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Political Scene

‘The American People Are Tired of the Blame Game’ on Health Care
Esty discussed the bipartisan health care proposals put forward by the House Problem Solvers Caucus
Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) on Saturday was interviewed by MSNBC’s Richard Lui about the House Problem Solvers Caucus and a slate of bipartisan proposals to improve the Affordable Care Act that the Caucus has put forward.
To view video of Esty’s appearance, click the image above or visit
The Problem Solvers Caucus, of which Esty is a member, is a group of 43 representatives, split roughly evenly between Democrats and Republicans, who are committed to finding bipartisan solutions to the major challenges facing the nation.
The proposals the caucus released are ideas that members believe merit further exploration and public feedback, and are intended to set the stage for an open and bipartisan process aimed at lowering costs, restoring stability to the marketplace, and expanding options for care. More information about the Problem Solvers Caucus’s proposals can be found here.
League of Women Voters
Opposes Releasing Voter Information
The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County announced today (July 21, 2017) that it supports Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill’s decision not to release Connecticut voters’ information to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
In her July 2 letter to Kris Kobach, the Commission’s vice chair, Secretary Merrill said that complying with the Commission’s request to release voting information, including personally identifiable information about voters, “is not in the best interest of Connecticut residents.”
On July 6, the League of Women Voters of Connecticut (LWVCT) sent a letter commending Secretary Merrill for her response to Mr. Kobach, stating “The League stands by our long history of protecting voters by opposing the release of voting information.”
The LWV is actively involved in preserving the sanctity of the vote. LWV supports passage of the Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2017, continued existence of the Election Assistance Commission, restoration of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and federal funding for replacement of outdated election equipment. LWV opposes partisan redistricting in the drawing of legislative districts. “During our Annual Meeting in June, we decided to further look into redistricting in anticipation of the upcoming census and the potential of the boundaries being redrawn”, said Kerry Mayers, President, League of Women Voters of Litchfield County. The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County is a grassroots, nonpartisan political organization of women and men.
Esty Votes for Sanctions on Russia, Iran, North Korea
Bipartisan bill passes House overwhelmingly
WASHINGTON, D.C. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) today (Tuesday, July 25, 2017) released the following statement after voting in favor of the Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Act, which passed the House by a vote of 419-3:
“This is a good bipartisan bill to strengthen our national security and hold to account three adversarial governments that have repeatedly threatened America’s interests.
“Russia has committed multiple cyberattacks against American institutions, deliberately spread lies and propaganda to mislead the American people, and interfered in our elections. We need to send a unified message that the United States will not tolerate this assault on our democracy. Today’s legislation sends that message – and importantly, it maintains Congress’s authority to keep the sanctions in place even if the President tries to roll them back.
“Though Iran remains in compliance with the 2015 agreement banning it from developing nuclear weapons, its unacceptable ballistic missile program and support for international terrorist groups continue to pose a danger to the United States and our allies. These new sanctions will help us fight back against these threats to our security.
“Finally, North Korea’s rising aggression cannot go unanswered. We need a tough and smart strategy to combat the danger posed by Kim Jong Un’s oppressive, violent regime. Today’s sanctions will form an important part of that overall strategy.”
Major Bill Esty Co-sponsored to Overhaul
Veterans’ Education Benefits Passes House
Bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) to expand and improve veterans’ GI Bill benefits passed the House unanimously last night (July 25, 2017), 405-0.
The legislation, entitled the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, eliminates the 15-year limit afforded veterans to use their education benefits after leaving military service. It also ensures that all Purple Heart recipients, regardless of their length of service, are able to access GI Bill benefits. And it eases eligibility requirements for National Guard members and Reservists, who often don’t qualify for benefits under existing law.
Esty is a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, which voted unanimously to advance the legislation to a floor vote, and the top Democrat on the subcommittee overseeing veterans’ compensation. She spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor during debate.
For a one-pager on the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, click here. For a section-by-section summary, click here. The bill is endorsed by several major veterans’ service organizations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Order of the Purple Hearts, Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion, and American Veterans.
