Congressmen Chris Collins (NY-27) and Dave Loebsack (IA-02) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in support of maintaining the minimum first officer training and qualification regulations for airline pilots included in Part 121 of airline operations. This Congressional support comes as America is currently enjoying the safest period of airline travel in history after regulations were established in the aftermath of a series of fatal airline crashes between 2004 and 2009. These crashes were determined by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to be caused in part by inadequate pilot training and qualifications standards.
As a result of a number of airline tragedies, including the 2009 Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash occurring in Clarence, NY, new regulations were put in place requiring a substantial increase in pilot training. These new regulations came after families who lost loved ones as a result of the Flight 3407 crash became vocal advocates in the fight for flight safety reform. Their efforts won the passage of a number of new measures toward the goal of providing one level of safety for the flying public. As a result of these changes, there has not been a fatal regional airline crash in more than seven years.
“I applaud the tireless efforts of the families that lost loved ones on Flight 3407. They are a large reason why air travel has been the safest it has been in decades,” said Collins. “I would be gravely concerned if their efforts are overturned because of regional airlines trying to extend their profits. The federal government and the airlines have a responsibility to keep Americans safe in the skies. It is our hope Secretary Chao joins in our efforts to save the current pilot training standards which have proven so effective.”
“In recent years, since the current training regulations have been in place, the number of tragedies in the skies across the country has decreased,” said Loebsack. “It is apparent that these training qualifications exist for good reason, and that is to ensure the safety of airline passengers across the United States. I am proud to work with Congressman Collins and 67 other members to ensure that no effort is made to undermine the safety of our skies.”
In total, the letter to Secretary Chao was signed by 69 Members of Congress in anticipation of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill’s expiration in September of 2017. Regional airlines have led a push to remove the training requirements due to their claim of pilot shortage. They are proposing to replace time spent training in the cockpit with classroom hours which many would consider a terrible mistake. A copy of the letter can be found here.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today sent a letter to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (NY-25) urging her to support an amendment to the FY18 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations bill that would provide much needed relief to property owners, businesses, and municipalities on the Lake Ontario shoreline. Submitted in March of this year, the amendment from Congressman John Katko (NY-24) and Congressman Collins would direct the International Joint Commission (IJC) to compensate for damages caused by Plan 2014 using the panel’s existing funding.
“It is time the IJC paid-up and compensated our constituents for the irreplaceable damages that are directly related to Plan 2014,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “This is the type of situation where we need to look past party lines and work together to do what is best for Western New York taxpayers, and that is making sure they can recover from this mess and to protect them from future devastation.”
Plan 2014 is the IJC’s plan to regulate the water levels in Lake Ontario creating higher-highs and lower-lows and at a more frequent pace. Lake Ontario’s current water levels are higher than they have been in over a century and experts predict it will be months until the levels drop. Increased water levels have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to homeowners and Governor Cuomo has joined Congressman Collins in calling for the IJC to renegotiate.
A June 2014 report from the IJC stated that the average annual damages to the Lake Ontario coastal development would be larger under Plan 2014 than the previous plan, 1958DD. The report continued to explain that the average increase in damage is estimated at $2 million, which has already been exceeded. Congresswoman Slaughter’s district has the largest area of projected damage with constituents facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in harm to their homes.
“I’m urging the Congresswoman to support this amendment, helping those residents affected by bad decisions by the bureaucracy,” Collins said. “This plan is a bad deal for New York and I hope Congresswoman Slaughter will join in these efforts. We need to work cooperatively to stop this plan and get the people of Western New York the compensation they deserve.”
The original letter sent to the Committee on Appropriations from Collins and Katko can be found here. Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-22) sent a letter to the Committee on Appropriations in support of the amendment and issued a press release on the subject. Monroe County Executive, Cheryl Dinolfo, sent a letter to Commissioner Bouchard regarding shoreline property owner compensation.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today hailed the inclusion of his amendment to the House passed American Health Care Act into the Senate version of the bill. The amendment, introduced with Congressman John Faso (NY-19), would require New York State to take over the county portion of Medicaid by 2020 and would provide the largest property tax reduction ever to Western New York.
“This was a long fought battle against the injustice in Albany and is a big victory for taxpayers,” said Congressman Collins.
