Archive (2009)

Massa Meets the D&C Editorial Board

Eric Massa met with the D&C editorial board this afternoon, and Jane Sutter lived to tell the tale.

Sutter says that Massa was pushing his "baby steps" view of healthcare reform, where a number of common-sense initiatives are passed piecemeal by Congress. Massa's also concerned about H1N1 now that kids are back to school.

Reed, Massa Get Grin

Today's Corning Leader is happy with the Reed/Massa campaign so far.

More Meeting News

The Corning Leader reports on Massa's town hall meetings.

The location of Massa's final town hall meeting has been moved:

Monday, August 31
5:30-7:30 PM
Horseheads Senior High School
401 Fletcher Street
Horseheads, NY 14845

Erin Go Bragh

Erin (pop. 2054) hosted another packed town hall meeting last night. The Star-Gazette story focuses on Massa's view that the bill won't pass and we'll get an individual set of reforms instead. WETM was there, too.

Evening News: Dairy and Healthcare Analysis

Billie Owens at the Batavian covers a hearing on Western New York dairy issues, held by Kirsten Gillibrand. Eric Massa made some comments there.

Here's something I hadn't seen before: a district-by-district analysis of the impact of HR 3200. In the 29th District [pdf], we'd have 39,000 more people with health insurance, $98 million less in uncompensated costs for hospitals, and 800 fewer healthcare-related bankruptcies.

Something Other Than Healthcare

Bob Clark at the Hornell Evening Tribune has a good story on short-line rail in the far Southern Tier, a topic that came up in Tuesday's press conference.

Another Packed Meeting

The D&C has a story and photos of Massa's Victor town hall meeting. The meeting started with over a thousand people, lasted four hours, and ended with 200 in attendance.

Sean Carroll at 13-WHAM has attended three meetings, including last night's, and he says that "while many disagree with some of his positions on proposed reform, every person I’ve asked at these meetings is appreciative of his willingness to stand in front of them."

News 10 focuses on some of the more outrageous statements:

At one point, someone took it too far for the Congressman and yelled about nuclear bombs.

"I would never ever stand before the American people and joke about dropping nuclear weapons," said Massa. "I'm sorry!"

DaveSyn at The Albany Project reports that, when Massa requested a moment of silence for Ted Kennedy, "The hall blew its top with boos, cat calls, and shouts of 'Mary Jo'."

Evening News: 1000 People

The D&C says that more than 1,000 people showed up at Massa's Victor meeting tonight.

The Star-Gazette has a story on today's Reed press conference that includes Massa's response.

The S-G also covers Massa's visit to a local valve manufacturer.

Reed Press Conference: On the Attack

Most of Tom Reed's conference call this morning was taken up by a discussion of deficits, but Reed made his most pointed attack during a discussion of Massa's town hall meetings. Reed said that he thinks town hall meetings are positive, and he strongly supports them. However, he said that, as a single-payer supporter, Massa went into those meetings with his mind made up. He said this is "disingenuous, misleading and highly arrogant."

I believe the leadership we would demonstrate to everyone is, look, I'm here, I'm listening. I will truly listen to what you have to say, and then I will come to a decision, and my decision will be something that I believe in, because I believe in the people that are giving me the information to come to that decision. So I applaud the Congressman in the sense that he's holding the town hall meetings [...] I as a Congressman would do that. [...] I would just hope that they're not a sham and a dog-and-pony-show, like Congressman Massa['s].

On the deficit, Reed said he was concerned that "we are literally bankrupting the United States for our children and grandchildren." He detailed the deficit amounts, and said that the projection that, by the end of the next decade, the national debt will be 75% of the US economy "scares" him. "You can't survive with that debt obligation hanging over your head."

Reed said he was willing to "make hard decisions". Recotta asked him which services and jobs he would could first. Reed said he'd take a "hard look" at entitlement programs, stimulus, and industry bailouts. On entitlements, he said that government had "failed miserably" as trustees for Social Security. Reed felt that "a promise made is a promise kept" in Social Security, but that we have to make some "hard choices" with regards to his generation (Reed is in his late 30's) and later generations.

In response to a question about how to keep cuts from being passed on to states and cities, Reed said that he favored an analysis of the passed on costs in every bill. He did allow that there were some legitimate roles for deficit spending, such as wars, specifically the First and Second World Wars.

Feeding the Beast

Last night's Massa town hall meeting in Farmington got big play in the Democrat and Chronicle and on 13-WHAM. Normally, any mention of Massa in Rochester media would be diluted by references to Lee, Slaughter and Maffei, but he's got center stage now because all of the other area Members of Congress aren't holding public meetings.

The Star-Gazette has a report on yesterday's Massa conference call.

News from Down South

I listened to the Massa press call today. Every reporter who asked a question was from the Southern Tier, except me. So, naturally, almost every topic discussed was directly related to the Southern Tier.

Bob Recotta from the Corning Leader asked a couple of questions about healthcare legislation. One was about co-ops, and Massa doesn't feel that he knows enough about the current Senate bill (which was just amended) to go into specifics, but he thinks that any co-op will need hundreds of thousands of participants to work. Massa also said that he wouldn't vote for the healthcare bill in hopes that it would be modified in conference. "I vote on what's written on a piece of paper."

Gary from WPIG radio ("Sizzlin' Country") in Olean, and Rick Miller from the Olean Times-Herald asked about disaster relief for that area. Other than another letter from Massa, Schumer and Higgins, there's nothing new to report. Rick asked if Massa thought the Obama administration was dragging its feet because of Massa's opposition to healthcare legislation. Massa said he'd be "stunned" if that was happening, and also noted that Schumer and Higgins have the same request as Massa.

In addition to a personal visit to Gowanda, where he found the athletic field "ankle deep in mud", Massa's also dispatched a staffer to talk to the superintendent there about the district needs.

Massa opened the call by noting that town hall meetings are his most visible activity, but he also tries to make in-district visits that are relevant to pending legislation. For example, HR 1132 continues some tax benefits for shortline railroads. Massa traveled on the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad with some local officials to better understand shortline railroads.

I asked Massa if he thought that there was less misinformation, such as questions about death panels, surfacing in his latest town halls. He said a "small minority" of constituents still ask about things like that, and refuse to believe him even after he reads from the bill.

Even so, "if I'm willing to the best of my ability to explain my position, most people are open to disagreeing with me in a civil [way] if they're going to disagree."

Massa Perinton Town Hall Moved

At today's Massa press conference, Eric Massa announced that tomorrow's town hall meeting, which was to occur outdoors in Perinton, has moved to Victor High School:

Wednesday, August 26th
5:30-7:30 PM
Victor High School Auditorium
953 High St.
Victor, NY 14564