Written by Alex Gault for the Watertown Daily Times on July 10, 2020

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, spent the week working in the three committees of which she is a member.

Ms. Stefanik is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, the Committee on Education and Labor, as well as the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

On Monday, the Congresswoman joined with her co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus Rep. Brian Higgins to push for a plan to reopen the U.S.-Canada border.

In a letter signed by 27 other representatives from border states, the representatives asked for a concrete plan that draws out a specified timeline, or is based on specific metrics, to reopen the border. They criticized the process by which the border closing has been extended, saying that it causes confusion and undue stress for those communities that rely on the border being open.

Also on Monday, Ms. Stefanik introduced a bill alongside six other representatives from rural districts across the country. The bill, named the “Success for Rural Students and Communities Act,” is intended to improve college access for rural students by encouraging investment in new ways to assist them with completing degree requirements.

“In addition to improving skills education opportunities, we need to emphasize college enrollment and completion for students from rural areas who face a lot of disadvantages when looking to attend college,” Ms. Stefanik said in a press statement sent on Monday.

On Tuesday, Ms. Stefanik was presented with the Spirit of Enterprise award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m proud to recognize Rep. Stefanik for her commitment to driving opportunity and prosperity in America’s workforce and on Main Streets across the nation,” said Suzanne P. Clark, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

On Thursday, Ms. Stefanik signed onto the “Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act,” as an original cosponsor. The legislation would allow the Office of National Drug Control Policy to waive some requirements for communities to ensure they are not penalized because of circumstances related to COVID-19 that are out of their control.

Also on Thursday, Ms. Stefanik participated in a House Armed Services Committee hearing, during which General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper answered questions regarding the role of the Department of Defense pertaining to civilian law enforcement, and the events surrounding the DOD’s response to protests that resulted from the death of George Floyd in May.

Ms. Stefanik and some of her Republican colleagues took the opportunity to question General Milley and Secretary Esper on the issue of the alleged Russian bounties placed on American and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.

“I wanted to get your comments, General Milley, on your commitment and the Department’s commitment to force protection at all costs,” Ms. Stefanik said during the hearing.

“The force protection of our force, not only for me but for every commander down the line, that’s the number one priority for every one of us,” General Milley replied.

Ms. Stefanik pointed out how Russia has been a long-term adversary of the U.S., specifically in Afghanistan, something that Secretary Esper and General Milley agreed on. Ms. Stefanik also asked if the Secretary agrees that “illegal leaks,” like the leaked information that led to the public allegation that Russian bounties were placed on American soldiers, damage the ability of the DOD to gather intelligence and protect American forces.

“The illegal leaks are terrible,” Secretary Esper said.

On Friday, Ms. Stefanik announced that after a letter that she sent along with representatives Anthony Brindisi and Dan Newhouse last month, the USDA has changed Coronavirus Food Assistance Food rules to permit apple and other specialty crop producers to apply for aid.

In a press conference held via Zoom on Friday, Rep. Stefanik announced that Samaritan Health Center in Watertown will be receiving $2.5 million in funding, thanks to a new formula that she wrote with the Department of Health and Human Services. The funding comes from the Health Resources and Services Administration, which is an agency that works to improve access to healthcare for underinsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable people. Glens Falls Hospital will receive $4.1 million from the agency as a result of the new formula, and St. Lawrence Psychiatric Hospital will receive $3.9 million.

You can read the full article at https://www.nny360.com/