Federal law now permits states to share some of their costs with local governments, but New York is the only state that has imposed this level of burden on property taxpayers. Counties currently have no say in how local revenues are spent on Medicaid; they’re simply required to foot part of Albany’s bill. Local state leaders agreed that the inclusion of the amendment is important and welcome news for Western New York residents.
"Mandate relief has been talked about in Albany for as long as anyone can remember - it certainly wasn't new when I was talking about it as mayor. It's not a headline-grabbing or attractive issue, so meaningful proposals on mandate relief are generally swept aside. But I can tell you that it's real. It's real for the local governments who deal with tight budgets and it's real for taxpayers who pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. I applaud Congressman Collins for bringing this issue to the forefront. Ideally, this would have been a serious discussion at the state level, but having failed that, I'm pleased that we could possibly address the crippling burden placed on our local governments as part of larger, federal health care discussions,” said State Senator Ortt.
“As a long-time supporter of curbing the costs of Medicaid, which would take a heavy burden off of local governments, I am proud to support Congressman Collins’ amendment. The impact on my assembly district and local taxpayers will be tremendous with estimated tax reductions of 49 percent in Orleans County and 35 percent in Genesee County. It is clear that New York’s outrageous Medicaid spending is one of the driving forces behind property and school tax increases and it is time for government to take that burden off our residents’ backs,” said Assemblyman Steve Hawley.
"Western New Yorkers pay some of the highest property taxes in the state. Rep. Collins' amendment fixes this problem and protects upstate taxpayers from Albany’s unfunded mandates. Removing the unfunded county Medicaid mandate is key to reducing local property taxes and growing our economy,” said Assemblyman Ray Walter.
"This amendment is a blessing for upstate families, small businesses, and farms that’ve been crushed by the high taxes and unfunded mandates coming from Albany. The inclusion of this amendment is a win for our towns and villages and I appreciate Rep. Collins efforts to stand up for our taxpayers,” said Assemblyman Joseph Errigo.
"I'm pleased that the Senate has included Rep. Collins's amendment in the healthcare reform bill. This promises real relief for property tax payers in communities like Niagara County, and holds state government accountable to fund their mandates instead of passing on costs to the local level. Americans deserve access to the best healthcare possible, but it shouldn't fall to just homeowners to fund the system,” said Niagara County Legislature Chairman Wm. Keith McNall.
"Congressman Collins' Medicaid proposal will provide historic “real” property tax relief for hardworking local taxpayers. Currently over 30 perfect of the Ontario County property tax levy currently goes towards paying for New York's unfunded Medicaid mandate. I look forward to working with Rep. Collins and the members of the Board of Supervisors as we continue our efforts to reduce the burden on hardworking taxpayers in our community," said Jack Marren, Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors.
"This is an important step forward in our fight to reduce unfunded mandates and protect local taxpayers. This measure will reduce local property taxes and help ensure that our seniors can afford to stay in their homes," said Bob Green, Vice Chairman of the Ontario County Board of Supervisors.
“We as a board supported a resolution in support of this measure because protecting property taxpayers is one of our prime concerns. This legislation will reduce an unfunded state mandate and help us deliver real tax relief to local homeowners,” said Eric Gott, Chairman, Livingston County Board of Supervisors.
“We appreciate Rep. Collins efforts to relieve the counties of this extraordinary unfunded mandate. This will be a tremendous relief to local county property taxpayers and will allow us to invest in our infrastructure and other county services,” said Raymond Cianfrini, Chairman, Genesee County Legislature.
“For years counties in New York have decried the use of property taxes to fund New York State’s expansive Medicaid program. We are optimistic that changes at the federal level can result in real, substantive, positive changes to the bottom line for county property tax payers,” said David B. Callard, Chairman, Orleans County Legislature.
The Senate is expected to vote next week on their version of the Obamacare repeal bill.
Chris Collins (R-Clarence) and Congressmen John Faso (R-Kinderhook) today expressed satisfaction upon learning that the language based on Faso's Property Tax Reduction Act (PTRA), which was inserted by Collins as part of the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), was also included in the Senate’s draft healthcare legislation released on Thursday.
