It’s been a busy last few weeks in Washington, and as this Congressional term comes to a close, I’m reflecting on what a privilege it has been to represent Rockland and Westchester in Congress. I’m so proud of everything I have been able to deliver for working families in our district, and across the country. Just this week, in the Fiscal Year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill, I secured nearly $29 million for 15 different community projects in our district—and this is on top of the $8.2 million in community project funding I delivered earlier this year, for a total of $37 million across 24 community projects. Here are the new projects that will receive funding as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 appropriations bill:
One of the highlights of my term has been to secure essential funding for our communities. I recently met with local leaders in Yorktown to discuss how these investments—like the $1.2 million I delivered for environmental restoration and infrastructure improvements in Yorktown around Sparkle Lake—will benefit the daily lives of families throughout our district.
I’m so glad that my Democratic colleagues and I have passed a government funding package this Congress before control of the House flips in January. This important legislation provides critical resources to keep the federal government working for working families like yours. It delivers billions of dollars in funding for child care and early learning like Head Start; SNAP benefits to reduce food insecurity; health care for our veterans; and education programs, including increased Pell Grant awards and Title I-A grants for public schools. This legislation also includes another consequential round of security, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine as we continue to support their fight for democracy. And it protects our democracy here at home by reforming the Electoral Count Act of 1887 to reduce the likelihood of another disgraceful attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power like we saw on January 6th.
This consequential funding package reminds me of the extraordinary progress for working families Democrats made when we passed the American Rescue Plan Act nearly two years ago. When I first got to Washington at the height of the pandemic, many folks in our community were struggling to access vital health resources and get food on the table. I worked with my Democratic colleagues to pass the American Rescue Plan Act to help get families back on their feet—sending out much-needed economic relief and vastly expanding the availability of vaccines, at no cost, to keep everyone safe.
I was proud to help bring home billions of dollars for New York State as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, including for small businesses, public schools, and local governments right here in our district. In that legislation, we also expanded the Child Tax Credit, which cut child poverty nearly in half nationwide.
This legislation uplifted working families at a time of great need—but I didn’t stop there. I played a key role in passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to repair our roads and bridges, invest in our infrastructure’s climate resiliency, and create millions of good-paying jobs. And we passed the CHIPS and Science Act to strengthen our supply chain and lower costs.
And this summer, Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which will help bring down sky-high prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients, lower health care costs, expand health care coverage, and tackle the climate crisis with the largest investment in climate action our nation has seen. In Rockland and Westchester alone, this legislation will lower insurance premiums and cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for thousands of Medicare recipients.
I even helped lead the charge to get President Biden to use his executive authority to cancel student debt, and now his student debt cancellation program will cancel up to $20,000 per borrower making under $125,000 — providing life-changing economic relief for millions of Americans crushed by student debt in our broken economy, including thousands of people in our congressional district.
Amid all of this, I’ve worked to defend our most fundamental rights—from voting rights to marriage equality to abortion care and contraception—from the threat presented by the far-right, 6-3 Supreme Court majority. My bill with Representative Jerry Nadler, the Respect for Marriage Act, was just signed into law by President Biden. It will make marriage equality the law of the land to prevent discrimination against same-sex and interracial couples by states and the federal government. As one of only nine openly gay members in the House, this fight is personal to me.
Recently, I introduced and passed legislation to rename the post office in Suffern, NY the Sergeant Gerald T. “Jerry” Donnellan Post Office. Sergeant Donnellan was a light in our community, leading a life of service to others, both in the military and as an advocate for veterans health care and wellbeing later in his life—and I’m so proud to honor him in this way.
Casework is at the core of my office’s mission, and my team has been able to resolve approximately 5,000 cases this term. Whether someone is struggling to navigate complex government agencies, like the IRS, or needs help getting their loved ones around the world the proper authorization to come to the United States, I am honored to serve my constituents and help their families resolve these issues and access the resources they need to thrive.
We’ve had a lot to celebrate this year—both in our district, and across our nation—and it has made me so proud to be your champion in Congress. I’ve successfully navigated a gridlocked Washington to deliver real change for working families, and it means so much to bring these results home to the community that raised me.
But above all, what I want you to know is this: I’m not going anywhere. There is still so much work to do, so my fight on behalf of you is far from over. In fact, it has only just begun.
Banner Image: Press conference announcing $1.2 million for sewer project in Yorktown. Image Credit – Rep. Mondaire Jones