Tag Archives: charles e schumer

SCHUMER, WHO PETITIONED USDA TO CREATE GREEK YOGURT PILOT PROGRAM, ANNOUNCES NEW YORK STATE SELECTED AS PARTICIPANT IN PILOT PROGRAM STARTING SEPT. 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Meredith Kelly
July 8, 2013 202.224.7433

SCHUMER, WHO PETITIONED USDA TO CREATE GREEK YOGURT PILOT PROGRAM, ANNOUNCES NEW YORK STATE SELECTED AS PARTICIPANT IN PILOT PROGRAM STARTING SEPT. 2013

Schumer Petitioned For Program In June 2012 & Has Since Fought to Include Greek Yogurt in School Lunches NY Will Be One of Four States to Test Greek Yogurt on Menu Starting Sept. 2013

Senator is a Long-Time Advocate of New York Greek Yogurt & Dairy Industries; School Lunch Program Will Provide High-Nutrition Protein Option for Kids And Increase Demand for Greek Yogurt

Schumer: NY Schools Will Soon Say They’ve ‘Got Greek Yogurt’

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that New York State will be a participant in the USDA Greek Yogurt Pilot Program that Schumer originally petitioned the USDA to create in June 2012. The USDA has released a solicitation today, July 8th, to purchase Greek yogurt for delivery to participating schools in the upcoming School Year. According to the USDA, schools in four states, New York, Tennessee, Idaho, and Arizona will be participating in the program. Schumer noted that New York’s selection as a participant state is an excellent match; New York is home to some of the largest Greek yogurt and dairy producers. The Pilot Program is designed to test the cost-effectiveness of USDA purchasing Greek yogurt on behalf of schools operating the National School Lunch Program, and if deemed successful, could go nationwide.

Because yogurt is a highly perishable product, USDA is limiting the pilot at this time to these four states, which represent different regions of the country with varying proximity to yogurt manufacturers and will help test distribution through different warehousing models. The solicitation seeks both 4oz single serving containers of flavored yogurt as well as unflavored yogurt in 32oz containers to provide schools with a variety of ways of serving this product. USDA will evaluate the cost-effectiveness of its initial procurement by December 2013 to determine next steps for the pilot.

“Starting this school year, students across the state will be balancing New York-made Greek yogurt on their lunch trays. I am thrilled that New York schools will have a chance to participate in the first-ever Greek yogurt pilot program in September. Schools in New York, and the other three states participating in the pilot, will soon see that Greek yogurt is an affordable and nutritious high-protein option for their menus,” said Schumer. “I am proud to see this pilot plan reach this final step, because it’s a boon for New York yogurt and dairy industries, and it’s beneficial for the health of our kids.”

Schumer has long-fought to make New York the Greek yogurt capital of the United States, pushing for federal investments in production facilities and federal assistance to dairy farmers to increase milk production to meet the increased demand from Greek yogurt. New York companies Chobani, Fage, Alpina and Muller Quaker have all worked with Senator Schumer on advancing the popularity and availability of Greek yogurt in New York and across the country.

In January of 2013, Schumer announced that he successfully petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase the availability of New York-made Greek yogurt in school meal programs in New York State and potentially across the country. In a letter to Senator Schumer, the USDA committed to initiating a pilot program that is expected to increase the availability of Greek yogurt in schools across the country. Specifically, thanks to Schumer’s efforts, the USDA initiated this process, which will first increase school’s access to Greek Yogurt on a pilot basis.

The Farm Service Agency (FSA) then released a request for information (RFI) on January 31st to gather information from potential vendors. Respondents indicated capacity to produce such yogurt in a variety of pack sizes and flavors. Based on that data, FNS selected four states to participate in the pilot. States were permitted to order any quantity of high protein yogurt they desired for delivery from September to November 2013 within the balance of their USDA foods entitlement. The four states orders for this time period total 199,800 pounds of yogurt.

On Monday, July 8th, USDA issued a solicitation to vendors to supply the states’ orders. Bids are due on July 22 and FSA expects to evaluate the bids and make awards by the end of July. If it is found successful in the four states selected, this could become a permanent part of the foods that USDA offers to purchase for schools USDA Foods List for schools nationwide.

