Repost from September 16, 2013
With the accidental resolution of military strikes against Syria completed (or at least off the table until some time in 2014) its time of the nation to get back to the issues that directly affect the nation, and constituents of the New York 22nd Congressional District.
Since most of the public is likely to have completely forgotten what was being discussed over the summer, due to the looming potential of involvement in yet another Middle East war that the solid majority of Americans opposed (and Rep. Richard Hanna had no opinion on), I went over what Rep. Richard Hanna has done in 2013. There is no better indication of how well the public is served than by seeing what they are being served.
Looking at Govtrack.us, a quick search provides a list of 14 Bills that Rep. Hanna has either sponsored or co-sponsored. Of those, only 1 has made it past a House Committee, and was actually made law. That was HR 1071: To specify the size of the precious-metal blanks that will be used in the production of the National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins. Baseball fanatics are sure to be happy as the Bill was predicted to only have a 14% chance of passage.
Does this Bill help small businesses? Outside the finite and niche baseball collectibles arena, no. Does it help the NY-22? No. Does it improve the quality of life for even a minority of the residents in Upstate New York? No. But politicians don’t count their success based on what Bills they actually pass in Congress (lest voters actually evaluate them on the merits of their work ethic), strong attempts to pass the Bills that matter to voters is what counts.
Rep. Hanna failed to get past committee, or even get strong support, on House Resolution 134 (H Res 134): Condemning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for its continuing acts of aggression, its expressed intent to break the July 10, 1953, Korean War Armistice Agreement, and for its repeated violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
North Korea, a nation that is top on the list of countries that hates America, starves its people, and is reportedly winding up a plutonium reactor (which is good for nuclear weapons like radioactive dirty bombs) is universally condemned by Congress. There is not 1 member of Congress that would support North Korea and the horrors it imposes on its people, yet Rep. Hanna was unable to get traction on this.
Then there is H Res 190: Condemning the April 15, 2013, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks in Boston, Massachusetts and calling upon the United States Government, the governments of all nations, the United Nations, and other international organizations to renounce the use of IEDs and take actions to stop their proliferation.
Absolutely everyone in America was aghast and angered by the terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon. Equally, the devastation done to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan by IED’s has no support from any member of Congress or American. Yet again this has gone nowhere, and is predicted to have 0% chance of getting passed.
In both cases, these are issues that are universal. Neither would alter the position of the nation, or alter the lives of the public, they are merely statements of the opinion of Congress (and in these two Bills, the clear mindset of the nation). Bipartisan support should not be a difficult task, if presented by an effective politician. The results speak for themselves.
Then there is HR 2310: To amend title 38, United States Code, to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make available for purchase Department of Veterans Affairs memorial headstones and markers for members of reserve components who performed certain training.
Again, an issue that no politician would take issue with, and the public can support. Yet it sits, without notice or action, a testament to the ability of the politician that proposed it. For the record there are 89 Representatives with prior military service (which Rep. Hanna is not among), 4 support this Bill. Prominent members of Congress that served in the military like Speaker Boehner, or even Rep. Chris Gibson of NY, Rep. Michael Grimm of NY, Rep. Peter King of NY, even Rep. Charles Rangel all without support of this Bill. Which begs the question, where they even asked?
So it’s pretty clear that Rep. Hanna isn’t very good at passing a Bill he has written, unless it involves baseball collectibles. What about Bills he has co-sponsored? Nope, to date nothing has passed their either. But it does bring up a very interesting Bill that he has cosponsored.
HR 2131 (SKILLS Visa Act): To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to enhance American competitiveness through the encouragement of high-skilled immigration, and for other purposes.
This is an immigration reform Bill, which is a tough subject for Rep. Hanna. In April and early May 2013, Rep. Hanna placed himself on both sides of the immigration debate. With HR 2131 it appears that he has finally picked a side.
What the SKILLS Visa Act does is give visas to immigrants that work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This of course will allow those immigrants to compete with the US graduates with STEM degrees. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, over the next 10 years there will be 3.9 million US STEM degrees – or 1.55x the number of jobs projected to be available. Yet, Rep. Hanna wants to increase the competition for these jobs with foreign workers. Odd.
But HR 2131 does even more. It immediately increases the number of foreign workers by 90,000 [SEC. 201. H-1B VISAS] – current actual unemployment in the US is 21.2 million.
Further, the SKILLS Visa Act apparently allows foreign workers of ANY type under the following
(c) Aliens Who Are Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Aliens of Exceptional Ability- Section 203(b)(2)(A) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(2)(A)) is amended by striking ‘paragraph (1),’ and inserting ‘paragraphs (1), (6), and (7),’.
(d) Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers- Section 203(b)(3)(A) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(3)(A)) is amended by striking ‘paragraphs (1) and (2),’ and inserting ‘paragraphs (1), (2), (6), and (7),’.
HR 2131 also lets an additional 10,000 foreigners get a visa to start a business in the US. This at a time where 1.3 million US business owners have lost their business (according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data since 2009) and are not being helped to start a new one. Not exactly the job growth that has been promised by politicians since the 2008 Recession began.
In Section 105 FAMILY-SPONSORED IMMIGRANT VISAS – it increases the number of visas for foreign families, without regard to STEM jobs. The SKILLS Visa Act even helps let students, who are actually working a temp job, to bring their families – because the DREAM Act is very clear on what happens to the children of these immigrants after they stay in the US beyond the visa timeframe [SEC. 205. STUDENTS].
Perhaps the best part of the HR 2131 is the fact that it will justify increasing competition for STEM jobs by providing an additional $225,000 to each State – in the best case scenario, if all 50 States request the money – to be used for STEM education. A pittance compared to the cost of education, even worse if the cost of a STEM higher degree is considered.
Overall, Rep. Hanna as done nothing to help those unemployed in the New York 22nd Congressional District to find a job. He has not improved conditions for small business (except for baseball collectibles). He is actively helping foreign workers get jobs, and bring their families – conditions that are the root of the problem today and the justification for the DREAM Act. Rep. Hanna is also actively increasing competition for STEM jobs, now and in the future, at a time when his constituents are well above the national average for unemployment, and below the State average for pay.
Does this represent what you want from Congress? Is this what you were thinking of when Rep. Richard Hanna was re-elected? Does this job performance improve your confidence in Congress and Government?
If not, you can donate for a better option. I’m Michael Vasquez, and like everyone in the NY-22 I expect more from a representative in Congress. It’s time we get it.