Stefanik named to China task force

U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, returned to Washington, D.C., last week as the House of Representatives reconvened to consider a number of important bills.

On Monday, July 20, the House began considering the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 on the floor. Rep. Stefanik has been actively involved in this year’s NDAA process as a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

“This bill supports our force protection and military intelligence capabilities to ensure our servicemembers have the tools they need to mitigate hostile actions while they continue their important missions abroad,” Rep. Stefanik said on the floor of the House that day.

The bill passed the next day, with Rep. Stefanik voting yes. That bill will now head to conference between the Senate — which passed its measure Thursday — and House, and Rep. Stefanik will serve in that conference.

On Tuesday, July 21, Rep. Stefanik added her name to a House resolution that recognized the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

“I am proud to represent a district that is the home of the birthplace of Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Johnstown and Susan B. Anthony’s home in Greenwich,” Rep. Stefanik said in a news release sent July 21. “These women were essential voices of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and I am proud to honor their legacy in a number of ways, including this resolution.”

On Wednesday, July 22, Rep. Stefanik cosponsored the Defend COVID Research from Hackers Act, which she said will “help protect American advancements towards the development of a COVID-19 vaccine from hackers and hold anyone who attempts to commit those cyber crimes accountable.”

The Justice Department announced the prior day that it was charging two hackers for targeting U.S. companies doing research into a vaccine for COVID-19. The hackers being charged are Chinese citizens Li Xiaoyu and Dong Jiazhi, who prosecutors say have been targeting American companies since 2009, sometimes for themselves and sometimes for the Chinese Ministry of State Security. Both men reside in China.

Rep. Stefanik voted July 22 to pass the final version of the Great American Outdoors Act, which is a package of two bills, the Restore Our Parks Act and a bill that permanently authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund. It establishes a fund that would support maintenance projects on federal lands that have been deferred until now due to insufficient funding. The bill requires that 50 percent of all federal revenue from the development of energy production or fuel extraction projects on federal land or water be devoted to the funding of those projects.

“Investing in our parks, beaches, and trails through a permanently and fully funded Land and Water Conservation Fund will expand access to natural areas like the Adirondack Mountains.” said Julie Tighe, president of the New York League of Conversation Voters, in a statement.

The bill now moves to President Donald J. Trump’s desk for his signature.

On Thursday, July 23, Rep. Stefanik signed onto a letter alongside 40 other representatives, requesting more information on the implementation of the COVID-19 Telehealth Program, which funds telecommunication services used by health providers to offer telehealth services to patients. The goals of the program were to increase access to health care and minimize the congregation of people, especially potentially sick people, from healthcare facilities that may see an influx of COVID-19 patients.

Rep. Stefanik called for more funding, and said that many health care providers have expressed interest in the program, more than can be served by the initial allocation of funds.

“As Congress considers another COVID-19 relief package, it is important that we include provisions for programs like these that have significant impact on rural communities,” she said in a statement.

Also on Thursday, Rep. Stefanik voted with the majority of the House, to pass a resolution that would direct the Joint Committee on the Library and the Architect of the Capitol to replace the bust of Roger Brook Taney from the Old Supreme Court Chamber in the Capitol, and replace it with the bust of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice.

Mr. Taney was the fifth Chief Justice of the U.S., and delivered the majority opinion in the Dred Scott case, which ruled that African Americans could not be U.S. citizens.

The resolution would also prohibit the display of any statue in the National Statuary Hall of any person who served as an officer or volunteer for the Confederate States of America, or any other entity that rebelled against the U.S. It direct that any statue of such a person be given to the Smithsonian Institution for storage or display, or to return the statue to the state that sponsored it.

On Friday, July 24, Rep. Stefanik cosponsored an amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2012 that would strengthen labeling standards for dairy products.

“When non-dairy alternatives label themselves with real dairy terms, consumers are misled and North Country dairy farmers are places at a disadvantage in the grocery store,” she said in a statement.

Also on July 24, Rep. Stefanik added her name to the Edith Shorougian Senior Victims of Fraud Compensation Act, which would allow senior citizens who have been targeted by scams to recoup their financial losses from the Crime Victims Fund.

The bill is named after Edith Shorougian, a Wisconsin senior woman who had over $80,000 taken from her and her husband’s life savings by Chris Kubiak, a financial adviser and someone Ms. Shorougian said she considered a friend. The bill was initially introduced in the Senate on March 9, by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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