Tom Reed on dignity

apprenticeTom Reed writes op eds infrequently; here are some:

After a flurry of Op-Eds  in 2015, there have been about one each year.
In 2015, Tom favored free trade; now he presumably supports Donald Trump’s views on trade. Property rights were promoted then, but now all but forgotten.
Tom’s latest is on vocational training which he offers as an alternative to college. The heart of Tom’s Op-Ed is this:
I agree (with Trump) every American should have the opportunity to have an honest day’s work and a meaningful career to support themselves.  That’s why I recently introduced the Leveraging and Energizing America’s Apprentice Programs or LEAP Act with Congresswoman Linda Sanchez (D-CA). The bill is designed to increase apprenticeships through a new federal tax credit for employers.
I note that Tom would encourage apprenticeship with tax credits for employers. Tom really does like business tax credits; he may see them as stealth business tax cuts.
Here is the CRS summary for Tom’s bill, H.R. 3061:
This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow employers a business-related tax credit of $1,500 for hiring an apprentice who has not attained age 25 at the close of the taxable year or $1,000 for an apprentice who has attained age 25. The bill allows such credit for no more than two taxable years with respect to any apprentice. An “apprentice” is an employee who is employed in an officially-recognized apprenticeable occupation pursuant to an apprentice agreement registered with the Office of Apprenticeship of the Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor or a recognized state apprenticeship agency.
H.R. 2399 is a similar bill; LEAP Act bills have been introduced in previous Congresses but they died in committee. Perhaps with President Trump’s support the LEAP Act will become law this time.
Posted in Congress, Political, Taxes, trade, Trump | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Did a deal gone bad influence foreign policy?

payRep. Capuano (D-MA) writes:

According to July 2017 news reports, Trump son-in-law and now government employee Jared Kushner tried and failed to get a $500 million loan from a Qatari businessman. The money was for a New York City building Kushner bought for $1.8 billion. Getting the money was contingent on Kushner securing additional funds for the multi-billion dollar project. That money was supposed to come from the Chinese investment firm Ambang, but the firm pulled out as conflict of interest concerns mounted. After Kushner was turned down, President Trump took a hard line against Qatar, branding it a terrorist state. It is true that we do not know if Trump lashed out at Qatar, contrary to the position taken by his own Secretary of State because of Kushner’s influence but the situation reveals a web of conflicts of interest. It’s a good illustration of why public officials, especially the President and his advisors, usually avoid even the appearance of a conflict and don’t put themselves in the position of being indebted to others because of their business interests. We may never know if U.S. policy towards a strategic player in the war on terrorism is based solely on the merits or is the result of a bad real estate deal. 

Nepotism is bad in business and government.


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Men at work

Reed in tractortrump in truck

Posted in 2018, Congress, Political, Reed's Views, Trump | 3 Comments

When Silence isn’t Golden

The article was written and submitted by Cath Kestler, a resident of Silver Creek, NY

delusionalThe House of Representatives were set and ready to hold hearings on legislation to deregulate the sale of firearm silencers on the morning of the mass shooting targeting members of Congress at that baseball field in Virginia.

Now the Senate has a bill as well.  They call it the SHUSH Act, and it has been introduced under the guise of protecting the hearing of hunters.  The legislation would make it infinitely easier for firearm silencers to fall into the wrong hands by effectively eliminating the need for paperwork in their sales, and allowing them to be sold without a background check.

Let’s be clear: the gun lobby’s attempts to deregulate the sale of silencers put profits of manufacturers ahead of public safety.  Silencers suppress the sight and sound of gunfire and make it harder to locate criminals who use them in crimes.  They also make it more difficult for innocent people to identify where the gunfire is coming from when the shooting starts.

In the House it is referred to as the Hearing Protection Act with 154 co-sponsors and it would eliminate the $200 transfer tax on suppressors by dropping them from the NFA rules, but still requires they should be transferred through federal firearms licensees after a background check, deregulating them as firearms.  Both bills provide a refund on the tax stamps bought since October 22, 2015.

In the Senate the bill was brought about by Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho which is the home of the well-known suppressor maker, Gemtech as well as StingerWorx, Ballista, and Tactical Innovations; in Lee’s state they have SilencerCo and OSS Suppressors amongst other firearm industries.

Currently the Senate measure has been referred to the Finance Committee while the House version (introduced by Iowa’s Steve King) has been referred to both the Ways and Means (wonder where Reed stands on this) and the Judiciary Committee.

I have done some reading through comments on actual pro-gun lobby sites and most of the comments are saying that silencers don’t really “silence” the gunshot like it shows in movies and television shows; in reality all it does is change the sound and the decibel levels drop minimally.  Which doesn’t actually support what our lawmakers are stating—the loss of hearing.

