End-of-the-year legislation occupied most of U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik’s attention in December.
Several measures she co-sponsored were incorporated in comprehensive budget and tax extension legislation.
Those measures included re-authorizing the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund, reauthorizing health care coverage for 9/11 emergency responders, redefining a tax on hard cider and a two-year lifting of the federal excise tax on medical devices.
Stefanik said she was especially pleased with the lifting of the medical device excise tax.
“It’s been a culmination of our effort over the past year,” she said in a recent telephone interview. “I really rallied much of the freshman class with two letters from the freshmen class — bipartisan,” referring to letters she organized advocating for repeal of the medical device tax.
Stefanik said the end-of-the-year scramble was a lesson in the role co-sponsorship of legislation plays in building support for issues of local importance, even if the legislation she co-sponsors does not pass as a standalone bill.
“I think the most effective way to ensure that the priorities of my district were included in this package is making sure that we have laid the groundwork over the course of the year, co-sponsoring bills,” she said.
Comprehensive education and transportation bills were major undertakings, she said.
“It’s the first update to the No Child Left Behind Law in 13 years. … That’s a huge legislative achievement,” she said, referring to the education bill.
Stefanik said she managed to fit in time to watch most of the televised presidential candidate debates in December, but she is not yet ready to make an endorsement.
“I will not be endorsing before the end of the year,” she said.
- Stefanik and Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., gained 15 co-sponsors in December on legislation to expand parameters of a federal program that reimburses child care providers, Head Start programs, homeless shelters and after-school programs for serving nutritious meals. The legislation had 19 co-sponsors as of Monday — 15 Democrats and four Republicans.
- Stefanik gained six co-sponsors in December on legislation she introduced to re-instate “year-round Pell” supplemental grants for students who take summer classes. The legislation had 31 co-sponsors as of Monday — 17 Republicans and 14 Democrats.
- President Obama signed into law legislation Stefanik co-sponsored to extend the federal Perkins Loan program for college students for one year.
- Legislation Stefanik co-sponsored to ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics passed the House and Senate and was presented to President Obama for consideration.
- Stefanik on Dec. 15 co-sponsored legislation Rep. Frank Guinta, R-N.H. introduced Nov. 3 to establish an inter-agency federal government task force to recommend federal standards for pain management and prescribing of medication and a strategy on how to implement the standards, with a goal of reducing opiate addiction. The task force would not have rule-making authority. It would only make recommendations to Congress.
- Stefanik on Dec. 15 co-sponsored legislation Rep. Steve Israel, D-Long Island, introduced Nov. 11 to establish a three-year experimental program to renovate “zombie” homes and reuse them for housing for homeless veterans. A “zombie” home is a home in the foreclosure process that neither the lender or the owner is maintaining.
- Stefanik on Dec. 15 co-sponsored legislation Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., introduced to require health insurance companies to provide a statement to policy holders if cancellation of coverage is related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
In the district
- Stefanik attended the annual meeting of Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages and honored Newcomb Supervisor George Canon and Chester Supervisor George Canon, who are retiring.
- Stefanik volunteered at Greater Glens Falls Salvation Army to assist with holiday food and toy distribution.
- Stefanik met with newspaper editorial boards and radio news departments around the 21st District to discuss her first year in Congress.
- Stefanik met with representatives of Audubon New York to discuss conservation issues.