“For decades, Albany’s Medicaid mandate and resulting property taxes have burdened New Yorkers unlike in any other state. What we’ve got to show for this scheme is people fleeing our state in droves, businesses relocating, and crushing and often unpayable bills for those who stay behind,” said Rep. Faso. He added, “The language in the Senate bill will fulfill the objective of the Property Tax Reduction Act, and give New Yorkers some long overdue property tax relief. Governor Cuomo’s false and hysterical charges about this provision are unfortunate. Rather than false claims, Mr. Cuomo should start preparing to reform his Medicaid program and finally take full responsibility for the program, as governors in the other states are already doing,” continued Faso.
Representative Chris Collins added, “This is important and welcome news for New Yorkers that the Senate leaders have recognized the burdens placed upon taxpayers for far too long and included our amendment to force Albany to end its unfunded mandate on New York’s counties once and for all. We are on track to ending the Obamacare nightmare and I am pleased with the progress made today to bring vital reforms and the largest property tax reduction ever enacted to Western New York.”
Faso's Property Tax Reduction Act amends federal law to require New York State to take over the county portion of Medicaid by 2020. Federal law now permits states to share some of their costs with local governments, but only New York State among the 50 states has imposed this level of burden on property taxpayers, prompting Faso to campaign on this issue in 2016.
Representative Tom Reed (NY-23) also expressed his support for the language, “I am glad to see that Senate leadership recognized the importance of this amendment. Albany cannot be allowed to force its share of Medicaid onto the backs of County taxpayers. Residents are fleeing the state because we have some of the highest property taxes in the country. Relief for hardworking New Yorkers is long overdue. I would like to thank both Congressman Faso and Collins for their work to make this tax cut a reality.”
Read more about the Property Tax Reduction Act:
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today announced $82,667 in federal funding for the Hemlock Volunteer Fire Department. The grant was awarded through the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) Program, which is designed to help first responders improve their capability to respond to fires and emergencies of all types.
“As residents of New York’s 27th Congressional District, we’re fortunate enough to have thousands of firefighters who are willing to volunteer their time and put their lives on the line to protect their fellow neighbors,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “If a volunteer fire department is unable to fund the purchase of new equipment, their members instead will use outdated equipment that puts their overall health and safety in jeopardy. The AFG program is a great resource for volunteer fire departments, and I am glad the Hemlock Volunteer Fire Department will utilize this $82,667 in funding to protect their members and the communities they serve.”
The Hemlock Volunteer Fire Department will use this $82,667 federal grant to purchase 14 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) air packs. This will provide the Hemlock Volunteer Firefighters with breathable air when responding to an emergency situation.
“The AFG program is important for local volunteer fire departments, as it helps us purchase safety equipment that we would otherwise not be able to afford,” said Chad Fraser, Acting Chief of the Hemlock Volunteer Fire Department. “We will be using $82,667 in AFG funding to purchase 14 SCBAs. We greatly appreciate Congressman Collins’ efforts on behalf of the Hemlock Volunteer Fire Department and look forward to working with him in the future.”
The AFG Grant Program provides direct funding assistance to fire departments, State Fire Training Academies, and non-affiliated EMS organizations to enhance their response capabilities and to more effectively protect the health and safety of both the public and emergency response personnel with respect to fire and all other hazards.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement in response to today’s shooting in Alexandria, Virginia:
“Today’s attack on Whip Steve Scalise, Members of Congress, the Capitol Police, and congressional aides is absolutely devastating. For those injured, we all send our prayers for a speedy recovery. If it weren’t for the brave men and women of the Capitol Police, this attack would have resulted in an even greater tragedy and I, along with my colleagues, are thankful for their service.
“While it is apparent that the shooter was a zealot with an intention to cause harm, it is important that we all be cognizant that our words have strong meaning. It’s time for all of us, including myself, to tone down our rhetoric and recognize that we are all of one country and all proud Americans.”
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today supported legislation that allows the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) the ability to take disciplinary action against an underperforming employee that is not fulfilling their duties. This legislation comes as a result of numerous instances where VA’s arcane civil service rules have hampered the department’s ability to discipline or dismiss an underperforming employee.
