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THURSDAY, JULY 2, 2020                                    THE QUEENS TIMES                                                             PAGE 3

           Attorney General James, Coalition of State Attorneys                                  Suozzi Votes to Pass Major Legislation

                    General Endorse Joe Biden For President                                              Expanding And Improving
                                                                                                           America’s Health System

        Biden  Will  Fight  to  Protect  reason than being a woman. If  Vice President Biden’s support,   While the President and GOP  must be a right, not a privilege in
        ACA  and  Americans’  Health  the COVID-19 crisis has shown  ushering in a new age of health   continue to pursue repeal of the  this country,” said Rep. Suozzi.
        Care While Trump Looks to Rip  us anything, it’s that we cannot  care protections for hundreds of   Affordable Care Act, the legisla-  “On the other side, Republicans
        Health  Coverage  Away  from  go back to that time, and with Joe  millions of Americans across the   tion would by lower premiums  are continuing with their dark and
        Women, Seniors, Young People,  Biden’s leadership as president, we  country. Since that time, Repub-  and prescription drug prices  destructive mission to repeal the
        and  Those  with  Preexisting  won’t have to go back.”     licans have tried, dozens of times,                       Affordable Care Act in its entirety
        Conditions                        “Joe Biden is the leader we  to repeal the law to no success.        Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-  and rip health coverage away from
                                     trust to guide us out of this un-  When that failed, they took their   Long Island, Queens), a Member  tens  of  millions  of  Americans
             New York Attorney General  precedented  health,  economic,  case to the courts — previously   of  the  powerful  House  Ways  with pre-existing conditions and
        Letitia James today led a coalition  and social justice crisis. Under Joe  making it all the way to the U.S.   and Means Committee, helped  do nothing to reduce prescription
        of 23 Democratic attorneys gen-  Biden’s leadership, public health  Supreme Court — again failing.   pass legislation expanding and  drug prices. I am mystified by their
        eral from around the nation in en-  will be prioritized and health care  Since Trump took office in 2017   improving the Affordable Care  policy and political strategy, which
        dorsing Vice President Joseph R.  will be reimagined,” writes the  and another repeal effort, once   Act to lower health costs and pre-  the voters will make them pay for.”
        Biden for president of the United  coalition of Democratic attorneys  again, failed, a Republican-led   scription drug prices: The Patient       Suozzi also spoke on the House
        States, citing Biden’s commitment  general in an open letter announc-  coalition  of  attorneys  general,   Protection and Affordable Care  floor in support of the legislation.
        to aggressively defend Americans’  ing the endorsement. “The Trump  along with President Trump and   Enhancement Act. Suozzi’s vote       The bill finally allows our
        access to quality, affordable health  Administration continues to back  his administration, have tried to   comes as Republicans once again  government to negotiate for lower
        coverage and his specific promise  the Republican attorneys general  undo the health reform law in the   push the Supreme Court to repeal  prescription drug prices, deliver-
        to build on the many protections  lawsuit to destroy the Affordable  courts, piece-by-piece.  the entire Affordable Care Act,  ing on a campaign promise that
        written into the Patient Protection  Care  Act  wholesale,  as  states            When  the  Republican-led   including protections for the tens  President Trump never acted upon,
        and Affordable Care Act (ACA).  across the country are confronting  Congress rendered the ACA’s in-  of millions of Americans with  even though he often said of Big
        The endorsement comes in the  the harrowing reality of the CO-  dividual mandate unconstitutional   pre-existing conditions and allow-  Pharma, “these guys are getting
        form of an open letter on the same  VID-19 pandemic that has taken  — by reducing the penalty for for-  ing twenty-somethings to stay on  away with murder.” The savings
        day in which President Donald  the lives of more than 122,000  going coverage to $0 — a lawsuit   parents plans.     generated will be used to reduce
        Trump, his administration, and  Americans. Donald Trump’s ef-  was filed by another Republican-       “Democrats of different view-  premiums.