Are you aware that most 911 calls come into the dispatcher when gunshots are actually heard?  If a silencer actually changes the way a gunshot sounds, how is that helpful to anyone?

Silencers pose a danger in the wrong hands, making it harder for law enforcement to identify and react quickly to gunshots.  In an active shooter situation, hearing and recognizing a gunshot can be a matter of life and death.  We have core public safety laws to keep silencers out of criminal hands for decades, without blocking access to law-abiding citizens.  The gun lobby presents this legislation as an attempt to protect shooter’s hearing, but silencers are not the most effective or the safest way to do so.  Widely available ear protection products work better than silencers to protect hearing and safety—which is why the US military relies on them, not silencers to protect soldiers’ hearing.

ShotSpotter, a tool which recognizes the sounds of gunshots alerted law enforcement to nearly 75,000 gunfire incidents in 72 cities in 2015:  That’s an average of one every seven minutes.  These tools would be significantly undermined by the widespread use of silencers.

Over the last eight years of the Obama Administration the NRA and the gun lobby worked on fear mongering gun owners that President Obama was coming for your guns.  Since the new administration has come to be gun accessories sales have dropped off and the gun lobby is looking for new ways to increase their sales.

Lawmakers should join law enforcement officers and major law enforcement organizations in rejecting this bill and the gun lobby’s dangerous pursuit of profit over public safety.  Call your Senators and Representatives to let them know it should be people over party.


Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Justin Amash on the Hartzler Amendment to NDAA

Featured Image -- 32733Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) writes:

“There’s an astonishing level of misinformation and disinformation about a certain amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2018, so I want to provide some clarity.”

On July 13, the House voted on an amendment offered by Rep. Hartzler. The amendment says that “[f]unds available to the Department of Defense may not be used to provide medical treatment (other than mental health treatment) related to gender transition to a person entitled to medical care” under the military health system.

My staff and I carefully reviewed this amendment, as well as the facts and circumstances surrounding it, and I concluded that the right thing to do was to vote no. Consider the following:

1. The NDAA says nothing about transgender persons or their medical treatment. These subjects are not addressed in the bill. Voting no on an amendment cannot add these subjects to the bill. Most Republicans were happy to vote for the bill before they knew the Hartzler Amendment existed, and they were happy to vote for the bill after the Hartzler Amendment was rejected.

2. The Department of Defense (DoD) adopted a policy in 2016 regarding medical treatment for transgender persons. This policy allows treatment only when it’s “medically necessary,” and the Trump administration has continued the policy. Sec. of Defense Mattis delayed until January 1, 2018, a portion of the policy—related to the further enlistment of transgender persons—that had not yet gone into effect when Pres. Trump took office.

3. Sec. Mattis and the White House contacted Congress to urge us not to adopt the Hartzler Amendment to the NDAA. They are reviewing the entire policy and want an opportunity to present a new policy before Congress weighs in. As a retired general, Sec. Mattis knows a lot more than most members of Congress about how to build a strong and ready force.

4. The NDAA is an authorization bill for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2017. Sec. Mattis is expected to present a new policy, if at all, by January 1, 2018. In other words, the Trump administration is asking for only three additional months under the current policy.

So, let’s summarize: The NDAA says nothing about transgender persons. The Trump administration can keep or change the current policy at its discretion. Sec. Mattis and the White House urged us not to adopt the Hartzler Amendment. And all the administration wants is three months to review everything.

Given the facts, circumstances, and eminently reasonable request from the Trump administration, it was not a difficult decision to vote no on this amendment. After Sec. Mattis announces the DoD’s finalized policy, we can discuss the policy with him, evaluate it, and seek changes if necessary.

Those who serve in our Armed Forces deserve the best medical care. One question we must ask and answer, with the aid of the medical community, is which treatments are medically necessary and which are simply elective. With respect to transgender persons, we should focus on the best science, not the political or philosophical opinions of partisans.

Finally, service in all aspects of our Armed Forces cannot be guaranteed to everyone. The job of our Armed Forces is to defend our country, and the DoD should be given more leeway than other parts of the executive branch with respect to personnel decisions.

Rep. Amash and Rep. Reed both voted NO. Unlike Rep. Amash, Rep. Reed seldom explains his votes. Rep. Amash’s explanation omits the obvious fact that defeating the Hartzler Amendment was vital for passage of the NDAA bill which required support from Democrats.

Posted in 2018, Congress, Political, Reed's Views | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Politics is complicated

bipartisanPolitics is complicated; legislative maneuvering is hard to follow. Here are some examples:

  • Horse trading
  • Pairing
  • Voting both ways
  • Hartzler Amendment to 2018 NDAA

Horse trading: one representative agrees to vote for another’s bill in exchange for a promise that the favor will be returned.

Pairing: one representative agrees to vote for a bill if another agrees to vote against it. Both may thus avoid casting an embarrassing vote.