Schumer’s efforts to place Greek yogurt in more school cafeterias will provide a boon for the largely New York-based Greek yogurt industry, including companies like Chobani, Fage, Alpina, and the newly-opened Muller Quaker, and others throughout New York. In addition, because Greek yogurt requires more milk than regular yogurt, New York’s dairy farmers would also benefit from Senator Schumer’s plan.

Bazzo,07/08/13

SCHUMER COMPLETES 62 COUNTY TOUR FOR 13TH YEAR-IN-A-ROW WITH VISIT TO HOLLINGSWORTH & VOSE IN WASHINGTON COUNTY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Matt House

December 19, 2011 (202) 224-7433

SCHUMER COMPLETES 62 COUNTY TOUR FOR 13TH YEAR-IN-A-ROW WITH VISIT TO HOLLINGSWORTH & VOSE IN WASHINGTON COUNTY

While Pushing National Legislation, Schumer Continues To Follow Through On Pledge To Visit Every Single New York County Each Year

Many Achievements Include Senate Passage of China Currency Legislation; Banning Dangerous Bath Salts In New York, Delivering Over $200 Million in FEMA Aid After Tropical Storms, Creating Passengers Bill Of Rights For LIRR Riders; And Bringing Jobs Like Those At Buffalo’s Ford Stamping Plant To New York

Schumer Calls Tour Essential To His Work In Our Nation’s Capitol – Pledges To Complete Another 62-County Tour In 2012

With his visit to Hollingsworth and Vose in Washington County today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer completed his 62 County tour of New York for the thirteenth year-in-a-row – a feat that makes him the first New York state public official to visit every single county in New York every year he has been in office. Schumer today highlighted some of the year’s biggest accomplishments including Senate passage of his bill to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation, creating a passengers bill of rights for Long Island Rail Road passengers, banning dangerous bath salts in New York and pushing legislation to ban them across the country, delivering over $200 million in FEMA aid to New York following tropical storms Irene and Lee, and helping retain and create jobs in New York at locations including the Ford stamping plant in Buffalo.

Over the course of the year, Schumer made over 190 visits to Upstate New York and Long Island. He visited the Capital Region 19 times; the Southern Tier 14 times; Western New York 25 times; the Hudson Valley over 30 times; Long Island 46 times; the Rochester Finger Lakes Region 27 times; and Central New York 29 times.

“This year our state and our country continued to fight our way through a tough economy,” said Schumer. “Traveling across New York’s 62 counties each year reminds me that there isn’t a tougher state in the nation. The Empire State is full of hard-working people who have the right ideas when it comes to getting our economy moving again, and hearing from them sets the foundation for my work in Washington. I’m confident that next year will be a great year for New York, and I’m excited to kick off the 14th 62-county tour next month.”

Today Schumer’s office issued a report, attached to this release, detailing his achievements for the past year.

Some of the highlights include:

Established New LIRR Passenger Bill of Rights/Pledge: LIRR commuters were plagued with numerous service disruptions in 2011. In April, poorly scheduled Amtrak construction disrupted LIRR service for nearly three hours, leaving tens of thousands of commuters stranded on the first night of Passover. In October, after a debilitating lighting strike, LIRR service was delayed due to a human error that caused signal problems for all trains traveling east of Jamaica station. In this instance, seven trains were left idling between stations, causing some commuters to self-evacuate onto the tracks. Schumer called on the LIRR to create a commuters’ bill of rights. On the heels of Schumer’s request, the LIRR drafted a “pledge” to its commuters. The 8-point pledge promises to: respond quickly during a service outage, offer water on idling trains, implement a better communication system, let commuters off at stations if possible, and give commuters a time-frame of when the problem will be resolved.

