Jacobs Gives Updates on Farming, Rural Broadband, Border Crossing, COVID-19 Relief, and Cuomo Accountability

FULL RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF CONGRESSMAN CHRIS JACOBS:

The 117th Congress has gotten underway, and it has been busy already. I wanted to take a moment to provide you with an update on my work in Congress and what I am doing to support the people of Western New York. 

Representing Western New York Farmers 

I am honored to be representing Western New York farmers once again on the House Agriculture Committee for the 117th Congress. Our region’s economy is directly supported by our agricultural producers, processes, and agri-businesses. I am committed to continuing my work to support them and ensure they have the resources they need to survive the pandemic and thrive for future generations. 


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I recently joined my colleagues in calling upon the Biden Administration to reinstate the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) that was created in the original CARES Act and has successfully supported farmers throughout the pandemic. Since taking office, the Biden Administration has halted the processing of applications and payments to farmers; this decision must be reversed. 

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I have also been busy touring NY-27 farms and production facilities. I received a tour of Folt’s Farm in North Collins to get an update on their dairy production, and I toured Wheatfield Gardens to learn more about the innovative clean energy and hydroponic systems they are using to grow high quality produce year-round.

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Fighting for better Rural Broadband Access 
Two weeks ago, I held a press conference with Orleans County Legislature Chairwoman Lynne Johnson and the Orleans County United Way to raise awareness for the growing need for expanded high-speed internet access and the current discrepancies in coverage data. 

The first step to ensuring Western New Yorkers have access to high-speed internet is gathering accurate data on who needs it. Recently, Governor Cuomo pocketed vetoed legislation that would require the Public Service Commission to conduct a comprehensive coverage study and provide the state with up to date coverage maps. While the state is failing to address these serious discrepancies in coverage data, I am committed to supporting efforts at the federal level and local level to ensure more Western New York small businesses, families, farmers, and students can access high-speed internet, which has become even more vital during the pandemic. 

This issue spans across every county in Western New York. However, currently the Orleans County United Way is surveying residents in the county. If you live in Orleans County and have not completed your survey yet, a link to an online version can be found here, and paper copies can be found in libraries across the county. 

Re-opening the US – Canadian Border Safely

Recently I joined the House Northern Border Caucus, and my first priority is working to advocate for a plan that safely re-opens the US – Canadian border for commerce, families, and property owners. Right now, both countries have inconsistent policies resulting in some family members being separated for almost a year, property owners being restricted from traveling to survey damage and collect belongings, and local economies being devastated by the lack of cross-border tourism and commerce. 

I joined my colleagues in sending a letter to the Biden Administration urging them to promptly develop a cooperative and binational plan with the Canadian government to open the northern border with a set of standard and fair practices for both countries. 

Holding Governor Cuomo Accountable

For months grieving families and elected officials have sought information regarding the impact of the Governor’s decision to put COVID-19 positive patients back into nursing homes with other high-risk individuals. The result was disastrous, but we didn’t know the full extent until NY Attorney General James released a report that found the state could be under-reporting nursing home death data by as much as 50%.

Just this past week we learned that Governor and his staff were hiding information from federal prosecutors when his aide admitted to it on a conference call. I joined the entire NY Republican congressional delegation in sending a letter to the Department of Justice calling for subpoenas to be issued and an investigation to be launched into the cover-up of data and obstruction of justice by Governor Cuomo and the NYS Department of Health. We must get answers, and those involved in that disastrous decision must be held accountable.

Fighting for Bipartisan COVID-19 Relief

As you may know, Democrats, with the White House’s blessing, are moving forward with unilateral action to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. While I believe there is still work to be done to defeat COVID-19 – such as provide aid directly to local governments and supporting vaccine distribution – I do not believe such a large package should be developed without bipartisan consensus. 

We have successfully negotiated packages in the past on a bipartisan basis. We should continue to do so to ensure it is targeted and effective at addressing the needs of all Americans. I recently spoke on the floor against the one-sided budget reconciliation process Democrats are using to pass this legislation, and I called for bipartisan cooperation. 

Honoring Local Heroes

Recently I was in Albion and Batavia to honor local police officers and veterans who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to serve their nation and their communities. 

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In Albion NYS Trooper Scott Gregson, Orleans County Sheriff Investigator Kevin Colonna, and Undersheriff Mike Mele were honored for their life-saving actions while on duty and for their many years of dedicated service to our communities. Our law enforcement officers continue to show bravery, courage, and selflessness while serving Western New York, and I am proud to honor them. 

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In Batavia, I designated Margaret Peri as the NY-27 Veteran of the Month. She served in the United States Army from July 1975 through September of 1978. Throughout her military service, she was a Chapel Activities Specialist. Her dedication to comforting and caring for patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center earned her the Army Commendation Medal. Following her military career, Margaret served the people of Genesee County for over 38 years in the Department of Social Services. She has also been a dedicated volunteer going on natural disaster relief mission trips to Ireland, Costa Rica, Haiti, and Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. She is also a member of the Eight Days of Hope Ministry and has been actively participating in food drives and food delivery for Western New York residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Conclusion

As always, you can reach out to my office for help with a federal agency or share questions, comments, or concerns about legislation. In addition, please subscribe to my newsletter, follow me on Twitter, and follow me on Facebook to ensure that you are receiving the most up to date information from my office. 

It is an honor to represent Western New York in the 117th Congress, and I look forward to continuing to fight for our region’s comeback.