It is both a privledge and an honor to represent the great state of New York in the United States Senate. I fight every day for New Yorkers on a wide range of issues and I will continue to do so in order to make sure that New York remains the greatest state in the union. Below are some of the things I’ve been working on for New York.
Fought to get the Bethlehem Steel nuclear workers the compensation they deserve:
After nearly a decade of red tape and frustrating delays, the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health‘s
approved Bethlehem Steel workers‘ petition to be included in a ?special exposure cohort?. The designation will allow people who worked with radioactive materials at the old Bethlehem Steel site and their families to finally receive compensation for their illnesses. I worked aggressively to get aid for former nuclear workers in Western New York. In an effort to compensate these workers, Congress passed EEOICPA
in 2000 which allowed them to file claims with the US Department of Labor
for individual payments of $150,000 and other benefits for medical treatments. Workers who contracted radioactive cancer, beryllium disease or chronic silicosis after working at sites that performed nuclear weapons work during World War II and the Cold War were eligible. In November 2004, I successfully secured a mandate from Congress that established a resource center intended to provide Western New Yorkers with the support that they need to effectively navigate the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program
. In 2006, the Government Accountability Office (GAO)
completed two major reports on the EEOICPA program exposing many flaws and inconsistencies. It became abundantly clear that the program was not working as intended, and many former nuclear workers were wrongly being denied compensation. I called for a full investigation of the Nuclear Workers Program to ensure workers would get their deserved compensation. I will continue to press the Advisory Board to grant the same special cohort status to all groups of Western New York nuclear workers.
Stopping Foreign Trade Zone Proposal That Would Have Undermined Niagara Falls Manufacturer:
Senator Schumer urged Commerce Department
officials to reject a foreign trade subzone application seeking an exemption to use unfairly traded silicon metal from China and Russia within a new foreign-trade subzone without payment of antidumping duties. Allowing access to dumped silicon metal without payment of such duties would have had a direct and negative impact on a major employer in Niagara Falls, Globe Specialty Metals, as well as a significant negative economic impact on the region and on local jobs. The FTZ Board ultimately rejected the exemption request. Schumer continues to fight proposals that would undermine the economic viability of domestic manufacturers.
Protecting NY Furniture Makers From Unfair Chinese Trade Practices:
Senator Schumer urged federal officials to keep in place current protections that prevent Chinese companies’ predatory pricing practices from undercutting American furniture manufacturers, including NY companies L. & J.G. Stickley and Harden Furniture. The 2005 antidumping ruling was set to expire in 2010. Federal officials subsequently voted unanimously in favor of keeping current penalties against Chinese manufacturers in place in order to level the playing field for U.S. furniture makers.
Fighting to Stop Federal Officials From Weakening Rules that Protect NY Candle Makers:
Syracuse’s Cathedral Candle, and other domestic candle manufacturers, face crippling competition from dumped imports of candles from China. A U.S. Department of Commerce proposal to scale back the scope of candles subject to antidumping duties would cause significant economic harm to the remaining U.S. candle companies and their workers, as well as the communities in which they operate. Commerce’s proposal also has the perverse effect of rewarding Chinese candle exporters for years of outrageous schemes to avoid payment of dumping duties. Senator Schumer is pushing Commerce officials to side with U.S. manufacturers and recognize that inclusion of all shapes and sizes of candles within the scope of the antidumping order is the only way to protect the integrity of the order and the remaining U.S. candle manufacturers and their employees from unfair trade practices and continued economic harm.
Stopping Chinese Website Sales of Counterfeit LI Manufacturer’s Products:
Extensive counterfeiting operations, based in China, threaten the continued economic health of Farmingdale instrument strings manufacturer D’Addario and its workers.Senator Schumer called on federal officials to launch a coordinated crackdown on the makers and distributors of counterfeit D’Addario string products and commercial websites selling or facilitating the sale of the counterfeit music strings. One of the largest commercial websites, based in China, subsequently agreed to take down the over 420 advertisements on its site that were selling counterfeit D’Addario strings. Senator Schumer continues to work with federal officials to press the Chinese government to meet its obligations to enforce intellectual property rights and shut down manufacturers of counterfeit products.
Siding With New York Wine Producers:
In October 2009, Senator Schumer, along with nine Senate colleagues, asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
to withdraw a proposal that would undermine the global competitiveness of NYS wine exports. New York wineries generate millions of dollars each year, and attract tourists and create jobs across New York. The proposal would have altered the current duty drawback program and repealed the program for products currently eligible for so-called substitution drawback. The substitution drawback program has contributed to the dramatic increase in New York wine exports over the past 10 years. CBP formally withdrew its proposal in February 2010.
Standing Up for the New York Apparel Industry:
In April 2008, Senator Schumer asked U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to withdraw a proposal that would alter the way in which the transaction value of imported articles is calculated and eliminate the so-called “first sale” rule. CBP did so in September 2010. If the proposal had taken effect, many U.S. companies would have been forced not only to pay increased import duties, fees and taxes, but also to restructure and possibly eliminate business united that had been built around the long-standing precedent. New York’s apparel industry – which injects billions of dollars into the New York economy and employs tens of thousands of New Yorkers in apparel design, production, distribution, sales and marketing operations – would have been particularly hard hit.
Winning Release of $11 Million in Sewer Funds Owed to Nassau County:
For over two decades, Nassau County has been seeking reimbursement under an EPA
sewer infrastructure grant program for costs associated with multi-million dollar upgrades at the Cedar Creek and Bay Park wastewater treatment plants in the mid-1980s. Schumer, working with county officials, successfully persuaded the EPA to release $11 million under the now-defunct program. The $11 million will be used for critical infrastructure upgrades at the Bay Park Treatment Plant to fix the illegal discharge problem in Reynolds Channel. These funds will allow Nassau County to go forward with these needed improvements without further burdening already stretched taxpayers. Schumer continues to work with federal officials on the release of additional reimbursement funds.
Saved Penn Traffic stores and thousands of jobs:
Senator Schumer led the fight to save Penn Traffic stores and avert the very real possibility that 4,000 New Yorkers would have been laid off. GE Capital, Penn Traffic‘s main creditor, wanted to cut off the company‘s line of credit, forcing them into the arms of a bidder with an intention of liquidating the stores. Due to Senator Schumer‘s request, GE Capital extended the credit line to the end of January, and then successfully pressured both GE Capital and Penn Traffic to not rush to select a bidder that would liquidate some of Penn Traffic‘s assets and to seek out the bidder that would keep the most stores open. Later this year, a bid by Tops Markets was successful, and Tops began operating former Penn Traffic stores, saving thousands of jobs across Upstate New York.
Stopped Chinese website sales of counterfeit LI manufacturer's products:
Extensive counterfeiting operations, based in China, threaten the continued economic health of Farmingdale instrument strings manufacturer D‘Addario and its workers. Senator Schumer called on federal officials to launch a coordinated crackdown on the makers and distributors of counterfeit D‘Addario string products and commercial websites selling or facilitating the sale of the counterfeit music strings. One of the largest commercial websites, based in China, subsequently agreed to take down the over 420 advertisements on its site that were selling counterfeit D‘Addario strings. Senator Schumer continues to work with federal officials to press the Chinese government to meet its obligations to enforce intellectual property rights and shut down manufacturers of counterfeit products.
Promoted Credit for Success program:
Senator Schumer led the charge to expand the Credit for Success program, which allows worthy borrowers who have been overlooked for loans to receive the credit they need to expand a business without placing too much financial burden on local banks. In March, the first loan was give to a local business in Warren County called Martha‘s Dandee Crème, which used the money to expand its operations.
Secured $100 million loan for Taylor Biomass:
Senator Schumer, working with Congressman Maurice Hinchey, secured a loan of $100 million from the Department of Energy for the Taylor Biomass Energy project in Orange County to construct and operate a biomass facility in Montgomery, New York. The project created about 400 local jobs in the construction phase and an additional 80 full-time positions once the plant is in operation, as well as increased revenues and lower tax burdens for people living in the Town of Montgomery and Orange County.
Helped Bring Yahoo! to Western New York:
In September 2010, Yahoo! had a grand opening of a new data center in Niagara County that will employ nearly 125 people. Over the last two years, Senator Schumer fought hard to bring this facility to Niagara, breaking an impasse between Yahoo! and Verizon over the cost of local access to broadband, and personally urging the CEO of Verizon to bring Yahoo! to Western New York. Senator Schumer touted the region‘s well-educated, hard-working, and affordable work force, as well as its cool climate and clean, inexpensive power, to entice Yahoo! to the region.
Secured $35 million in broadband funding for Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties:
After writing a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
urging him to support Slic Network Solutions application for a Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) grant
, Secretary Vilsack announced he would allocate $35 million for the organization to expand broadband access in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. The project will expand broadband access by nearly 700 miles, bringing access to nearly 8,000 homes and over 300 businesses. This is a huge boost for businesses that need broadband to operate more efficiently and compete with businesses across the country and the world.
Took on big business to seek fair prices for dairy producers:
Senator Schumer called on the Department of Justice (DOJ)
to investigate allegations that dairy processors were reaping excessive profits while paying dairy farmers too little for their milk. At Senator Schumer‘s request, the Department of Justice‘s (DOJ) Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Christine Varney
joined Schumer in Batavia, New York to meet with local dairy farmers and consumers to discuss potential anticompetitive practices in the dairy market. The DOJ is now reviewing the information they collected.
Passed bill to Strengthen the Northern Border:
The northern border of the United States is hard to monitor due to its length and geography, and is often exploited by a diverse array of traffickers. Indeed, America‘s northern border is now the lead gateway for ecstasy to enter the U.S. Since 2005, seizures of ecstasy coming across the northern border have been eight times greater than seizures in our country‘s southwest border. According to the 2010 National Drug Threat Assessment
, the amount of ecstasy (MDMA) seized at or between northern border ports of entry increased 594 percent from 2004-2009. Senator Schumer authored and passed the Northern Border Counter which requires the Office of National Drug Control Policy
– in consultation with state, local, tribal, and international governments – to develop a comprehensive plan to blunt this illegal drug trade. This legislation passed the Senate and House in December, and is awaiting presidential signature into law.
Saved 18,000 public housing units in New York City:
Senator Schumer led support for the New York City Housing Author-ity‘s (NYCHA)
effort to federalize public housing units previously owned by the State and City. These 18,000 units had previously been abandoned by the state and city governments. Since 1995, NYCHA has undertaken the ownership, management and maintenance of these units as public housing by sharing the federal funding it receives for other public housing units, causing an annual structural deficit in NYCHA‘s budget. By making these units eligible for federal funding, NYCHA will be able to address a significant portion of this annual deficit and ensure that all NYCHA-operated developments are staffed and maintained adequately to properly serve tens of thousands of residents. NYCHA received an additional $75 million in federal aid this year as a result of these efforts and will continue to receive additional appropriations for these units going forward.