Stefanik rebuts Trump on accepting foreign ‘dirt’

Politicians should report such offers to police, North Country congresswoman says

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik speaks with the Enterprise editorial board Oct. 5, 2018, at the newspaper’s Saranac Lake office. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik on Thursday criticized President Donald Trump’s comments that his campaign would be open to accepting a foreign power’s help in his 2020 re-election bid.

“I strongly believe that if any candidate for public office receives information from a foreign entity, they need to immediately notify law enforcement,” she said in an email. “Every candidate on the ballot should live up to this standard including the President of the United States. My legislative record is clear: I have introduced four pieces of legislation just this Congress to combat foreign interference in our elections.”

The legislation that Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, is referring to includes bills that would require online political advertisements to contain the same disclosure of who paid for them as television and radio advertisements, prohibit foreign money from being contributed to U.S. political campaigns, and create an election czar to oversee elections.

Subpoena issue

Stefanik joined her Republican colleagues last week in voting against a resolution to make it easier to file lawsuits against witnesses who defy subpoenas to testify. The party-line vote came in response to the refusal of Attorney General William Barr’s and former White House counsel Don McGahn to come before Congress to talk about special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference.

Stefanik voted against a procedure that would allow the Judiciary Committee to initiate or intervene in judicial proceedings to enforce subpoenas.

“I have been a consistent supporter of transparency throughout the special counsel’s investigation. Unfortunately, this resolution does little to strengthen congressional oversight and only furthers House Democrat’s pro-impeachment agenda,” she said in a Facebook post.

Law Enforcement Officers Weekend

Stefanik presented a certificate to NYPD Officer Austin Glickman, organizer of the Law Enforcement Officers Weekend in Lake George, on Friday at the opening ceremony of the third annual event.

Stefanik also spoke about her legislative initiatives relating to law enforcement, including increasing penalties for people who knowingly cause harm to law enforcement, funding the 9/11 victims compensation fund and allowing active and retired officers to carry firearms on state, local and private property otherwise open to the public, as well as Gun Free School Zones, according to the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The events invites 27 family members of fallen officers from around the United States to an all-expenses-paid trip to Lake George.

Northern border security

Stefanik and colleague U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo have sent a letter to the chairwoman and ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, seeking to include funding for 1,846 new positions within Customs and Border Protection, including 1,200 border patrol officers.

She said there is a shortage of about 3,700 border patrol officers, according to the agency’s data and workload staffing model.

Stefanik has expressed concern about officers being transferred from other ports of entry, including the northern border, to deal with the situation on the southern border.

Military funding

A 3.1% pay raise for service members, requiring military installations to be 100% energy resilient by 2030 and improving military housing conditions are among items included in the 2020 Defense Authorization Bill.

The bill would also require the Department of Defense to review policies for areas to improve and promote reports of sexual assault and domestic violence, provide assistance for small businesses planning to respond to cyber activities, and support testing for PFOS/PFOA contamination in water used for agricultural purposes near current and former military installations.

Military spouse training

Stefanik and U.S. Rep. Andy Kim of New Jersey introduced a bill to make job training program accessible to military spouses, regardless of their service member’s rank.

The act would end the current prohibition that makes spouses ineligible when the military member is promoted beyond certain approved pay grades.

Stefanik said she felt it was important because military spouses face an unemployment rate six times higher than the national rate.

“Green Light Bill” passes

Local elected officials weighed in on the passage of a bill last week to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants in New York illegally.

Assemblyman Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, said passage of the Green Light Bill is a giant step in the wrong direction.

“By issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants, we have legitimized illegal immigration and encouraged it to continue across the state,” he said in a news release. “I believe this is going to create a bigger problem than we already face, while not even addressing the core issue.”

Warren County Clerk Pam Vogel and Essex County Clerk Joe Provoncha also issued a statement.

“The enabling legislation proposed requires resources — both staff and financial — that we are, at present, unable to provide or afford. Our county DMVs will, however, continue to meet, first and foremost, the needs of our customers who present valid license documentation,” Provoncha and Vogel said in a news release.

State Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon, said the bill “jeopardizes public safety, rewards lawbreakers and opens the door to illegal immigrants voting, a privilege reserved for American citizens.”