Established $500,000 Seed Fund for Accelerate LI Jobs Program: Schumer convened a meeting in January between leaders from Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Hofstra University, North Shore Long Island Jewish Hospital Systems and Stony Brook University and urged the leaders to form a regional innovation cluster that would focus on commercializing technologies coming out of Long Island’s major research institutions. Partnering with the Long Island Association’s “Accelerate Long Island” organization, Schumer’s efforts led to the first-ever showcase of technologies from BNL, SBU, CSHL, North Shore LIJ and Hofstra University at two major events with local investors. Bridging the gap between technology patent holders and investors, which leads to the commercialization of Long Island technologies, spurs local job growth. Schumer also secured the establishment of a $500,000 emerging technologies “seed fund” by local investors Mark Fasciano of Canrock Ventures and David Calone of Jove Equity Partners. The fund is expected to grow to $1 million by 2012 and hopefully create more than a dozen companies. The fund was announced at a major event at the Cradle of Aviation in Museum, which showcased numerous plans from scientists involved in Accelerate Long Island, as well as other proposals.

Secured funding for Homes for Heroes: Homes for Heroes was in a short term lease with the Department of Health and Human Services in order to start construction on homes for veterans. Schumer helped to secure $1 million in investments to start building homes for homeless veterans throughout the Hudson Valley at former Camp Shanks.

Lobbied Pepsi CEO and Secured 1,200 jobs for 5 more years at Hudson Valley headquarters: Schumer continually pressed PepsiCo, Inc leadership to keep their headquarters inside the approximately 540,000 square foot facility in Somers. In March, PepsiCo, Inc. announced it would continue to locate their headquarters in Westchester for an additional five years. The decision means that the 1,200 jobs associated with the company’s headquarters will remain in the Hudson Valley, with great potential to attract even more jobs and economic opportunity.

Ensured upgrade to C-17 to bring new life to Stewart Air National Guard: This July, Stewart Air National Guard received its first of 8 expected C-17 cargo and troop transport aircraft to replace the Vietnam era C-5 Galaxy. Schumer pushed to have the new planes stationed in Newburgh. The new mission will keep Stewart International Airport and the Hudson Valley on the leading edge of airborne military technology and our national defense.

With Long-Standing Support, Secured DOE funding for SEMATCH and CNSE: Schumer’s push for UAlbany’s SEMATECH-CNSE application, the group has been awarded $57.5 million in federal grants from the Department of Energy (DOE). This funding will allow SEMATECH-CNSE to form a new photovoltaic manufacturing consortium with support from the Department of Energy’s Photovoltaic Manufacturing Initiative. With this federal funding, the partnership can massively increase the United States’ share of the photovoltaic technology and products market, and potentially create millions of jobs over the next decade.

Secured $58 million for Schenectady Station: Schumer’s personal appeal to transportation Secretary Ray LaHood ensured $58 million in high speed rail funding for the Empire Corridor, promoting projects that include replacing the Schenectady Station and constructing a fourth station track at the Albany-Rensselaer Station. These projects and others will go a long way towards improving reliability, speed and frequency there and throughout the Empire Corridor. Train travel is the superhighway of the future and thanks to Schumer’s efforts Upstate New York will have the essential infrastructure in place to support a robust and efficient high speed rail network. Schumer helped broker an arrangement between the Federal Rail Administration, Amtrak, CSX, and NYSDOT to obligate approximately $150 million in rail funding this September, benefitting projects across the state.

Secured $54 million for upgrades at Fort Drum: Senators Schumer and Gillibrand’s urging landed Fort Drum $54 million through the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. This funding will include more than $15 million for a soldier family care clinic for the Combat Aviation Brigade, $5 million for a dental clinic, nearly $6 million for ammunition supply storage, $7.5 million for a new chapel and $20 million for an aircraft maintenance hangar. As a result, this funding could create nearly 400 construction jobs in the area.

Secured pivotal $10 TIGER Grant for Connective Corridor: With substantial Schumer urging to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Syracuse University and City of Syracuse won a $10 million TIGER Grant for the Connective Corridor project, connecting the University to downtown Syracuse. This plan will revitalize the city and continue the work to build new sidewalks, benches, energy-efficient lighting and new lanes to limit the distance pedestrians must travel to cross between streets as they travel the corridor.