        a  Republican-led  coalition  of  forts to strip health care away from  led coalition, arguing that the rest   points are currently engaged in       The bill makes health premiums
        attorneys  general  from  around  tens of millions of Americans,  of the ACA should be held invalid   an important policy debate over  more affordable by making subsi-
        the nation file papers in the U.S.  including those with preexisting  as a result of that change.   how to most effectively improve  dies more generous and covering
        Supreme Court, seeking to again  conditions, is immoral and unlaw-       Attorney General James and   access to health coverage and re-  more middle-class families
        dismantle the ACA after numer-  ful; his mismanagement of the  a coalition of Democratic attor-  duce costs for American families.       The bill cracks down on the
        ous failed attempts to repeal and  pandemic has been incompetent  neys general defended the ACA   Some believe that ‘Medicare for  Trump Administration’s sabotage
        dismantle the law since Trump  and catastrophic; and his response  in its entirety. The case went up   All’ is the best route. Some, like  of  the  Affordable  Care  Act  by
        took office three years ago.  to the public protests of the killing  to the U.S. Court of Appeals for   myself and Joe Biden, believe that  prohibiting “junk” health plans
             “There is only one person on  of George Floyd has been callous  the Fifth Circuit, where the court   we should build on the successes  and taking other steps to protect
        the ballot this fall who will fight  and divisive.”        held the individual mandate to be   of the Affordable Care Act by  Americans with pre-existing con-
        to defend the Affordable Care Act,       Today’s letter — led and orga-  unconstitutional, but refused to   further reducing premiums and  ditions.
        fight to rebuild our economy, and  nized by Attorney General James  opine on the validity of the ACA’s   lowering prescription drug prices,       The bill expands coverage,
        fight for the American people,  and  the  Democratic  Attorneys  remaining provisions. Instead, the   as we do in today’s legislation.  pushing more states to expand
        and that man is Joe Biden,” said  General Association — shines a  Fifth Circuit sent the case back   While some Democrats may dif-  Medicaid and provide an affordable
        Attorney General James. “Only  light on one of the top issues for  to the district court to determine   fer on the details, we all share the  healthcare option for hard-working
        Joe Biden can be trusted to pri-  voters across the nation: Whether  whether  the  problem  with  the   moral conviction that health care  families and more.
        oritize the health and safety of the  Americans deserve access to qual-  mandate requires striking down
        American public as we overcome  ity, affordable health coverage.   the whole law. In January, how-
        the COVID-19 pandemic. Donald            Joining  Attorney  General  ever, a coalition of Democratic   Meng Statement on Pride Month
        Trump has repeatedly failed us  James  in  today  endorsing  Joe  attorneys general petitioned the        U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY),  and  attacks,  including  those
        and shown he is unable to lead  Biden are the attorneys general  Supreme Court for expedited re-  a Vice Chair of the Congressio-  against  the  LGBTQ+  commu-
        when  Americans  need  a  com-  of Maine, Massachusetts, Minne-  view to protect Americans’ health   nal LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus,  nity.  I  also  strongly  supported
        mander-in-chief most. For more  sota, Nevada, New Mexico, North  care and resolve the uncertainty   released the following statement  and voted for provisions in the
        than three years, Donald Trump  Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island,  created by the circuit court deci-  commemorating LGBTQ+ Pride  recent House-passed Heroes Act
        has tried to strip health coverage  Vermont, Virginia, Washington,  sion. The Supreme Court granted   Month.         that would strengthen LGBTQ+
        away from millions of Americans  Wisconsin,  and  the  District  of  review of the case in March and        “June is Pride Month where we  non-discrimination protections,
        and take us back in time to when  Columbia. Biden was previously  is today receiving opening briefs   celebrate inclusion and equality.  including measures directed to-
        those with preexisting conditions  endorsed by the attorneys gen-  from Trump and fellow Repub-  During this time, we reaffirm our  ward LGBTQ+ youth.
