Freshman Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, who is leaning toward voting yes Thursday on the Republican health care plan, wants to protect gun ownership rights and reduce the national debt. And she loves the book “Crime and Punishment.”
Those points were all made clear Wednesday night during an hour-long telephone town hall during which constituents were able to listen in and ask questions via telephone or Facebook. Tenney’s office said more than 50,000 people participated just by telephone.
Tenney said she hopes to host an in-person town hall meeting soon. She has said that death threats have prevented her from holding town halls, but said she will as soon as she gets the all clear.
The largest share of questions focused on the American Health Care Act and the Collins-Faso amendment that was added to it, which would relieve New York counties (outside New York City) of their obligation to fund 13 percent of state Medicaid costs, an amendment Tenney strongly supports. The act is expected to come under debate on the House floor on Thursday.
Tenney said she was initially reluctant to vote for the act, but that she pushed for some amendments that will add more protections for seniors and the disabled. And the Collins-Faso amendment takes aim at what she described as New York’s irresponsible fiscal management of its Medicaid program, the one with the third highest per capita expenditures in the country.
“It’s probably the largest mandate relief to hit Oneida County in its history…. It’s something everyone should be supporting,” she said.
The state could easily make up the county’s share, she contended.
The state has said that Medicaid would lose $2.3 billion through the amendment, which only affects New York, and that the state, local governments and hospitals would lose another $4.5 billion through other provisions in the act. An analysis released Wednesday put the toll on hospitals in Tenney’s district at $28.1 million.
Here are some other topics that came up:
Tenney said that the president’s first executive order restricting travel from seven nations was not well executed, but she thinks the second one is truly meant to keep Americans safe.
“I think the issue here that the Trump administration is trying to look into not our own vetting process … but to complete the loop on the vetting process, we need to make sure that the data we are getting from the host country … is going to be adequate,” she said.
TRUMP’S PROPOSED BUDGET
“I absolutely oppose cuts to the community development block grants (which fund many programs in upstate cities, such as Boys & Girls Clubs Clubs and Meals on Wheels),” Tenney stressed. “I think they’re absolutely essential.”
Tenney said the budget contains other cuts she doesn’t like either, such as to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers and to the Home Energy Assistance Program.
SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS
“Now we have a chance to roll back some of the gun-grabbing legislation that was put through by the former occupant of the White House,” Tenney said.
March 23, 2017