Esty: ‘House-Passed Defense Bill is a
Win for Connecticut and for the Fifth District’
Esty’s amendment to improve the benefits process for new veterans was unanimously adopted by the House
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) today (Friday, July 14, 2017) voted in favor of H.R. 2810, the FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 344-81.
“I’m proud to support this bipartisan defense bill, which strengthens military readiness, supports our service members, and creates jobs in Connecticut,” Esty said. “The bill provides much-needed certainty and stability to the manufacturing and defense supply chain, keeping companies like Danbury’s DRS Consolidated Controls and UTC Aerospace Systems hard at work producing submarine and aircraft components for the next five years and beyond. The bottom line is this: today’s bill helps keep Americans safe – and helps put Nutmeggers to work.
“I’m also thrilled my colleagues voted unanimously to approve my amendment to help service members more smoothly transition from active duty to veteran status,” Esty added. “Every man and woman who serves this country deserves a good-paying job, quality health care, and easy access to the benefits they’ve earned. My amendment will help us make sure that no veterans end up falling through the cracks.”
Provisions of the bill that are particularly beneficial for Connecticut include:
- $3.3 billion in funding for two Virginia-class submarines in FY 2018;
- An authorization for the Navy procure up to 13 Virginia-class submarines beginning in FY 2019 at a rate of three submarines per year; and
- The addition of 17 additional F-35s for a total fleet of 87.
Esty’s amendment, which passed the House by voice vote, directs the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to issue a comprehensive report to Congress outlining ways to improve service members’ transition from active duty to veteran status. The amendment directs the DOD and VA to:
- Assess the feasibility of requiring service members to apply for their veterans’ benefits before the completion of their service;
- Assess the feasibility of performing compensation and pensions examinations with service members before they complete their service to ensure they receive all their earned benefits; and
- Identify ways to speed up the process by which service members who undergo medical discharge transition to VA care.
Esty is a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and serves as the top Democrat on the Disability and Memorial Affairs (DAMA) Subcommittee, which oversees veterans’ compensation. In May, she and DAMA Subcommittee Chairman Mike Bost (R-IL) passed landmark legislation through the House to reform the VA appeals process and reduce the claims backlog.
Yesterday, Esty joined the entire House Veterans Affairs Committee to introduce an update to the GI Bill that provides the biggest expansion of veterans’ education benefits in a decade.
Esty Applauds Decision to Expand Rail Access
in Central Connecticut, Abandon Coastal Route Proposal
Esty has repeatedly written to federal officials urging them to ditch plans for a costal high-speed rail route in favor of an inland route
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) today praised the Federal Railroad Administration’s announcement that it is no longer considering a new high-speed rail route along Connecticut’s coastline. Instead, the FRA announced that it will undertake a comprehensive approach to study how service can be improved between Connecticut and Rhode Island, while providing much-needed upgrades along existing corridors.
“I’m grateful to the FRA for listening to the input of Connecticut residents, who were overwhelmingly opposed to the initial proposal to expand high speed rail along Connecticut’s coast,” Esty said. “I hope today’s decision paves the way for an inland high-speed route through central Connecticut, which would be transformative for local economies throughout our state. I will continue to push for an inland route that connects to the communities of Connecticut’s Fifth District.
“We can’t power a 21st-century economy on 20th-century infrastructure. It’s time for Congress to work together on a bold, bipartisan infrastructure plan to create jobs and provide every American with the world-class transportation systems they deserve. That plan should include high-speed rail, which would enable faster travel to work and school for millions of Americans and help businesses across the country create new jobs.”
Esty is the Vice Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She has repeatedly written to the FRA to encourage them to abandon the coastal high-speed rail route proposal in favor of an inland route. She has also written repeatedly to House leaders and the Administration in support of greater funding for rail generally.
During a committee hearing last month, Esty pressed FRA Associate Administrator Paul Nissenbaum to listen to the concerns of Connecticut residents about the coastal proposal, telling him, “I think it’s really important to leave the door open for Connecticut to be at the table to consider an inland route, which would not have the same level of opposition and could get us to much higher rates of speed than is ever going to be possible [along the coast].”