Katko Issues 100-Day Report
SYRACUSE, NY – Rep. John Katko (NY-24) today reflected on his first four months as Central New York’s representative in Congress, issuing a 100-day report which demonstrates his bipartisan, independent efforts in Congress.
Shortly after being sworn in to represent NY-24, Katko set forth a list of aggressive, but necessary priorities to address the collective challenges of Central New Yorkers. He pledged to work with both parties to help grow the local economy, create jobs, and serve as an effective advocate for his Central New York constituents on the federal level.
“I’ve made it clear from day one that fighting for Central New York is my highest priority,” stated Rep. Katko. “Since taking office, I have continuously engaged with constituents across NY-24 and I am proud to share some of the successes that we have achieved.”
Highlights from Katko’s first 100 days in office include:
- Emerging as a strong voice in the ongoing discussion of the I-81 rebuilding project.
Katko met with key stakeholders and advocacy groups, as well as state and local officials, early in his term to ensure that local needs are heard at the federal level in the I-81 rebuild. In his role as a member of the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways & Transit, Katko urged NYSDOT and FWHA to provide a full range of options in the state’s final scoping document for further study.
- Strong advocacy for affordable higher education and support of local education.
Through an Education Summit meeting with all local higher education institutions throughout the four counties of NY-24, Rep. Katko began and has fostered an ongoing discussion on college affordability and quality higher education in CNY. He’s also supported alternative higher education opportunities by cosponsoring legislation to prepare students for manufacturing careers.
In the wake of the NCAA’s decision to strip Syracuse University of scholarships, Katko called on NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert to reconsider the sanctions imposed, noting that the punishment would do the most harm to future students by barring them opportunities to receive a college degree. Katko also joined U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at Syracuse University to champion legislation combating sexual violence on college campuses nationwide.
With input from educators across NY-24, Katko has worked to empower teachers in our local classrooms by co-sponsoring the Student Testing Improvement and Accountability Act to eliminate the mandate of yearly testing in grade schools and to allow schools more flexibility in education.
- Supporting policies to improve health care in Central New York through lower costs and expanded access for families, veterans, and senior citizens.
With feedback from the vast infrastructure of local doctors, hospitals, and healthcare centers in NY-24, Katko supported passage of a significant bipartisan compromise to permanently replace the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula with a more stable, long-term physician payment system that rewards quality care. He’s also supported efforts in Congress to encourage greater research into Lyme disease, and has joined House colleagues to push back against proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage.
As a strong advocate for reforming our healthcare system with market-based solutions, Katko has sponsored, co-sponsored, and voted for numerous measures to reform Obamacare including legislation to repeal both the onerous Medical Device Tax and the HIT Tax, to eliminate the individual and employer mandate, and to exempt veterans, student workers, firefighters and emergency first responders from counting towards the employer mandate.
- Protecting Central New York’s agriculture community.
Katko held a public Listening Session focused solely on issues impacting Central New York’s prevalent agriculture community. He’s also formed an Agriculture Committee made up of farmers and Farm Bureau representatives from all four counties in NY-24, which will meet regularly to discuss priority agricultural and watershed issues.
He’s cosponsored legislation to force the EPA to withdraw its proposed “Waters of the United States” rule, which could devastate local farmers by subjecting them to burdensome new water regulations. He has made clear to House leadership that farmers cannot be hurt by a change to immigration policy.
Katko supports policies such as the Family Farm Relief Act to make it easier for farmers to hire seasonal agriculture workers, and the Repeal of the Death Tax to relieve family farms of the burden of heavy tax bills at death.
- Working for policies that promote economic growth in Central New York by championing more private sector jobs and reducing the burdensome regulations that strangle Central New York’s small businesses and strong manufacturing workforce. Katko has placed an emphasis on meeting with local small businesses and manufacturers, as well as union officials across a variety of trade groups, for indicators on improving our regional economic climate.
In addition to taking key votes to reform Obamacare and providing outspoken support for repealing the Medical Device tax, Rep. Katko has supported legislation to make doing business easier, including the Small Business Tax Relief Act and the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act.
As Congress works to appropriate federal funds, Representative Katko has supported robust funding for the Community Development Block Grant program, which can be utilized by communities throughout Central New York on important development projects that aid the local economy. He has supported strong funding for federal grant programs that aid local governments in improving their water infrastructure.
Mindful of the upcoming FAA reauthorization, Katko outlined priorities that are important to the economic health of Central New York and our nation’s transportation systems, including support for the reauthorization and funding of the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) test sites, one of which is located in Rome, NY.
At home, Katko has worked to encourage economic development by hosting a public and widely-attended Listening Session in Oswego County – where he announced that funding will be provided for the vital dredging and breakwater repair projects at the Port of Oswego. This long-awaited project will allow the harbor to function as a more vibrant center for trade in Central New York.
He’s also worked alongside fellow New York delegation members to keep Fort Drum and the 174th Attack Wing strong.
- Strengthening Central New York tourism by supporting efforts to ensure that the Harriet Tubman Home in Cayuga County successfully becomes a National Park.
