Written by Alex Gault for the Watertown Daily Times on August 1, 2020

Last week, the House of Representatives met to consider a number of bills, and Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, broke ranks with the larger GOP on two bills that would give federal support to child care providers.

On Monday, Rep. Stefanik voted yes on a bill from the Senate, introduced there by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., which would establish a commission to study, and make recommendations to Congress on the social status of Black men and boys. The Senate passed the bill on June 25.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., was the only House member to vote against the bill.

Also Monday, Rep. Stefanik cosponsored the Back to Work Childcare Grants Act of 2020. The proposed legislation would provide federal grants to childcare facilities across the country, to allow them to stay financially viable and provide services to parents who may need to go back to the office as the economy reopens.

According to a release from Rep. Stefanik, the bill would provide nine months of financial assistance to childcare facilities directly, and requires recipients to follow state and local health guidelines.

The House did not meet Tuesday in honor of the late Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. Rep. Lewis died of pancreatic cancer on July 17, 2020, and his funeral procession brought him to Washington D.C. on Monday and Tuesday. For those two days, Rep. Lewis lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda. He was the first Black lawmaker to be granted that honor.

While she was not on the floor of the House on Tuesday, Rep. Stefanik added her name to a resolution commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. That project has collected over 110,000 stories from veterans about their experiences in service.

Wednesday, Rep. Stefanik voted to pass Sami’s Law, a bill that would require more stringent safety measures for ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. The law is named after Samantha Josephson, a 21-year old college student attending the University of South Carolina, who was kidnapped and murdered on March 29, 2019. Ms. Josephson had ordered an Uber, but mistakenly got into the wrong car, believed to be her murderers.

Also Wednesday, Rep. Stefanik voted to pass two bills relating to childcare services.

She was one of only 20 Republicans to vote to pass the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act, which seeks to provide extra funding to taxpayer services, social services grants and infrastructure grants. The bill would modify tax code to make child and dependent care services easier to get a tax refund on, as well as a number of other modifications to give tax breaks to childcare facilities and those who use them. It would also direct additional funding to grant programs used by childcare services, and direct the federal Health and Human Services department to award grants to those services.

She was one of only 18 Republicans to vote to pass the Child Care is Essential Act, which would establish a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund to award grants to childcare providers during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Rep. Stefanik cosponsored a bill that would require that every Veterans Affairs Medical Center have a hearing aid specialist on staff and provide hearing health services to patients.

Friday, Rep. Stefanik voted no on the Department of Defense Appropriations Act for 2021, a bill which barely passed, largely along party lines, with some Democrats crossing the aisle to vote no.

In a statement, Rep. Stefanik explained that the bill was so unpopular with Republicans because, among other issues, it is a severely partisan bill.

“In reality, this was not just a DoD appropriations bill, but a package of six appropriations bills with a total of $210 billion above the bipartisan budget caps both parties signed into law last year,” she said in a statement. “Not only does this legislation severely underfund our nuclear weapons stockpile, it emboldens Iran and repeals the Authorization for Use of Military Force. This partisan legislation, that my opponent Taxin’ Tedra would have supported along with the Far-Left radical liberals in the House, is a non-starter in the Senate and would have been vetoed by the White House immediately.”

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