State Senate Democratic Leader Malcolm A. Smith (D-St. Albans) today will accompany members of his Conference and several of his senior staff on a two-day visit to Washington D.C. where the Senators are scheduled to meet with Congressional leaders to promote a New York agenda.
The Senators will focus on three critical policy areas, calling for additional Homeland Security investments, measures to protect homeowners from predatory lending practices and a Congressional override of President Bush's decision to veto the reauthorization of SCHIP (State Children's Health Insurance Program), a joint federal-state health care insurance program.
"The Bush administration's veto of SCHIP legislation flies in the face of bipartisan efforts to provide greater access to children's health insurance coverage," Smith said, noting that SCHIP subsidies are critical to attaining a bipartisan State Budget goal of universal children's health care by extending insurance coverage to the 400,000 kids in New York who currently lack it.
"So much of what take place in Washington D.C. has a direct impact on our state," said Senator Jose M. Serrano, who is a designated liaison between the Senate Democratic conference and the federal government. "We must do all we can to ensure that New Yorkers are afforded the rights and privileges they are due from the federal government."
The Senators' lobbying efforts will be led by members of the Conference who have expertise in each of these three issue areas.
State Senate Deputy Democratic Leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester), the Ranking Democrat on the Senate's Ethics Committee, will spearhead predatory lending reform outreach.
Senator Eric Adams (D-Brooklyn), the Ranking Democrat on the Senate's Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, will lead Homeland Security discussions.
Senator John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), the Ranking Democrat on the Senate's Health Committee, will head SCHIP advocacy.