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Audio Feature: This week in News for Rep. John Faso 20180306

Mar 03, 2018 11:43 am
Here's the week in the news for Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook), the District 19 Congressperson for the WGXC listening area. Faso returned to Washington D.C. this week after a week off where he did not announce any events on his Public Schedule webpage. The Fivethirtyeight.com website currently reports Faso votes with Donald Trump's positions 86.6 percent of the time. Click here to download or play an audio version of this report (10:41).

Richard Moody is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media U.S. Rep. John Faso introduced legislation February 15, that would establish an incentive program for businesses to move the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels and identify new ways to combat climate change. The bill would direct the Secretary of Energy to establish Climate Solutions Challenges, a program to organize prize competitions on five topics, including carbon capture, energy efficiency, energy storage, climate resiliency and data analytics to better understand climate and weather, or to better inform the public about those topics. “Rep. Faso opposes defunding climate change research,” said Faso spokesman Joe Gierut. “He opposed an effort in the House to remove the Department of Defense’s responsibility to examine impacts of climate change on military assets.” Announced as a bipartisan effort, the Kinderhook Republican is working with Illinois Democrat Rep. Daniel Lipinski on the legislation. Asked if Faso's bill goes far enough to shift the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels, Karen Frishkoff, a member of the Citizens Climate Lobby’s Columbia County chapter, said, “The bill is something. I don’t think it will do enough to move the economy from fossil fuels to renewables....You need to change how people spend their money.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.

Patricia R. Doxsey reports in The Daily Freeman that U.S. Rep John Faso (R-Kinderhook) has no plans to return donations to his campaign from the National Rifle Association, calling calls for that action “a political smear.” Instead, Faso wants Congress to investigate why the FBI failed to act on a tip about the Florida school shooter. Interviewed on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” show, Faso said he supports tightening background checks for gun buyers, increasing the age to purchase a semiautomatic rifle, and outlawing bump stocks, devices that turn semi-automatic rifles into automatic weapons. Faso opposes federal efforts to give teachers guns because “you need intense training in order to carry a firearm in a very difficult situation like you might confront in a school shooting.” But he said each state could decide to give teachers guns. Read the full story in The Daily Freeman.

Casey Seiler reports for Capitol Confidential that Rep. John Faso's feud with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is back on: this week the Kinderhook-based Republican wrote to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy asking whether Cuomo’s proposal to make certain state and local tax payments eligible for charitable tax deductions is legal. Cuomo's proposal is designed to offset the increase in taxes for New Yorkers caused by the recently passed Republican tax plan. Faso voted against that plan, and has denounced it for raising taxes on New Yorkers. But the congressperson and Cuomo have been in a year-long Twitter fight, and clearly do not get along on most issues, even, like here, when they largely agree. Faso's letter asks Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy David Kautter for an opinion letter which would explain if Cuomo’s proposal could draw a legal challenge. "I have had many questions from constituents as to whether the state initiative will be compliant with federal law and regulation governing charitable deductions," Faso's letter, which was released Feb. 28, says. "Would such payments or contributions meet the test for a charitable deduction since presumably the taxpayer is receiving benefits from the governmental units and school districts for the “contributions” donated?" Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi responded in an email, “This is John Faso’s M.O. — stand by while his fellow Republicans raise income and property taxes on his constituents, and then try to undermine efforts to protect New Yorkers from these vicious hikes. The people of this state aren’t stupid and will see right through this stunt.”

• The House of Representatives -- with Rep. John Faso's vote -- approved sex trafficking legislation Feb. 27, making it easier for states to prosecute websites that facilitate prostitution and sex trafficking. The final vote was 388-25, but that is misleading. Democrats, didn't want to appear to vote against a sex trafficking bill called the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. An earlier vote to end amendments to the bill passed just 235-175, again with Faso, a Republican from Kinderhook, voting with the majority. Democrats and critics of the bill say it could undermine a key legal protection for free speech online. The House bill changes Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. That section of federal law lets Internet websites allow public comment without worrying about getting sued for what someone else posts on their site. "[The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act] would punch a major hole in Section 230, enabling lawsuits and prosecutions against online platforms—including ones that aren’t even aware that sex trafficking is taking place," the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote on Feb. 27. The companion legislation in the U.S. Senate, called the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act, currently has a hold placed on it by civil liberties champion Ron Wyden, effectively freezing any action there.
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