Reed Leads Senate Democrats, Rep. Duckworth in Calling for Stronger Consumer Protections for Military Families
Senators Reed was joined by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and a number of Senate Democrats in calling for additional tools to better protect members of the military and their families from abusive financial practices. The group also discussed their new Military Consumer Protection Act legislation.
The Military Consumer Protection Act, introduced in the Senate by Reed and Schumer and in the House by Rep. Duckworth, would empower the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to oversee and enforce compliance with certain existing provisions of the Service Member Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which was designed to ease financial burdens on service members during periods of military service. Despite these SCRA protections, which Congress enacted to enable service members to “devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the Nation,” enforcement of this critical law has been found to be inconsistent and subject to the discretion of financial regulators.
The Military Consumer Protection Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and supported by a range of organizations representing the interests of service members and their families, including: the Consumer Federation of America; the National Guard Association of the United States; the National Association of Consumer Advocates; the National Military Family Association; the Military Officers Association of America; and U.S. PIRG.
Sometimes the meals children receive at school are the only guaranteed meals they get each day. And with schools on summer vacation, U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Governor Gina M. Raimondo and First Gentleman Andy Moffit, the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, and others are teaming up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure every child has access to healthy food over their summer break.
This year they are partnering with non-profits, community organizations, and volunteers to offer the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at over 200 sites across Rhode Island and hope to serve more than 300,000 meals to hungry kids in need.
The federal Summer Food Service Program is open to any child 18 years of age and younger, and gives them the opportunity to enjoy free, nutritious meals and snacks for most of the summer. The program is administered by the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) in conjunction with community partners throughout the state, such as the Providence Department of Parks + Recreation and the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, and operates Mondays through Fridays in most locations, with some sites offering weekend options as well.
Senator Reed was joined by Senator Whitehouse, Amy Grzybowski, Acting Town Manager for the Town of Westerly, and other officials to celebrate the completion of the Westerly Town Beach Pavilion rehabilitation project.
Wind and wave impacts from Hurricane Sandy substantially damaged Westerly’s Old Town Beach Pavilion in 2012, including the complete destruction of the septic system. Reed, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in securing $1.35 million in federal funds to rebuild the pavilion in the aftermath of the storm.
The rehabilitation of the Old Town Beach Pavilion included elevating the structure approximately four feet, installing a new onsite wastewater treatment system, reconstructing the stairways and ramps to accommodate the elevation change and relocation of the building, and upgrading the roof and windows to withstand 120mph winds.
Following Hurricane Sandy, Reed together with the federal delegation worked to provide over $100 million for Rhode Island’s recovery efforts, including $20 million through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery program.
Senator Reed was joined by Governor Gina Raimondo, members of the Congressional Delegation, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) and Amtrak to kick off a high-speed rail project at the Kingston Railway Station that will have long-term benefits for transit in Rhode Island and throughout the Northeast Corridor.
Through a $41 million project, crews will build an additional 1.5 miles of track near Kingston Station. These improvements will enable the high-speed Amtrak Acela trains to bypass regional trains and aid future development of commuter rail in South County.
The work is supported through $26.2 million in federal funds dedicated through the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program. Rhode Island was one of 15 states awarded a competitive grant in 2011, and was the only state to receive awards for two projects on the Northeast Corridor main line, the other being for the development of a long range plan at the Providence Station.
Senator Reed attended an award ceremony honoring Cheryl Zimmerman, President and CEO of FarSounder Inc. of Warwick, for receiving the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2015 Tibbetts Award, recognizing the company’s “exemplary role in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs (STTR).” FarSounder Inc. is the first Rhode Island winner of the Tibbetts Award.
SBA Associate Administrator for Field Operations Rob Hill and SBA New England Regional Administrator Seth Goodall represented the federal agency at the ceremony.
FarSounder Inc. is one of 23 companies nationwide honored with this year’s Tibbetts Award for being “beacons of promise and models of excellence in advanced technology.”
Tibbetts award winners are selected based on the economic impact of their technological innovation.
Senator Reed joined Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebian, city and state leaders, and representatives from the Pawtucket Riverfront Commission, the Pawtucket Foundation, and Slater Mill to celebrate the completion of the Pawtucket Riverwall Project and the opening of a new city bike path with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
As a result of widespread flooding in Rhode Island in April 2010, the riverwall behind City Hall was seriously damaged. The wall, which protects both City Hall and the historic Slater Mill, required extensive repairs that were funded in large part by federal funding from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program and the National Resource Conservation Service.
In the last three years alone, Reed, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has help to secure nearly $20 million in federal CDBG-DR funds for Rhode Island, designed to aid long-term recovery efforts and support a variety of infrastructure projects, including housing, economic development, and flood prevention.
The new bike path will connect to an existing bike path in Providence, offering an improved link between the cities.
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