September 2019: Nydia's End of District Work Period Update
In this issue:
- A Note from Congresswoman Velázquez
- Addressing Gun Violence
- Announcing Resources for Local Healthcare, Education
- Championing Our Veterans
- Seeking Financial Relief for NY Cabbies
- Fighting for our Immigrants
- Protecting the Environment from Unsafe Pesticides
A Note from Congresswoman Velázquez
As Congress returns from the August District Work Period, I thought it would make sense to reach out and update you on some of my activities.
Even with Congress out of session this month, I’ve remained busy working on a wide range of issues that matter to New Yorkers and all Americans.
Sadly, the tragedy of gun violence continues to plague our nation. Mass shootings in Dayton, El Paso and Odessa, as well as gun violence closer to home in Brooklyn, remind us of the terrible toll guns take on our families and communities. To that end, I’m working with my Democratic colleagues on commonsense gun control proposals that will help prevent tragedies like these.
I’ve been busy in other areas as well, opposing the current Administration’s immigration policies and protecting agricultural workers, children and our environment from unsafe pesticide products.
I’ve also been developing legislation to assist our veteran communities, while helping secure federal resources for New York’s healthcare centers.
There’s more discussion of these issues below. As always, please feel free to contact my office with questions, concerns or just to share your opinion.
Thanks for reading.
Addressing Gun Violence
Like many Americans, Nydia was heartbroken and outraged by recent shootings in El Paso, Dayton, Odessa and, closer to home, in New York City. She believes that we can take meaningful steps to reduce gun violence and prevent future similar tragedies.
As such, Nydia joined 213 Members of Congress in urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to cancel recess in the Senate and pass the House-passed bills H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 to strengthen background checks. The Congresswoman has also authored H.R. 930, the Stopping the Iron Pipeline Act of 2019, legislation that would clamp down on the flow of guns into New York City from states with more permissive gun laws.
As Congress comes back from its summer district work period, gun violence remains top-of-mind for Nydia and she will continue supporting policies aimed at addressing this scourge and making our communities safer.
Rep. Velázquez joins colleagues at the Brooklyn Gun Violence Vigil in mourning the lives lost in recent shootings and calling for the passage of bipartisan background check bills.
Announcing Resources for Local Healthcare, Education
Ensuring quality healthcare and education services are available to New Yorkers is one of the Congresswoman’s top priorities.
In July, Nydia announced $3.25 million for an education center within New York’s 7th Congressional District to continue its Head Start and Early Head Start programs. The center, Grand Street Settlement, Inc., was originally based in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and is now located throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. It is known for its leadership in providing special needs services, as well as creating a community of support, inclusion and healthy habits.
Read the full federal grant announcement here.
In August, Nydia announced an additional $5.2 million for three education centers also within New York’s 7th Congressional District to continue their Head Start and Early Head Start Programs. The centers, again Grand Street Settlement, Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services and University Settlement Society of New York, provide culturally sensitive services in English, Spanish, Creole, French, Cantonese and Mandarin to New York’s low-income and immigrant communities.
Read the full federal grant announcement here.
“Low-income children deserve the opportunity to graduate, immigrant families deserve spaces for exercise and health, and all individuals deserve access to aging resources,” said Velázquez. “These organizations have and will continue to serve as a home for many of our Manhattan and Brooklyn families.”
This month, Nydia announced $500,000 in federal funds for three local health centers:
- Sunset Park Health Council, Inc. has served Sunset Park for over 40 years with comprehensive primary and dental care. HHS has awarded Sunset Park Health Council, Inc. $148,865 in funds towards their Ryan White Title III HIV Capacity Development and Planning project as well as $263,199 towards their Health Center Cluster project.
- Also located in Brooklyn, Opportunity Development Association, ODA Primary Care Health Center has proudly served New York’s immigrant community, offering culturally sensitive and accessible care, such as transportation assistance. Now, ODA spans five locations in Williamsburg and two summer locations in the Catskills for primary, specialty, and behavioral health care and dental services. HHS has awarded ODA $46,000 in funds towards their Health Center Cluster project.
- Betances Health Center has provided medical services to the Lower East Side since 1970 and has recently expanded into Bushwick. Notably, Betances has played an enormous role in serving immigrant and homeless populations. HHS has awarded Betances Health Center $59,925 in funds towards their Health Center Cluster project.
