During a meeting Friday with the Times Herald-Record’s editorial board, Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, touched on a variety of issues. For additional coverage from the meeting, go to recordonline.com. For video, go to recordonline.com/video.
Faso said that Obama-era guidance that protected transgender students’ rights to use bathrooms that corresponded with th
eir gender identity had been paused in the courts and probably would have been defeated. Faso said issues dealing with transgender rights and students should instead be handled with “generosity and delicacy” by local school officials.
“We’ve just generally over-federalized a lot of things in our country, I’m not sure that the bathroom policy with a local school district needs to be subject to a United States Justice department and Education department authority,” Faso said.
Asked whether Congress as a whole should extend rights to protect sexual identity, Faso said he was open to it if there was evidence states weren’t handling the issue appropriately.
“We should consider that,” Faso said.
With regard to the national debt, Faso said there’s a “cognitive dissonance” on the Trump administration’s statements that it will preserve Medicaid and Social Security funding, increase military spending and repair massive amounts of infrastructure all without raising taxes.
Faso said the Congressional Budget Office projects that in 10 years national debt would rise from $19 trillion to $29 trillion.
“You know what, that’s unacceptable,” Faso said.
Faso also addressed some of his recent votes in congress. Faso defended his vote to nix an Obama-era rule that would have limited those who have mental disabilities from buying guns
“This was a rare instance where the NRA and the ACLU agreed. They both opposed that rule,” Faso said.
The rule would have had the Social Security Administration report to the FBI’s background check system those who have disabilities.
Faso said the American Civil Liberties Union was against the rule because it shifted the burden to prove that a person was incapable of buying a gun off of the government onto the individual.
On the environment, Faso said hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas has produced a revolution in energy for the United States and, in New York, the switch to natural gas from coal has led to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. He said he supports “safety and a strict regulatory regime” on hydraulic fracturing but that a carbonless near-future wasn’t realistic.
“The notion that we can overnight shift from reliance on fossil fuels to all renewables is not a correct one,” Faso said.
Faso also defended his recent congressional vote throwing out an Obama-era rule that banned dumping coal mining debris into nearby streams. He said the rule was an last-minute overreach by the Obama administration and that he was convinced by arguments that states are effectively regulating coal development. He said the rule would have shut down mining operations that were far from streams.
“I think that the way that this has been portrayed by the left is grossly inaccurate,” Faso said
Defending his record on the environment, Faso also said he voted against repealing another Obama-era rule that would have reduced the burning off of methane into the atmosphere on public lands. The measure still passed.