WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27), member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, applauded the advancement of 40 bills out of the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees to help combat the opioid crisis. Collins worked with his colleagues to address two specific problems related to the opioid epidemic, the over-prescription of opioids and fraud.
Collins worked with Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) and Congressman Peter Welch (VT-At Large) to author an amendment that passed the Energy and Commerce Committee that improves the quality of care Medicaid patients receive. Their bipartisan work will require states to identify and address inappropriate prescribing and billing practices under Medicaid to decrease the likelihood that an excess of these drugs will make their way into communities.
“We’ve seen the devastating impacts of the opioid epidemic in every community across our nation,” said Collins. “These harmful drugs can fundamentally change who you are and rob you of your ambition, dreams, and dignity. It is our responsibility to do everything we can to prevent addiction from happening in the first place, which is why we need more reporting and accountability from the state level.”
“The opioid crisis is devastating families in San Diego and across the country. We need to do more to address the root causes of the epidemic,” said Rep. Peters. “This amendment, led by Rep. Collins, Rep. Welch and me, will help identify patterns of overprescribing and inappropriate billing through Medicaid by using data already collected by states. Most important, it will direct states to remedy any practices that indicate abuse and help reduce the likelihood that opioids reach our communities.”
“Families and communities in Vermont are struggling with the scourge of opioid addiction,” said Welch. “To contain this epidemic, the federal government must have a multi-prong strategy that includes attacking the root cause of overprescribing. Our bipartisan legislation requires state Medicaid programs identify and educate outlier providers writing an excessive number of opioid prescriptions.”
Additionally, Collins co-authored a bipartisan piece of legislation that stops payments from Medicare prescription drug programs if a pharmacy is being investigated for fraud by the Inspector General. This bill, The SENIOR Communities Protection Act, was reported favorably from the Ways and Means Committee.
Collins added: “If there is any suspicion of a person fraudulently prescribing opioids, we must quickly take action and get to the bottom of the situation before providing any compensation. There are so many factors that have contributed to the opioid epidemic, and I’m proud of the meticulous work that we have done to address all of these issues in order to prevent over-prescription and fraud.”
For more information on yesterday’s Energy and Commerce Committee hearing and to read a copy of the amendment by Reps. Collins, Peters and Welch, click here. For more information on H.R. 5676, The SENIOR Communities Protection Act, click here.
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) announced that a bill he authored with Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, passed the United States Senate. This bill unanimously passed the House on September 12, 2017 and now has unanimously passed the Senate with one amendment offered by Lamar Alexander (R-TN) on May 10, 2018.
A 2015 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and related deaths than the general population. This revealed an enormous gap in research, which led Collins and Pascrell to author the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act, which will require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters.
“This is a huge win for firefighters across the United States, now that we are so close to getting this bill on President Trump’s desk,” said Collins. “When this bill becomes law, we will have a succinct and voluntary registry of cancer incidence in firefighters so we know what causes cancer in these individuals and how we can better prevent it. These brave men and women put their lives in danger to keep their communities and neighbors safe, and we have a commitment to do everything we can to keep them safe and healthy in return.”
“Passage of the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act in the Senate moves us one step closer to implementing this critical legislation. Improving the well-being of firefighters who risk their lives every day to keep our communities safe is an important goal. Better understanding any connections between their work and an increased risk for cancer will help mitigate those risks to keep our firefighters healthy,” said Rep. Pascrell, co-chair of the House Fire Services Caucus. “I am hopeful that the House will act swiftly so that we can get a final bill to the White House as soon as possible and we can get the program started.”
When signed into law, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would authorize federal funding to gather data about potential risk factors in order to better improve equipment and procedures. Participation in the registry would be completely voluntary and data collected would include status of the firefighter (volunteer, paid-on-call, or career), number of years on the job, the number of incidents attended, and the type of incidence.
The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act is expected to be passed in the House as amended in the coming weeks before heading to President Trump’s desk.
WILLIAMSVILLE, NY - Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today hosted a Vietnam War Commemoration Event in Batavia honoring more than 50 Vietnam Era veterans and distributed commemorative lapel pins from The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. This event was part of a national effort to recognize and thank Vietnam Veterans during the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
“As we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War, the memory is vivid in the minds of these outstanding individuals,” said Collins. “What our nation experienced during that time is unlike any other war, and we hold these Veterans in a very special regard. This was an extraordinarily humbling evening and these Veterans have my deepest gratitude for their selfless service.”
In addition to the Vietnam War Commemoration, President Donald Trump officially designated each March 29th as National Vietnam War Veterans Day to honor and thank U.S. Vietnam Veterans and their families for their service and sacrifices. Approximately 9 million Americans, 7 million living today, served in the military from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. More than 58,000 Americans died while serving during Vietnam war era.