“You hear stories of a VA nurse that participated in surgery while drunk, an employee who committed an armed robbery, a psychiatrist that was watching inappropriate videos on the job, and it is shocking that these individuals may still be on the job,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “I proudly supported this bill because I know there are committed and trustworthy employees at VA and these situations have cast a shadow on the important work they are doing to improve the lives of veterans. The Secretary of VA should have the power to make sure only the most qualified individuals are serving those who have served us, and this bill will provide the flexibility to do just that.”
The legislation voted on today creates a streamlined and efficient process to remove, demote, or suspend a VA employee for poor performance or misconduct, while still protecting their due process rights. Additionally, the bill provides expanded protections for whistleblowers, specifically barring the VA from removing an employee that has an open whistleblower compliant with the Office of Special Counsel.
“Whistleblowers have been key to revealing incompetence and wrongdoing at VA facilities around the nation. This legislation should encourage more individuals to come forward and report malpractice and mismanagement. We owe it to our nation’s veterans to make sure they are taken care of, and I am hopeful that measures like this will get VA back on track.”
The House passed H.R. 1259, VA Accountability First Act of 2017 on March 16, 2017. The Senate passed S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 on June 6, 2017. The House today passed the Senate version of the bill and it will now head to the President.
U.S. Representatives Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Chris Collins (R-NY), today wrote to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) conduct a full disease and pest management risk analysis (PRA) for apples imported from Poland, which has not previously met phytosanitary requirements for U.S. market access.
The Members wrote:
“As you know, the introduction of a single invasive plant, pest, or disease can have a devastating impact on our domestic tree fruit industry. We feel APHIS’ systems approach proposal does not fully address key concerns raised by domestic apple growers about the potential risk from the importation of plant pests and diseases from Poland.”
The Members continued in the letter:
“Since Poland has not previously met phytosanitary requirements for U.S. market access, unlike the other seven EU countries under consideration, we still request that APHIS conduct a thorough PRA for Poland prior to determining whether it is appropriate to allow access to Polish imports under this petition.”
June 13, 2017
The Honorable Sonny Perdue
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Perdue:
Last year, we along with a number of our colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) Administrator Kevin Shea regarding a proposal to change the U.S. market import requirements for apples from certain countries in the European Union (EU) [Docket No. APHIS-2015-0073]. While we appreciate Administrator Shea’s willingness to respond to this issue, our concerns remain over the impact and risk associated with APHIS not conducting a full disease and pest management risk analysis (PRA) for Poland.
As you know, the introduction of a single invasive plant, pest, or disease can have a devastating impact on our domestic tree fruit industry. We feel APHIS’ systems approach proposal does not fully address key concerns raised by domestic apple growers about the potential risk from the importation of plant pests and diseases from Poland.
Since Poland has not previously met phytosanitary requirements for U.S. market access, unlike the other seven EU countries under consideration, we still request that APHIS conduct a thorough PRA for Poland prior to determining whether it is appropriate to allow access to Polish imports under this petition.
In addition, on May 11, 2017, you announced intentions to focus your tenure as Secretary on agricultural trade with the reorganization and establishment of the Undersecretary for Trade at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We believe this is a prime opportunity for the new undersecretary to ensure our trading partners that we will continue to honor our commitments and treat our trade partners with the proper and appropriate access.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today reacted to news of anticipated steep increases in the price of BlueCross BlueShield plans available to New Yorker’s through the New York State Insurance marketplace.
“Not only has Obamacare been a failure for most of America, it is now failing the people of Western New York by making basic healthcare completely unaffordable and inaccessible,” said Congressman Collins. “I am absolutely appalled a BlueCross BlueShield plan in Western New York would increase by almost fifty percent in the marketplace.”
BlueCross BlueShield pointed to the failed Obamacare policies that have cost insurance companies millions of dollars, driving up costs for Americans. Regulations put in place under Obamacare have made the insurance marketplace less competitive, thus increasing costs for consumers.
While President Obama promised that premiums under his plan would decrease during these last few years, a May 23, 2017 report from the Department of Health and Human Services showed that Obamacare increased premiums across the country by 105% between 2013 and 2017.
“Obamacare’s chief cheerleader in our state, Governor Andrew Cuomo, owes our community an apology,” added Congressman Collins. “Cuomo is part and parcel to Obama’s promises that ‘you can keep your plan’ and premiums will be lower. Those have turned out to be lies.”
