of a biometric entry-exit tracking system for all travelers to the United States,” which would impact travelers at both our southern and northern borders equally.
I strongly support increased national security measures across our nation and commend President Trump for his swift action. However, I am concerned that an expedited implementation of this system will not take into consideration the differences in security interests at our northern and southern borders. As demonstrated by the President’s Executive Order entitled “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements,” which mandates the construction of a physical wall on the southern border, the U.S. border with Mexico is significantly more vulnerable to illegal immigration than the border with Canada.
Additionally, the facilitation of ease of access between the U.S. and Canada is vital to many local economies, especially those in Western New York. It is undeniable that the economies of New York State and Canada are linked. The border crossings in New York facilitate over $30 billion in bilateral trade between the state and Canada annually, and Canadian tourists spend over $1.6 billion in New York each year.
Biometric entry-exit scanning at our northern border would significantly delay the daily commutes of hard-working Americans and Canadians and cause undue burdens on trade. Additional screening at the northern border would also surpass the current capabilities of many of our border facilities. This system would particularly hinder progress across the Peace, Queenston-Lewiston, and Rainbow Bridges in Western New York, which facilitate international travel for millions annually.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I urge you to carefully consider the wide-spread impacts implementation of a biometric entry-exit system would have on our northern border.
Member of Congress
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released the following statement regarding President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
“President Trump showed America his commitment to conservative principles with tonight’s Supreme Court nomination,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “Judge Neil Gorsuch will be a strong voice on the Court for years to come. I fully anticipate that he will continue interpreting laws as they are written and defend the constitutionally protected rights all Americans hold dear. I urge my Democrat colleagues in the Senate to recognize the clear message American voters sent on Election Day and quickly confirm Judge Gorsuch.”
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released the following statement addressing President Trump’s Executive Order on immigration.
“Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our communities here in Western New York,” said Congressman Collins. “Temporarily suspending the admittance of refugees and individuals from high-risk countries until we can guarantee they are properly vetted is a common-sense measure focused on protecting Americans. President Trump promised to make America safe again and his executive order aims to ensure we know who is entering our country.”
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) was joined today by Congressmen Blake Farenthold (TX-27) and Walter B. Jones (NC-3) to introduce legislation that would curb the installation of wind turbines in close proximity to military installations.
Congressmen Collins, Farenthold, and Jones introduced the “Protection of Military Airfields from Wind Turbine Encroachment Act” in an effort to ensure that any new wind turbines built within a 50-mile radius of a military installation will be deemed ineligible for the Wind Production Tax Credit. 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.
“I cannot condone any activity which puts the operations of our military installations at risk,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “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 daily operations and future viability. This legislation introduces a commonsense solution to protect the vital operations of our country’s military installations.”
“Wind turbines can put our service members in unnecessarily dangerous flying environments,” said Congressman Blake Farenthold. “Military aviators need to focus on flying, not worry about radar failing to pick up other planes. Without this legislation, communities could see a negative impact when military bases are no longer able to carry out their missions.”
“We must prioritize the safety of our service members and the operational integrity of our military installations,” saidCongressman Walter B. Jones. “Taxpayers have made significant investments in our military facilities in order to provide for our national defense. Those investments and that mission must take precedence. I thank my colleagues, Congressmen Chris Collins and Blake Farenthold, for their work on this important issue.”
Across the country, clean energy companies are increasingly attempting to build wind turbines in close proximity to military bases. These proposals have the potential to impede future and current military operations.
In Western New York, 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. Additionally, a study conducted in South Texas found that potential impacts by wind turbines cannot be fully mitigated.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) released the following statement after President Trump signed an executive order withdrawing from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
“Americans across the country are witnessing President Trump deliver on his promise to put America first and take back our stolen jobs,” said Congressman Collins. “Western New Yorkers know all too well the failures of poorly negotiated free trade agreements. Our shuttered factories and decimated population are daily reminders that there is a vast difference between free trade and fair trade. Western New York’s middle class is rejoicing that we now have a president who backs up his rhetoric with actions to protect American jobs.”
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.
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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