Collins added: “I was honored to meet so many remarkable men and women this evening and plan to host similar events around my district in the future.”
The Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin is available to any veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces during the period of November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. Veterans interested in attending future ceremonies should contact Congressman Collins district office at 716-634-2324 or visit chriscollins.house.gov.
More information is available at www.vietnamwar50th.com.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27), member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, applauded yesterday’s advancement of 25 bills out of the Committee to help combat the opioid crisis. Collins championed three of these pieces of legislation that will head to the House floor.
“The opioid epidemic is impacting every community across America and we have to take action in order to save lives,” said Collins. “We have seen far too many innocent lives lost and families torn apart because of addiction. I’m hopeful that this package of bills will help individuals get the treatment they need and give communities the resources required to stop this epidemic in its tracks.”
Collins joined fellow New Yorker, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries in introducing the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2017 that would require the Surgeon General to report to Congress the public health effects of the rise of synthetic drug use by 12 to 18-year-olds. Currently, Congress does not have sufficient information to craft the unique types of public health and law enforcement approaches that could save our nation’s children from these dangerous substances.
Collins also introduced the Eliminating Opioid Related Infectious Diseases Act of 2018 with Congressman Leonard Lance, Congressman Joseph Kennedy, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congressman Joe Barton, and Congresswoman Doris Matsui that focuses specifically on how the opioid epidemic has contributed to an increase in infectious diseases like Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. Increased monitoring and education will lead to a better understanding of the impacts that this crisis is having on public health.
Finally, Collins introduced legislation with Congressman Eric Paulson, Congressman Ron Kind, and Congressman Connor Lamb that would require Medicare to send an annual notice to Part D patients about the adverse effects associated with prolonged opioid use. By improving awareness and education, the Medicare Clear Health Options in Care for Enrollees (CHOICE) Act will help patients be more inclined to watch for the warning signs of addiction and be more informed to talk with their doctors on their options for pain management.
The additional bills focus on helping patients receive treatment and making sure these drugs do not get into the wrong hands. The Committee has identified issues with enforcement, prevention, and coverage within Medicare, and the additional legislation provides solutions that will address these areas.
A background memo, electronic copies of the legislation, and live stream of the markup can be found online here. The Committee plans to hold a second markup on opioid legislation on Thursday, May 17, 2018.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today voted for a bill to reauthorize Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs for five years, providing long-term stability for the nation’s aviation community. This legislation makes no changes to the enhanced pilot training hours that Buffalo area families who lost loved ones during the Flight 3407 crash advocated for, which became law in the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010.
“For the next five years we will not have to worry about Congress watering down important pilot training requirements, giving us much needed certainty,” said Collins. “The families of Flight 3407 have been impressive and tireless advocates for flight safety reforms, and we will continue to work with the Trump administration to make sure there are no changes to these hours. Because of the work of the families, America’s flying public can have confidence in the skills of their pilots and we will do everything in our power to keep it that way.”
This legislation ensures our system remains the safest in the world for air travelers by enhancing maintenance procedures for aircrafts. Additionally, it requires the FAA to direct that all new passenger aircrafts include a second barrier of entry to cockpits within one year of the enactment of this legislation.
Bipartisan disaster relief reforms are also included, providing communities with resources to take action before a disaster occurs to pre-empt damage.
Collins added: “Since I was elected to Congress, I’ve made it a priority to keep Americans safe in our skies. This legislation is a win as we continue to advocate for reforms that enhance flight safety.”
For more information on H.R. 4, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, click here.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced that the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act was reported favorably from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Collins and Congressman Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) co-authored the House version of this bill that unanimously passed the House on September 12, 2017.
The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. A 2015 study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health found that firefighters had a greater number of cancer diagnoses and related deaths than the general population, revealing an enormous gap in research.
“In communities across the United States, firefighters so bravely run toward emergency situations and put their lives in danger to help their neighbors,” said Collins. “I thank my Senate colleagues for their work in advancing this important legislation through committee and for their commitment to the safety of our nation’s firefighters. We need more information to determine how to better improve equipment and protocols to keep these men and women safe, and this was a huge step in the right direction.”
“I am thankful for the efforts of Senators Bob Menendez, Lisa Murkowski, Patty Murray, and Lamar Alexander in advancing companion legislation establishing a national firefighter cancer registry through committee,” said Pascrell. “The passage of this bipartisan, bicameral bill by voice vote speaks volumes to our collective commitment to the brave men and women in the fire services. We are now a step closer to better understanding firefighters’ risks for developing cancer. Our legislation will ensure firefighters who enter smoke-filled rooms and hazardous environments in service to their communities get the support they need. While the House has already passed legislation which would create this registry, I look forward to the Senate legislation moving through its chamber so we can get a bill on the President’s desk this year.”