Voting both ways: a representative may vote for a bill at one point in the proceedings and against it at another, thus being on record as both for and against.

Rep. Hartzler (R-MO) offered an amendment to the 2018 NDAA Bill to prohibit funds for medical treatment (other than mental health treatment) related to gender transition to a person entitled to medical care under chapter 55 of title 10, U.S. code. Tom Reed and 23 other Republicans unexpectedly voted against it. Democrats cheered; Republicans expressed outrage. Both groups misinterpret Tom’s vote.

The Republican leadership needed support from Democrats to pass the 2018 NDAA Bill; there weren’t enough Republican votes to do it. Democrats wouldn’t vote for NDAA with the Hartzler Amendment included; it had to be defeated. Twenty-four loyal Republicans including Tom Reed took the hit. 

The Hartzler Amendment was expendable; presumably it can be brought up again. I am not aware that Tom has yet explained his vote. It will be interesting to hear how he does that.

Posted in 2018, Congress, Political, Reed's Views | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Tom Reed wants to turn the Southern Tier into an oligarchy

This article was written an submitted by Russell Tocqueville, from the NY23rd.


OLIGARCHY: A form of power structure in which power rests with a small number of people. These people might be distinguished by nobility, wealth, family ties, education or corporate, religious or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families, who typically pass their influence from one generation to the next.


reed_townhall1When Tom Reed was elected to represent New York’s 29th Congressional district he played the part of small town lawyer who wasn’t a millionaire and promised that his “Tea Party coalition would not vote to cut social security.” Fast forward to 2017, Congressman Reed sits in a swing district, and the only way he swings with it, is with his words not actions.

The Truth is Tom Reed is not interested in hearing out constituents in town hall meetings but using them as a backdrop for fundraisers held by Wall Street executives in New York City as reasoning for them to give him more money. He plays the part of someone who came from a big family, very much like any of us that grew up in a struggling household which he did, and that he’s just a working class guy trying to fight for all us. While he tells us this, he uses his district as part of a transaction for his vote in congress. While he says we all have to come to a middle ground and compromise, meanwhile he introduces bills in Congress to defund SSI after taking money from Hedge Fund manager Paul Singer.

He praises the hard working men and women in the Southern Tier, all the meanwhile voting to outsource jobs to Korea and Colombia. He talks about fighting for American jobs, while giving the president sole authority to negotiate free trade agreements, in the name of free trade that isn’t fair to anyone but Corporate America.

He talks about supporting 2nd amendment rights and conservation. He even goes as far as saying he believes in Global Warming.  All the meanwhile he votes to gut environmental protections, and try to lead people down a fake reality that is a booming fracking industry.

He openly speaks of supporting veterans and defending them. Meanwhile he called someone who did what he was afraid to do and went abroad to serve our country a carpetbagger.  He regularly insults veterans at town halls when they disagree with him.

While on some weekends he hosts town halls, he is regularly collecting checks from Wall Street lobbyist, and privatizers who call him transactional Tom.

Our 700,000 friends, family and neighbors should not be a piece of a bargain for the personal gain of one elected official who should be more beholden to us than those who support Tom Reed for Congress. As long as Tom Reed says that his neighbors, our neighbors are just protesting to try and defeat him in order to boast about fundraising $585,000 dollars with the help of President Trump he is fighting for the same elites he wants us all to think he hates. As long as he keeps thinking that teachers afraid of education cuts, seniors afraid of social security cuts, workers rightly afraid of outsourcing, and students fighting for student debt justice are “teaming up with Andrew Cuomo and Nancy Pelosi to defeat him in 2018” he is putting the interests of Wall Street above Market Street, Water Street, and all the other main streets in our 13 counties.

When fighting for vets, or seniors, or students demands millions of cuts in healthcare to the tune of 100,000 people being kicked off of health insurance just in our communities and 22 million across the country.  That’s not fighting for anyone but the interest of the few while Tom Reed tells us in the he’s doing it in the name of us all. To go on television and tell the media that as a taxpayer funded legislator I am ok with kicking off 1 in 7 of my constituents from health insurance is not moderate, it is disrespectful to our communities. If Reed really does think that folks don’t care about each other in the Southern Tier, then he has lost touch with our communities where no matter if you’re Republican or Democrat, rich or poor folks are warm and hospitable.

The problem is the malarkey our congressman tells us he doesn’t even believe himself.  If he doesn’t believe himself why should anyone?

If he’s not fighting for veterans, if he’s not fighting for workers, if he’s not fighting for our future, if he’s not fighting for our communities. If he really does think that we are as selfish as he says we are to the national media and that we won’t care if our neighbors lose their healthcare. Or if the families down the road can’t make ends meet because he can’t find a good paying job. Who is he fighting for?

Posted in Reed's Views, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments