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Improving Healthcare

Access to affordable health care is critical to quality of life in the Capital Region and to the success of American small businesses trying to compete in a global market. The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, is far from a perfect law. That is why we have to respond to challenges in our health care system and fix the parts of the ACA that don’t work while moving forward with the provisions that do. That is a challenge that takes both parties in Washington putting politics aside and working together to strengthen our uniquely American system for millions of patients and providers.

That challenge will not be met by the disastrous American Health Care Act, which was passed with only Republican votes in the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017 without a report from the Congressional Budget Office to tell us how much it will cost or how many people it will kick off the insurance market that the ACA made available. You can read my full take on “Trumpcare” at http://tiny.cc/PaulTonkoHealthcare

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Clean Energy Jobs

I first ran for Congress a few years ago because our nation had no clear comprehensive energy policy. I believe in an “all of the above” strategy for energy production that creates jobs, cleans up our environment, and decreases our crippling dependence on fossil fuels. We must promote policies that increase clean energy development and deployment, and help small businesses and homeowners cut costs.

One of the largest myths I have encountered during my time in public service is that we, as Americans, must choose between a clean energy policy and a robust economy that generates millions of jobs per year. This is not the case. When we invest in clean and renewable energy, we boost public health while tapping into a “green collar” workplace that creates new, quality jobs for the un- and underemployed.

We are in the middle of a global race on clean energy and innovation and finishing in second place is not an option.

 

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Investing in Crumbling Infrastructure

We do not need to read reports or watch our local news to know that our roads, bridges, and water systems are in dire, immediate need of repair and replacement. In our Congressional District alone, there are 406 bridges – or 34% of all bridges – that are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. You can read more from about our needs in the Capital Region at http://tiny.cc/PaulTonkoInfrastructure

Our roads are no different. Particularly during winter months, it’s hard to go more than a week without hearing about a pothole or other deficiency with a major road that shuts down a school, a business, or otherwise interrupts our normal routine.

The need to upgrade our pipes and water systems is less talked about. Recent events in Hoosick Falls must be a lesson for us all on what can happen when we become complacent about the water we drink and how we deliver that precious resource to our homes and businesses. 

Fixing our roads, bridges and pipes will cost money. There is no way around that. However, if we do not act now, our problems will grow costlier by the day not only in terms of dollars, but also in human lives. 

From a bridge collapse in Minnesota, to man-made disasters in Flint, Michigan, I want us to learn from our past and ambitiously – but responsibly – invest in our crumbling infrastructure. 

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Expanding the Middle Class

As you know, I like to attend as many events in the Capital Region as I can. I believe talking to as many New Yorkers in communities across the region I represent gives me the tools I need to represent the area to the best of my ability. From year to year, the top concern I hear from people I talk to remains the same: jobs and the economy.

Since the Great Recession, we have steadily added jobs, but we can do better. Republicans and Democrats in Washington must come together to work with private sector businesses to create quality American jobs. I support policies that re-shore manufacturing jobs, invest in infrastructure, and provide incentives to small businesses that encourage growth and expansion. 

The opportunity to work hard, raise a family and save for retirement has slipped out of reach for far too many Americans. We must enact policies that allow those that work for a living the tools they require to ensure the next generation has as much promise and potential as possible. 

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Budgeting Responsibly

Reducing our debt and annual deficits is a goal on which we can all agree, but we cannot do so on the backs of our seniors, disabled, poor, and veterans. That is what a new budget, offered by the House Republicans and President Trump, aims to do. You can read more about their plan in this report from Politico http://tiny.cc/PaulTonkoBudget

Budgets should reflect our values: innovation, compassion, ingenuity, and helping our most vulnerable friends and neighbors when they are struggling. We must allow our moral compass to be our guide in this endeavor and avoid short-sighted, irresponsible budgeting tactics that kill jobs and harm those in need.

I support an ambitious budget that invests where we must and cuts where we can. Unfortunately, plans being offered by leading Republicans and President Trump only serve to cut taxes for the wealthiest among us – paid for by taking a sledgehammer to programs that benefit the sick, poor and those who fought for our country.  

Washington must move away from political theater and budget fights that lead to government shutdowns. That is no way to solve our problems. Instead, we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work – toward a responsible budgeting process that focuses on economic growth and ensures billionaires, major corporations and the well-connected pay their fair share.

Reducing our debt and annual deficits is a goal on which we can all agree, but we cannot do so on the backs of our seniors, disabled, poor, and veterans. That is what a new budget, offered by the House Republicans and President Trump, aims to do. You can read more about their plan in this report from Politico.

 

Budgets should reflect our values: innovation, compassion, ingenuity, and helping our most vulnerable friends and neighbors when they are struggling. We must allow our moral compass to be our guide in this endeavor and avoid short-sighted, irresponsible budgeting tactics that kill jobs and harm those in need.


I support an ambitious budget that invests where we must and cuts where we can. Unfortunately, plans being offered by leading Republicans and President Trump only serve to cut taxes for the wealthiest among us – paid for by taking a sledgehammer to programs that benefit the sick, poor and those who fought for our country.  

 

Washington must move away from political theater and budget fights that lead to government shutdowns. That is no way to solve our problems. Instead, we have to roll up our sleeves and get to work – toward a responsible budgeting process that focuses on economic growth and ensures billionaires, major corporations and the well-connected pay their fair share.