Collins said there was help on the way. The American Health Care Act (AHCA), which passed the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017, repeals and replaces Obamacare and removes more than $800 billion in onerous taxes and fees that have been stifling the economy and eliminating job growth.
“I am working with my colleagues in Congress to implement policies that allow the people of Western New York the opportunity to make their own choice when it comes to healthcare and provide lower premiums. Americans deserve to be able to pick which plan works best for their family, and I’m urging the senate to take up the American Health Care Act so we can get ourselves out of this mess.”
The American Health Care Act:
· Eliminates the individual and employer mandate, which forced millions of workers, families, and job creators into government mandated plans that did not work for their needs.
· For Western New Yorkers, the bill also includes the largest property tax reduction ever to be enacted. The legislation includes an amendment Congressman Collins introduced that would bar federal reimbursements for New York State Medicaid funds raised from local governments.
· Guarantees protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions by prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, banning insurers from rescinding coverage based on a pre-existing condition, and preventing insurers from raising premiums on individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage. Additionally, New York state law fully protects individuals with pre-existing conditions.
· Modernizes and strengthens Medicaid by implementing a “per capita allotment” which provides more flexibility for states and results in the largest entitlement reform in decades.
· Provides Americans access to affordable care that works for their needs by delivering monthly tax credits of $2,000-$14,000 a year, which individuals and families can use to purchase private insurance of their choice.
· A provision within the American Health Care Act (AHCA), The Patient and State Stability Fund, would provide solutions to help lower costs and repair insurance markets damaged by Obamacare. CBO estimates this would significantly reduce premiums in the nongroup market and encourage participation by insurers.
The American Health Care Act is with the Senate where it will need to be approved before heading to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.
Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after hosting his office’s annual Service Academy Luncheon with the seven appointed candidates from New York’s 27th Congressional District and their families. Hosted each year, the Service Academy Luncheon is an opportunity for Congressman Collins to congratulate the appointed candidates and offer his sincere appreciation to those who helped make the Service Academy cycle a success.
“The seven appointed candidates here today fully understand the obligation and tremendous honor that comes with attending a Service Academy,” said Congressman Chris Collins. “The strong qualities of leadership, integrity, and patriotism these young men and women embody will serve them well throughout their military service. It is a tremendous privilege to represent these candidates and the Western New York military community in Congress. I want to thank the eight members of my Service Academy Review Board for offering their time and guidance throughout this process to ensure the principles of our servicemen and women will be represented in the Class of 2021.”
“Given my 12 years of military experience and multiple deployments to Iraq, I understand the importance of a good leader,” said Brock Cummins, U.S. Army veteran & member of Congressman Collins’ Service Academy Review Board. “I know the type of officer that is needed to win on and off the battlefield. I appreciate the time and effort the Congressmen put into selecting our future military officers. All of the board members have different backgrounds and approach the selecting process from a different angle. For me it's easy. I'm not going to recommend somebody to attend a military academy and become a future officer if I can not see him or her leading my son or daughter into combat! It is a privilege to sit on the academy review board on behalf of our local elected official.”
NY-27 Appointed Candidates for the Class of 2021
United States Military Academy at West Point
Olivia Gervan—Lancaster High School
Anna Orlando—Canterbury School, Graduate of Lancaster High School
Joshua Hunter—Orchard Park High School
Thomas Alvermann—McQuaid Jesuit High School
Brendan Ryan—United States Military Academy Preparatory School, Graduate of Hamburg High School
United States Naval Academy
Jessica Mogavero—Clarence High School
United States Air Force Academy
Campbell Andersen—Batavia High School
Pictures from this year’s Service Academy Luncheon can be viewed on Congressman Collins’ office Flickr album: https://flic.kr/s/aHskXAiVhZ.
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.
Earlier today, I joined Flight 3407 families in Washington to call for their hard fought safety reforms to be included in the FAA re-authorization
Rather than address out-of-control Medicaid costs, New York instead passed the buck to property taxpayers—and officials here in NY-27 know
I spoke on the House floor this week in support of the Property Tax Reduction Act, legislation that would provide the largest property tax cut
We’re fortunate enough to have thousands of firefighters who are willing to volunteer their time and put their lives on the line to protect
The inclusion of my Medicaid Local Share Limitation amendment in the Senate health bill is important and welcome news for New York residents.