Championing Our Veterans
New York City is home to 200,000 veterans and an estimated 7,100 veterans and their family members live in New York’s 7th Congressional district.
That’s why Nydia has been taking veterans’ issues to the forefront of the 116th Congress. In July, she authored two bills aimed at assisting former servicemembers and closing coverage gaps.
- The Hear Our Heroes Act would help veterans suffering from tinnitus or hearing loss obtain medical care from the Veterans Administration at any point in time, not only when they return immediately from combat. Too many veterans develop hearing problems years after their service, resulting in hurdles to obtaining the care they need. You can read more about that bill here.
- The Violence Against Women Veterans Act is bipartisan legislation aimed at improving the provision of services for veterans of all gender identities who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse and violence. Sadly, sexual violence and domestic abuse remain common problems among many veterans. Read more about that bill in Queens County Politics here.
“We owe those who wear the uniform of our nation a debt we can never fully repay. However, at minimum, we can ensure they are cared for after they reenter civilian life,” said Velázquez. “In addition to my two bills, I’ll also keep fighting for adequate federal resources for our veterans here, in New York, and around the nation.”
Seeking Financial Relief for NYC Cabbies
As the result of questionable lending practices in the medallion industry, thousands of taxi medallion holders are now burdened with unsustainable, high-interest loans with overwhelming balances.
Nydia has written the New York City Council asking the City to explore ways to provide financial assistance to medallion holders facing crushing debt. You can find Nydia’s letter - signed by nine Members of the New York City Congressional delegation - online here. The New York Daily News covered her letter and you can read that article here.
To further discuss the future of loan modification for taxi medallions and why her push for help from the City Council is essential, Nydia sat down with NY1’s Errol Louis on Inside City Hall.
|Rep. Velázquez joins NY1’s Errol Louis on Inside City Hall to discuss her letter to the New York City Council asking the City to relieve taxi medallion holders.|
Fighting for Immigrant Communities
Nydia continues to fight for immigrant communities in New York and throughout the nation, introducing legislation to block immigration officials from mis-identifying as local police.
When President Trump claimed ICE raids would be taking place across America’s largest cities beginning on July 14, 2019, Congresswoman Velázquez worked to educate immigrants and their allies about their rights if ICE comes to their home or approaches them on the street. In addition to posting immigrant resources on her website in English, Spanish (Español) and (简化字), Nydia led Councilman Menchaca, State Senator Myrie, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, NYPD and other city officials in a Rapid Response Session. The event, which took place on July 18, 2019 at Sunset Park High School, was widely attended and focused critically on the availability of resources to empower our immigrant neighbors.
|Rep. Velázquez canvasses Sunset Park with Councilman Carlos Menchaca to distribute “Know Your Rights” flyers and hear constituents’ concerns about the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, as covered by Pix 11.|
Lastly, in early September, the Congresswoman spoke out when the Trump Administration made public plans to siphon money from military construction projects in Puerto Rico and throughout the United States to pay for the building of a border wall with Mexico.
You can read Nydia’s statement on that topic here.
Protecting the Environment from Unsafe Pesticides
Nydia has taken a lead role in working to remove from commerce dangerous pesticides that have been linked to health problems among children, families and agriculture workers, as well as causing other environmental problems.
In July, Nydia introduced legislation to ban Paraquat, a toxic herbicide currently used in the U.S. That poison has been linked to Parkinson’s disease, thyroid condition, blood cancers and respiratory issues. Some research has found that farmers involved in the mixing or application of Paraquat had a 200 percent higher incidence of Parkinson’s, compared to the general population.
You can read more about Nydia’s efforts to ban this dangerous poison here.
Relatedly, the Congresswoman has introduced legislation to prevent the use of a class of toxic pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges. While the Obama Administration had instituted a 2014 ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, commonly called neonics, in Refuges the Trump Administration’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service revoked the ban in August of last year. The ban’s revocation comes as mounting evidence suggests the chemical has damaging environmental effects on bees and other pollinators, undermining the national wildlife system.
Read more about the Congresswoman’s efforts to remove neonics from wildlife refuges here.
Remember: you can stay on top of all the Congresswoman’s work by following her various social media channels.
Please take a quick second to follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.