Queens Lawmakers On The Move April 5

Queens County City Council News

Meng Measures Helping Vets Passed Into Law

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced yesterday she has secured several important provisions to assist veterans and strengthen diversity in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The measures are items that Meng attached to the omnibus spending bill that was recently signed into law. They include:

  • Directing the Secretary of Defense to fund outreach efforts at minority-serving colleges and universities in order to recruit more minorities into officer positions within the U.S. military. This is an effort to correct the under representation of minorities in officer ranks across the military.
  • Directing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to expand its no cost flu shots for vets program at local pharmacies to cover additional vaccines.
  • Directing the Department of Defense and the VA to establish a program that assists transitioning military medical professionals find employment in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). This is an effort to address the staff shortages at the VHA, which serves over 9 million veterans.

 “I am proud of these provisions and believe they will provide greater preventive care for our veterans, offer military medical professionals more employment opportunities that align with their skill sets, and produce more U.S. officers in the military who are minorities,” said Meng. “Our veterans deserve our unwavering support and gratitude for their service. These provisions are a first step to addressing challenges that veterans and the military face and I look forward to helping them in the next fiscal year.”

The omnibus bill funds the federal government through the end of fiscal year 2018, which runs through the end of September.

Meeks Congratulates John Williams on Appointment as New York Fed President

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

U.S. Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, JFK Airport), a senior member of the House Committee on Financial Services, yesterday congratulated John Williams on his appointment as the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York:

“I congratulate John Williams on his selection to be the next president of the New York Fed.  As the head of the Second Federal Reserve District, which encompasses my district and the great State of New York, Williams will face challenges as our economy continues to evolve at rapid pace, but I believe he is well-equipped to tackle them,” said Meeks.

“By 2044, it’s predicted that America’s population will be majority-minority. Underrepresented communities – including racial minorities and women – have been shut out of the highest levels of the private and public sectors. In that vein, the Federal Reserve System can do a much better job at diversifying its workforce, including its leadership, and leading its regulated entities by example when it comes to breaking down barriers in the c-suites and boardrooms. Without meaningful change our nation would miss out on tremendous talent that could drive economic growth. Thus, I look forward to working with Williams on employment policies that will create a more inclusive economy,” he added.

Meeks said he anticipates working with Williams to modernize financial regulation, encouraging responsible innovation and expanding access to affordable financial services.

“I was encouraged by a February New York Fed study that demonstrated that technology based lenders (or “FinTech” companies) have improved efficiency in the mortgage lending space without increasing risk.  The New York Fed should continue its research on FinTech to provide policymakers with a better understanding of the budding sector’s potential benefits and risks,” said Meeks.

Schumer, Gillibrand announce $89.5M In Fed YouthBuild Funding

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand yesterday announced that the just-passed bipartisan omnibus included $89.5 million for the U.S. Department of Labor’s YouthBuild program, a $5 million increase from Fiscal Year 2017.

YouthBuild is a pre-apprenticeship program that helps at-risk youth from ages 16 to 24 develop skills and knowledge to obtain industry-recognized job credentials, apprenticeships, and employment. There are 147 national grantees operating YouthBuild programs across the country. New York State currently has 20 YouthBuild program locations eligible for this federal funding.

“YouthBuild is a nationally recognized pre-apprenticeship program that helps at-risk youth earn their GED, accrue real construction-related job experience and make a better life for themselves,” said Schumer. “I am proud to have played my part in securing this vital funding for YouthBuild and look forward to hearing about its many successes across New York State.”

“YouthBuild helps at-risk youth secure good jobs and achieve their full potential,” said Gillibrand. “I’ve seen the beautiful homes that YouthBuild participants have built around New York State, and I was proud to lead my Senate colleagues in increasing funds for this vital program. I will always fight to make sure New Yorkers have access to good jobs and useful training programs wherever they live in our state.”

Peralta On Senate IDC Joining Mainline Dems

State Senator Jose Peralta

State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside) yesterday hailed the agreement yesterday in which the State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference ended their ruling coalition with Republicans and will now become part of the mainstream Democratic conference in the Senate

“Since the election of Trump, my constituents, and the rest of New Yorkers, have been constantly under attack. This is why it is vital for all Democrats to work and fight together to protect all New Yorkers. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, we will be able to promote our values and ensure our progressive common agenda moves forward,” said Peralta.