Additionally, Katko has promoted local tourism through bipartisan agricultural policies to aid the many Finger Lakes wineries and through vocal support for growing local arts community.
In Congress, Katko joined a non-partisan group of fellow Upstate New York members to champion legislation reauthorizing the National Women’s Rights History Project and memorializing the historic efforts of the women’s rights movement in Upstate New York and throughout the country. He’s cosponsored legislation to provide funding for environmental restoration projects that are vital to tourism on the Great Lakes.
- Prioritizing a commitment to veterans through advocacy for Central New York’s prominent veterans community.
Congressman Katko has worked with our Veterans Affairs Medical Facility and local veterans outreach centers, including Clear Path for Veterans, to deliver strong constituent service for CNY veterans. With an experienced veteran on staff, Rep. Katko has assisted nearly 70 NY-24 veterans over the past four months with issues they face with federal agencies or the VA. He has returned over $225,000 to veterans in owed benefits or pay. Katko has established a Veterans Advisory Council, comprised of representatives from a variety of agencies that assist NY-24 veterans.
He has cosponsored legislation to open treatment to more veterans who suffered Agent Orange exposure, and supports robust funding for Department of Defense programming to treat traumatic injuries.
Rep. Katko supports Syracuse University’s efforts to remain a leader in veterans’ higher education, and played a key role in securing funding for its Veterans Business Outreach Center.
- Starting a dialogue on strengthening access to pediatric mental health care in Central New York by creating a six-month mental and behavioral health care taskforce in partnership with New York State Assemblyman William Magnarelli.
The task force, made up of mental health and substance use disorder treatment providers, grassroots health care organizations and advocates, Central New York hospitals, and local government officials, is tasked with addressing gaps in pediatric mental health care services in our region.
- Initiating a local conversation on the heroin epidemic in Central New York and around the nation by working with local, state and federal officials to combat this growing problem.
Early in his term, Rep. Katko held a public community conversation on heroin and public safety at a districtwide listening session. He plans to continue this conversation around the district with heroin summits alongside NY-24 educators, public safety officials, students and parents.
Katko has supported funding for programs designed to prevent opioid abuse and to curb high intensity drug trafficking.
- Providing forums for community approaches toward solving generational poverty throughout NY-24 by fostering a dialogue with local advocacy groups, community leaders, and our local churches.
He has met with Central New York community organizations and advocates that provide food, shelter, family support, and multilingual outreach services to our community, as well as those that promote literacy, education, youth mentorship and morale as a path from poverty.
Congressman Katko has supported the YouthBuild program, which aids low-income students in pursuing their high school diploma or GED while providing mentoring services and teaching leadership skills. To this effect, he has engaged local educators to remedy the underperformance in inner-city schools.
- Protecting American interests and national security by working in a leadership position both as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Co-Chair of the bipartisan Task Force on Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel.
Two pieces of Katko-introduced legislation to enhance security measures and efficiency at domestic airports passed the House early in the 114th Congress with broad, bipartisan support. Katko has also introduced legislation to keep the vast northern border secure, and supports strong border security and technology funding in the upcoming appropriations process.
Rep. Katko participated in a Congressional Delegation visit to the 174th Fighter Attack Wing and Fort Drum, and later emphasized the importance of these upstate defense installations to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter during his visit to Syracuse University. Katko also submitted a statement in support of the 174th to the House Armed Services Committee regarding the National Defense Authorization Act.
Katko has visited Syracuse-based defense manufacturing facilities SRC, Saab-Sensis and Lockheed Martin to learn more about defense manufacturing in the region and the importance of cutting-edge weapons systems.
As Congress authorizes and appropriates money for our nation’s defense, Rep. Katko has pushed for increased funding for vital, high-quality defense technologies, some of which are produced in Central New York.
- Delivery of quality constituent service.
With offices in each of the four counties of NY-24, Rep. Katko’s constituent service team is made up of experienced caseworkers and trained social workers. Katko has returned nearly $347,000 in benefits to constituents across the 24th Congressional District, with the most dollars reimbursed to Social Security and Medicare recipients and U.S. military service members and veterans.
“I’ve spent the past four months meeting with the hardworking men and women of Central New York – with small business owners, farmers, seniors, veterans, teachers, community advocates, and civic leaders in each of the four counties I represent,” continued Katko. “With their input and expertise, I’ve been able to effectively advocate for Central New York in Congress.”
In addition to the above accomplishments, Congressman Katko has supported local efforts in the receipt of more than six million dollars in grants across the 24th Congressional District. Katko and his staff have met with over 200 Central New York constituents, community organizations, hospitals, veterans groups, educators, child & family service providers, farmers, and other local advocacy groups. Rep. Katko has responded to over 6,000 constituent letters and phone calls since taking office in January.
“I’m honored to work for Central New York – and we’re just getting started,” concluded Katko. “I am committed to reporting regularly on the work I’m doing for our district, and I’ll continue to reach across the aisle and fight for bipartisan solutions in Congress.”
Congressman John Katko represents the 24th Congressional District of New York, which includes all of Onondaga, Cayuga, and Wayne Counties and a portion of Oswego County. For more information, please visit https://katko.house.gov or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.