        could be denied health coverage,  eral of California, Connecticut,  licans.             commitment to LGBTQ+ rights,       While the Trump administra-
        to when young people could be  Colorado,  Delaware,  Illinois,       As Donald Trump continues   celebrate  the  progress  that  has  tion has continued its assault on
        kicked off their parents’ plans,  Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, and  his  support  for  ripping  health   been achieved, and reflect on the  LGBTQ+ individuals in the areas
        to  when  senior  citizens  could  Pennsylvania.           coverage away from hundreds of   work that must still be done. Pride  of health care and civil rights, the
        lose access to vital prescription            Former  President  Barack  millions of Americans, Joe Biden   Month has a history born of activ-  Supreme Court recently upheld
        drugs, and to when women could  Obama  signed  the  ACA  into  has continued to support the many   ism. What began as a fight for life  protections for LGBTQ+ workers
        be  charged  more  for  no  other  law more than 10 years ago with  protections in the ACA.  and liberty resulted in a month-  by ruling that employees cannot
                                                                                                long celebration of authenticity.   be fired for their gender identity
           Council Member Vallone Calls on Water Board to Halt                                       Pride Month allows people  or sexual orientation. Everyone
                                                                                                                             has  the  right  to  live  and  love
                                                                                                to bravely embrace their identi-
             Interest and Late Fees During COVID-19 Pandemic                                    ties that have for too long been  freely – without fear of discrimi-
                                                                                                marginalized,  attacked,  and  nation or harassment.
                                                                                                disgraced.  Because  this  mar-       As a Vice Chair of the LG-
                                                                                                ginalization  continues  today,  BTQ+  Equality  Caucus,  I  will
             At a recent Stated Meeting of  bill payments are 12 percent lower       “While New York State on   last  month,  I  introduced  the  always  be  a  proud  ally  to  the
        the City Council. Council Member  than during the same time period  PAUSE was established to save the   COVID-19  Hate  Crimes  Act  LGBTQ+  community,  and  I’m
        Paul A. Vallone will introduce a  in the last fiscal year. In addition  lives of many New Yorkers, it has   (H.R.6721) which seeks to com-  honored to wish a happy Pride
        resolution calling on the New York  to late charges, overdue water and  also created a financial hardship   bat  coronavirus-related  threats  Month to all who celebrate.”
        City Water Board to not impose  sewer charges are considered a  for many families across the five
        penalties or interest on water and  lien against your property and the  boroughs,” said Council Member   BP Lee on Budget Cuts to Senior Services
        sewer bills in an effort to give  City has the authority to sell this  Paul Vallone. “Forgiving penal-
        families needed relief during the  lien to a third party, or lienholder,  ties at a time when New Yorkers  “Queens Elders Yet Again Shaft-  including the decimation of $1.13
        COVID-19 pandemic. New York  in a process called a lien sale.  are struggling to make ends meet  ed and Disproportionately Short-  million of the Borough President’s
        City water customers are billed       Owners of one-family homes  is a simple way to provide much  changed” “On the Backs of our  Discretionary  DFTA  Funding,
        for both the water they use and  currently pay an average $1,000  needed  financial  relief  during  Elders is More Than Our Fair  of which $324,904 serves senior
        the  sewage  they  generate  and  annual water bill and apartment  these challenging times.”  Share of Pain”         programs in Queens:
        the annual rate for late payment  building owners are billed roughly       The New York City Water                        “Queens elders are yet again
        charges is 7%.               $700 per tenant, according to a  Board was established in 1984 and       Acting Queens Borough Presi-  shafted  and  disproportionately
             According to the New York City  2017 report. Forgiving all interest  is the entity authorized to collect  dent Sharon Lee stated the follow-  shortchanged by the City’s bud-
        Department  of  Environmental  and late fees accrued during the  and enforce payment and service  ing in response to questions about  get,” said Borough President LEE.
        Protection (DEP), many residen-  COVID-19 pandemic would pro-  charges related to the City’s sewer-  the millions of dollars in cuts to  “Nearly a third of the City’s elders
        tial customers are deferring bill  vide residents with some measure  age and water systems.   Senior Services announced in the  reside here in Queens, yet the City
        payments because of economic  of economic relief since once the       Council Member Vallone will  $88.1  billion  FY2021  Expense  has persistently spent the lowest
        hardship as a result of the CO-  pandemic ends, many residents  ask the Committee on Environ-  Budget. The Council Senior Ser-  per-capita for Queens seniors out
        VID-19  pandemic,  and  since  will still not be able to pay these  mental Protection for a hearing on  vices Initiatives are slated to be cut
        March 16, 2020, water and sewer  fees.                     this resolution in the near future.  by over 12 percent from FY2020,   (Continued on page 11)
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