Congressional Update - News for New York's 12th Congressional District
Recently I joined 9/11 first responders to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange, commemorating the reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. This important legislation extended healthcare benefits that had expired for first responders and survivors who were injured or became ill after being exposed to toxins at ground zero.
This important victory reminds us that even though Washington may at times seem broken, it can still accomplish important things for people in need. That’s why I am working every day to deliver results for New York.
I worked to secure funding for local transportation projects like the 2nd Avenue Subway and the L Train. And I supported economic policies that have given us our strongest economy in 7 years, including significant job growth in New York in major industries like fashion.
At the national level, I protected women’s healthcare by defending Planned Parenthood and turning the tables on the Republican witch-hunt to shut down the nation’s leading provider of comprehensive women’s health care. I also made a push to help more women gain positions on corporate boards by introducing a bill which would require companies to disclose the gender of their corporate board members and candidates, and direct the SEC to assemble a roundtable to discuss best practices for diversifying boards.
Finally, in the financial services industry I passed a bipartisan bill to protect investment in local communities through municipal bonds. Without this fix, critical local infrastructure and other projects could lack the financing they need to go forward, costing us jobs and hurting local communities. I also recently introduced the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act, a bill to expose US-based shell corporations that launder money linked to criminal enterprises.
Needless to say, 2016 has already been a busy year - and we’re just getting started. It may be an election year, but that doesn’t mean the work stops. As always, I will work hard in the months ahead to improve our neighborhoods, help businesses create jobs, protect women’s healthcare and so much more to improve the lives of everyone I am privileged to represent.
Read more about these initiatives below, and follow me on twitter at @RepMaloney for daily updates!
Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney
Ringing the NYSE Closing Bell with first responders to celebrate the passage of the Zadroga Act
Recently I was joined by 9/11 survivors and responders to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange in honor of the passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act. This $8.1 billion program permanently extends healthcare for 9/11 first responders and extends the Victim Compensation Fund for 5 years. I succeeded in attaching the legislation to an omnibus spending bill that was signed into law by President Obama in December. Read more about 9/11 Health here.
New York Leads on Paid Family Leave
I recently joined Vice President Joe Biden and Governor Andrew Cuomo at a rally in Manhattan in support of a paid family leave bill recently passed in the New York State Assembly. The bill is currently awaiting action in the State Senate. Governor Cuomo announced his commitment to paid family leave last month during his State of the State address. He urged lawmakers to pass a bill guaranteeing 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave for all New Yorkers. I am proud to see New York taking the lead on this issue and getting further than Congress has to provide families with much needed leave to care for a new child or a sick loved one. I hope the bill in New York will serve as a model for the nation.
Funding for Local Infrastructure Projects
Infrastructure is in my DNA. I am pleased to have worked with my elected colleagues and community leaders to secure federal funding for many major infrastructure and transportation projects in New York. We have funded $670 million for the Kosciuszko Bridge, $2.6 billion for the East Side Access, $1.3 billion for the Second Avenue Subway, $300 million to provide separate tracks for Amtrak, LIRR and NJ Transit trains at Harold Interlocking thereby paving the way for high speed rail between New York and Boston, and $5.4 billion to repair tunnels and bridges damaged by Superstorm Sandy, including the L train that connects Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Second Avenue Subway – After 9 years of construction, the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway is scheduled to open for revenue service at the end of this year, thanks in part to $1.3 billion in federal funding. The MTA’s Board recently approved an additional $66 million in funding for the subway to ensure that it is completed on time. The new funding will accelerate the completion of critical activities necessary to commence pre-revenue testing and training by September 1, 2016, according to the MTA.
L Train – During Superstorm Sandy, 7 million gallons of saltwater flooded the 100 year-old-tunnel under the East River that conveys the L Train between Manhattan and Brooklyn, causing enormous damage. I worked with my colleagues to obtain $5.4 billion in federal funding to repair public transportation facilities including the L Train tunnel. Repairs would impact the line between Bedford Avenue and First Avenue, and significant improvements are planned for both stations including new staircases and ADA accessible elevators. The MTA has not yet announced its plan for the repairs, but in response to a letter I spearheaded that was signed by Borough President Eric Adams, State Senators Squadron and Dilan, State Assemblyman Joe Lentol and City Councilman Steve Levin, they agreed to early engagement with the community in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. People who take the L train understand the impact repairs would have on their lives, and can provide useful advice on mitigation – that is alternative means of moving people around during construction. I believe that a dialogue with the MTA will help reduce the impact of repairs and result in a better plan.
Bushwick Inlet Park – In 2005, when portions of Greenpoint/Williamsburg were upzoned to allow more residential construction, the community was promised a 27.8 acre park in exchange for the rezoning. This was not a gift, it was a trade. The Environmental Impact Statement noted that the rezoning would add 16,778 new residents to communities that were already seriously lacking open space. Today, only about 3.5 acres of the promised 27.8 acres has been developed as park by the City. Much of the land for the park has been acquired, but an 11 acre parcel is still in private hands. I organized a letter that was joined by my colleagues in government asking for Mayor de Blasio to meet with us to discuss his Administration’s plans for a park.
Queens Flooding – Superstorm Sandy caused significant flooding in Long Island City and many local businesses are still struggling to recover. What’s more, some businesses continue to have flooding problems that they never experienced before. I have been working with the City’s Office of Recovery and Resiliency to look into this concern and develop a plan.
Strong Economic Growth across the States
As ranking member of the Joint Economic Committee in Congress, I commissioned a report which evaluates the economic status of all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2015. The report shows that all but six states experienced private-sector job gains for the year ending December 31, 2015, and unemployment declined in 42 states and the District of Columbia over the same period.
Report on the Growth of the Fashion Industry
In celebration of the 2016 Fall/Winter Fashion Week, the Joint Economic Committee in Congress released a report on the state of the fashion industry in the United States. The report found that the multi-trillion dollar industry employs 1.8 million people nationwide in jobs that include designers, market research analysts and computer systems developers. These high-value, high-paying jobs spark innovation, raise productivity and benefit other industries in the same geographic area.
Increasing the Role of Women on Corporate Boards
In January I unveiled a new report from the Government Accountability Office, which shows women are severely underrepresented on corporate boards. Women hold just 16 percent of seats in corporate boardrooms, even though they make up almost half of the nation’s workforce, and without action the disparity won’t be eliminated until at least 2056. To respond to this issue I will introduce a bill this month to update the Securities and Exchange Commission diversity disclosures by requiring companies to report the gender of corporate board members and candidates. Additionally, the bill directs the SEC to assemble a roundtable of business stakeholders to discuss best practices for increasing representation of women on corporate boards and report annually to Congress national data on the gender diversity of corporate boards. To read more about my bill click here.
Expanding Investment in Local Communities
This month I passed a bill with Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) to protect financial institution investment in local communities. The bill would stop a senseless rule that was discouraging investment in municipal bonds. Without this fix, critical local infrastructure and other projects could lack the financing they need to go forward, costing us jobs and hurting local communities.
Working to End Money Laundering through Shell Companies
An investigation last year by The New York Times documented how streams of foreign wealth shielded by shell corporations are used to purchase more than half of all properties in New York City that cost more than $5 million. This is unacceptable, and it has to stop. Our national security and our law enforcement priorities depend on it. That is why this month I introduced the Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act to require the disclosure of a corporation’s beneficial owner. This bill would require states to obtain information about the true ownership of a corporation before allowing that company to settle in the state. It is time we put an end to money laundering practices that threaten our national security. To read more about this issue click here.