Rep. Faso defends health care vote as challengers emerge

May 09, 2017 06:10 PM

Congressman John Faso is defending his vote on the Republican health care plan, saying that he hopes changes are made. And even though Election Day 2018 is a year and a half away, there are already four Democratic challengers for his seat.

Congressman Faso defended his vote on the American Health Care Act, which is the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act and was passed in the House of Representatives last week, by saying he is looking to help people and small businesses. "Talking to people over the last year and a half, I know my district is split on this issue, but overwhelmingly people agree that they'd like to see premiums and deductibles go down," said Faso.

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The bill passed the House by the slimmest of margins. 217 Republicans voted in favor of it, they needed 216 to pass. That potentially made every Republican the deciding vote. The bill now heads to the Senate, where Congressman Faso says he hopes changes are made to parts of the bill he does not agree with. "It’s a process that's going to go back and forth between the two houses," said Faso. "There are provisions in the House bill that I really didn't favor so I'm hopeful the Senate will change some of those. But I think on balance, the key is reducing premiums and deductibles."

Faso’s vote is making him the target of ads, both attacking and supporting his decision. An ad released Monday by the group "Save My Care" targets Congressman Faso’s vote. Another ad released Tuesday by the National Republican Congressional Committee says Congressional Republicans kept their promise to repeal Obamacare.

Some have criticized Congressman Faso for not holding traditional-style town hall meetings in the district. Even a fellow congressman called him out. Representative Sean Maloney of the neighboring 18th District held a town hall meeting in Kingston on Monday night. Faso says he’s not going to hold a town hall which will turn into a "partisan shouting match", and he won’t hold a town hall in Maloney’s district.

"He’s very good at taking cheap shots, and I don’t do that," said Faso. "I’m not going to do that."

Controversies over town halls and the health care vote, along with the divided constituency in the 19th Congressional District, mean that challengers are already lining up to take on Congressman Faso. Four Democrats have already filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to run.

- Antonio Delgado filed to run in February and has $297,933 in the bank after the first quarter of 2017.
- Brian Flynn also filed in run in February and has $175,233 in the bank after the first quarter of 2017.
- Steven Brisee filed to run in December of 2016, and says he raised less than $5,000 in the first quarter of 2017.
- Gareth Rhodes just filed to run for the seat on May 5th.

Congressman Faso, who currently has $269,687 in the bank, says he is not focused on them right now. "It’s way too early," he said. "It’s twenty months away. I’m not focused on the election. I’m focused on trying to do the best job I can for my constituents."

Brisee and Rhodes sent NewsChannel 13 statements regarding the Congressman's health care vote.

Brisee said, "Congressman John Faso broke his promise to the 19th district. He's let down hundreds of thousands of his constituents who rely on the Affordable Care Act. The bill he voted for imposes unfair age tax, drastically increases coverage costs across the board, all while giving tax cuts to the wealthy.

I, like many others want to know, how could they do this to us?"

Rhodes said, "John Faso sold out and misled all of us here in the Hudson Valley and Catskills by pretending to be a moderate. The moment he got to Washington he turned his back on our community and voted lockstep with Donald Trump – attacking our health care, environment and our values. When I see the community that I'm from and that I love under attack, I can’t sit on the sidelines. That’s why I’m announcing today that I’m seriously considering entering the race to repeal and replace John Faso in 2018. I believe we need an energetic, passionate fighter who is from this district and shares the values and concerns of the people in this community to stand up against the radical and destructive Trump-Faso agenda."


Ben Amey

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