Surprised just “how easy it is to be partisan,” Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) discussed Washington’s issues with the public at the 112th Precinct Community Council meeting on Feb. 20 at the NYPD’s Forest Hills stationhouse.
Newly inaugurated last month after two terms in the state Assembly, Meng said she has co-formed the Bipartisan Freshman Caucus in order to reach across the aisle to affect change.
“The American people are just sick and tired of blaming each other without getting anything done,” she said.
Meng also outlined other work she wants done.
She said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is charging 4 percent on loans to small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy, while individuals are charged 1 percent.
Calling small business the “backbone of our economy, especially here in Queens,” Meng said pending legislation is aimed at addressing the discrepancy.
She is also asking for religious institutions to be eligible for help from FEMA. Meng is on the House Small Business Committee.
Meng attempted to get similar legislation attached to the $60 billion federal aid package for Hurricane Sandy relief, but the measure did not make it to the final version of the bill that went to the floor in the House of Representatives.
Immigration reform is important to the Asian community that makes up 15 to 20 percent of her district. Meng would like the process made easier. But she also said that any reforms must take into account those legal immigrants who play by the rules but wait years to get citizenship.
The congresswoman said legislation to fund increased security measures for State Department personnel working overseas should come up in a few weeks. Meng is on the Foreign Affairs Committee and participated in hearings following the murders of Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three embassy personnel on Sept. 11 of last year.
Fielding questions from the public on issues both federal and local, she said Obamacare will start saving money in 2014 due to rooting out fraud from the public health programs.
Meng repeated a campaign talking point in a call for a subway to LaGuardia Airport, and said she opposed a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park “on principle” because of the land being taken away.