If signed into law, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act would authorize federal funds to gather data that would study a number of potential risk factors, including but not limited to the status of the firefighter (volunteer, paid-on-call, or career), number of years on the job, the number of incidents attended, and the type of incidence. The collection of this data would allow for improved equipment, enhanced safety protocols and preventative techniques for our firefighters.
The next step in advancing this legislation is passage in the Senate.
WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today hosted USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach for a dairy roundtable in Wyoming County and tour of Rudgers Registered Jerseys Farm. Collins and Ibach discussed the 2018 Farm Bill, NAFTA negotiations, and other issues that impact local dairy farmers.
“With the release of the Farm Bill and ongoing NAFTA talks, it is my hope that our region’s dairy farmers will soon see some relief,” said Collins. “Agriculture is the backbone of our region’s economy and it is essential that we implement policies that help our farmers succeed. I thank Under Secretary Ibach for traveling to my district to talk about important issues that face Western New York dairy farmers.”
“As a fifth generation farmer myself, I appreciate the many ways that Rudgers and other Western New York dairies contribute to their communities and the region,” said Ibach. “The American dairy industry faces challenges from a number of directions. USDA will continue to listen and work hand-in-hand with producers of every size and our Congressional partners, like Congressman Collins.”
This week, the House Agriculture Committee favorably reported the 2018 Farm Bill, which includes important reforms to the Margin Protection Program (MPP). This program provides critical protections to dairy farmers as milk and feed prices fluctuate, and proposed changes will allow farmers to receive more coverage at less cost.
The Farm Bill also strengthens investment in trade promotion initiatives, designed to build upon our current agriculture exports. This week Collins sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging him to put an end to Canada’s Class 7 pricing program. As NAFTA negations continue, Collins pledged to work with the Trump administration to get rid of this program, which has created an unfair playing field and has essentially eliminated U.S. exports of certain dairy products.
Additionally, Collins and Ibach discussed with farmers the unfair and complicated H-2A visa system that treats workers on certain types of farms different than it treats those on dairy farms. As a strong advocate for year-round legal work status, Collins and Ibach voiced commitment to finding solutions so dairy farmers can depend on a reliable and willing workforce.
Collins added: “I always enjoy meeting with our region’s dairy farmers and thank the Rudgers family for their hospitality and honest discussion about what we need to do to get this industry back on track. I look forward to continuing our work together on ways to strengthen and grow our dairy economy.”
WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael O’Rielly today called on New York State to stop diverting fees collected for 9-1-1 services during a tour of the Niagara County 9-1-1 facilities. The FCC has found that New York diverts approximately 41% of fees that are collected from consumers on their phone bills, which are meant to be used to improve 9-1-1 emergency communications systems, to its General Fund.
In 2012, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which allocated funding for states to upgrade emergency systems to next generation 9-1-1, although New York State is not eligible to receive these funds. Federal funds are not available to states that divert the fees collected on phone bills, leaving New York with an outdated and unreliable emergency system, especially in rural areas.
“It is no surprise that New York’s corrupt Governor is diverting important funds meant to improve 9-1-1 services into a taxpayer funded slush fund,” said Collins. “Governor Cuomo is putting the lives of New Yorkers in danger, specifically in rural areas, and we are calling him out on his shady tactics. We must prioritize the safety of our communities and improving these services is absolutely essential to keeping our residents safe.”
“It is always impressive to get to see dedicated public safety officials in action, especially down the street from where I grew up,” said O’Reilly. “But, it is also a stark reminder that these officials and the people in need of emergency services deserve better. Next generation 9-1-1 will provide sophisticated features that will help save lives. Getting there will take the appropriate level of funding, by some estimates upwards of $2.2 billion. Yet, the state effectively steals 41% out of its 9-1-1 coffers for other purposes. We have to demand answers to the question: what could be more important than this life saving technology? State leaders should know that my engagement with New York on this issue is just beginning.”
“The diversion of 9-1-1 fees away from Niagara County by the State of New York is a blatant misuse of funds generated from emergency service calls,” said New York State Senator Ortt. “These, funds should be going toward the upgrading of current emergency service systems, not toward subsidizing Albany’s spending habits. This is why I am a proud co-sponsor of legislation requiring the state to provide local governments with an increased percentage of the fees collected from emergency service calls. Funds generated from the use of local utilities should immediately be put back into those localities.”
“Between the years of 2013 and 2017, New York State has collected more than $10.2 million dollars in wireless phone surcharges from Niagara County residents,” said Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour. “A total of only $2.2 million dollars has been returned to Niagara County 911 in those five years to improve operations.”
“It is appalling to think our Governor is misappropriating desperately needed monies from our 911 call centers that our citizens depend upon during life-threatening emergencies,” said David Godfrey, Chairman Niagara County Public Safety Committee. “Our 911 public safety communications specialists respond with services and resources that save lives and property of citizens in desperate need of help. The work of these unseen and often unrecognized first responders is invaluable to the citizens of Niagara County in emergency situations. We place our trust in these individuals each and every day to provide assistance under the most stressful of situations. The dispatchers of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office handled 317,320 calls in 2017. This breaks down to 26,443 calls per month and 869 calls per day. Of these 317,320 calls in 2017, 102,727 were emergency (911) phone calls. Although our dispatchers are highly trained in the job that they do, without up-to-date technologies to assist them, our taxpayers are left with a substandard response to their call for help. As elected officials and caring human beings, we find this totally unacceptable, and call upon Governor Cuomo to correct this injustice by using the 911 funds 100% for the purpose the tax was intended…the safety of our citizens.”
During the tour, Collins, O’Rielly and local elected officials saw firsthand the work that is done to respond to the emergency needs of Western New Yorkers and how fee diversion is impacting services. If New York does not stop diverting fees, Collins and O’Rielly committed to exploring ideas at a federal level to bring these practices to an end.
WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael O’Rielly today met with local elected officials to discuss the lack of high-speed internet in rural communities across New York’s 27th Congressional District.
“I thank Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, a Lockport native, for coming to my district to discuss the FCC initiatives that will help provide our communities with increased broadband capabilities,” said Collins. “This day in age, the lack of access to broadband we see in Western New York is astonishing. We must make sure our rural communities have the resources they need to run a business, complete an education, or simply shop online. Government officials and the private sector must work collaboratively in order to remove the regulatory barriers that are standing in the way of increased access.”
“I appreciated hearing directly from New York lawmakers about the need for broadband throughout the state of New York,” said O’Rielly. “Last year, New York received up to $170.4 million from the FCC Universal Service Fund to ensure the entire state was connected. I will be monitoring how this buildout process advances and expect state leaders are able to deliver on the promises it made when it took this funding.”
Collins’ district is 65% underserved by high-speed internet, with 3% completely unserved. This is largely due to burdensome regulations on internet service providers that deter them from expanding service to rural areas.
Throughout his time in Congress, Collins has worked to correct discrepancies in current law to make sure companies who build the groundwork to provide everyday Americans with internet service are able to continue expansion. O’Rielly will continue to provide the necessary oversight to make sure state lawmakers are properly utilizing funding and taking action to expand broadband access.
“In March of 2012, the Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance (NORA) initiated a project to bring high-speed, reliable, and affordable Internet to every home across our two counties,” said Lynne M. Johnson, Chairman Orleans County Legislature and David E. Godfrey, Chairman Niagara County Public Safety Committee. “By the end of 2017, the Governor’s New York State Broadband Program office distributed ½ billion dollars to qualified Internet vendors, with the promise to deliver that service to nearly 99% of the residents across both counties. NORA will continue to stand guard to ensure the vendors keep their commitment to cover our most rural areas. Through the vigilant efforts of Congressman Collins and Commissioner O’Rielly, and the additional federal funding they have work so diligently to secure, our taxpayers will finally cross the threshold into the 21st century. Our fight will not be over until the last house with the last child gets the Internet service they not only need but deserve.”
“The GLOW counties appreciate the outreach and efforts by our partners in the federal government , Congressman Collins and Commissioner O’Rielly, to help us achieve a close to 98% rural broadband reality that leverages public and private resources to deliver reliable and 21st century internet speed to some of our hardest to serve areas,” said Jay Gsell, Genesee County Manager. “While said ‘Last Mile’ residents and businesses are ready and waiting for the extension of high speed internet to their ‘Front Door,’ getting there has been an ongoing struggle. Hopefully the combined efforts of our local governments, federal partners, state government and the private sector internet providers will get us to the finish line.”
"Rural broadband expansion is a big issue for our residents,” said Ian M. Coyle, County Administrator. The notion that the state, and this county, is 100% covered is a misnomer and we need additional deployments and resource expansion into our persistently underserved and unserved areas."
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement condemning Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to restore voting rights to more than 35,000 New York felons on parole. Current New York State election laws bar convicted felons the right to vote until they have completed their parole.
“I am appalled by Governor Cuomo’s actions today in what is so clearly a political maneuver to score him some more votes in a tough primary. Governor Cuomo’s corrupt tactics are on full display, as is his desperation to win over the liberal left. I strongly condemn the Governor’s unjust and undemocratic executive order, which undermines the law-abiding voters of New York State.”
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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PRESS RELEASE: Collins Backed Bills to Combat the Opioid Epidemic Head to House Floor - https://t.co/znWovh14Pq
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