After years of urging, secured $8.9 million Army Contract for Remington: Schumer’s urging has opened the doors for $8.9 million from the U.S. Army for Remington Arms Company to manufacture 1,212 M24 Sniper rifles used by service members in Afghanistan. All of the production of the M24 sniper rifles will take place at Remington Arms’ Ilion facility by local employees, strengthening Remington’s position as a major regional employer.

Kept hundreds of jobs in Rochester; Windstream will move into the Midtown plaza facility: Windstream will occupy two thirds of the former Seneca Building that will be redeveloped under the agreement, creating an anchor in the Midtown Plaza site that should help attract other tenants and new businesses to the plaza. Windstream’s decision means that hundreds of PAETEC jobs will come to downtown Rochester, and comes after Schumer personally lobbied Mr. Gardner to make a major commitment to the Rochester region after the company announced its planned purchase of PAETEC. Windstream will also maintain a significant local presence at PAETEC’s Perinton facility.

Worked with TTB to cut red tape for New York Wineries: At Schumer’s request the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) pledged to work with NY wineries and develop a faster approval process to get wine on the shelves more quickly. The backlog in wine label approvals caused significant problems for NY wineries, like Anthony Road Winery and others across the Rochester Finger lakes region. TTB immediately began this process to approve not only regular labels but also custom labels for special events. TTB will no longer require separate approval for each custom label with amended graphics, which make up about 10% of all wine label applications from New York’s 300 wineries.

Fought to keep BAE in the Southern Tier after devastating storm: As a result of devastating flooding throughout the Southern Tier in September 2011, businesses, homes and infrastructure sustained crippling damage. BAE Systems, one of Broome County’s major employers, saw their manufacturing facility inundated with standing water destroying inventory, machinery and ultimately rendering the facility uninhabitable. Serious questions existed over whether the employer of over 1350 would remain in the area. Schumer went to bat working hand in hand with local economic development, and company heads. He secured an agreement from the U.S. Air Force, the owner of the facility, that BAE would not be held liable for any costs associated with the demolition of the former facility. This reduced the cost to BAE for relocating in the Southern Tier. He also secured a commitment from FEMA to work with the IDA for eligibility of Public Assistance under the disaster declaration. This ensures the financial obligations for securing the facility will not be born on the backs of the locals. As a result, BAE announced it will remain in the Southern Tier, saving over 1,350 jobs and the former site will not be a black eye on a community ravaged by floods.

Helped Secure Over $200 Million In Federal Air Following Tropical Storms: Since bringing high-ranking FEMA officials to Upstate New York following Tropical Storms Irene and Lee, the federal government has provided over $200 million in assistance to municipalities, homeowners, and business owners who suffered damage thanks to the storm. The funds were awarded through FEMA’s individual and public assistance programs, as well as through grants and loans awarded by the Small Business Administration.

Secured Commitment from Ford CEO to bring $136 million investment to stamping plant in Hamburg: Amidst major long-term planning negotiations between Ford and the UAW, Schumer lobbied Ford CEO Alan Mulally to re-invest in Ford’s Hamburg plant. With Ford planning on launching up to seven new lines of Lincoln vehicles, Schumer urged Mulally to bring that business to the Hamburg plant. Following Schumer’s push, a new UAW contract was agreed upon in October and along with it came a pledge from Ford to invest $136 million and add over 400 new jobs to the Hamburg plant. Along with promising to continue stamping operations for several Ford and Lincoln crossover models, a new blanking line, which cuts the sheet metal that is used for stamping, is to be added. The blanking line had been removed several years before. Its return demonstrates Ford’s commitment to the Hamburg plant, and along with GM’s continued investment in its Tonawanda plant, ensures that Western New York continues to be an auto-manufacturing hub. Schumer will continue efforts to bring auto industry investment to the area.

Led the charge to secure $15 million TIGER Grant to fund Cars on Main Street project in Buffalo: In November 2011, Schumer wrote to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging him to approve a Department of Transportation TIGER Grant for Buffalo’s Cars on Main Street Project. The Department announced in December that the project was selected to receive a grant of $15 million. This investment will allow the City of Buffalo to continue to move forward with the Main Street Multi-Modal Access and Revitalization Project, which will spur investment and growth in Buffalo’s downtown area by upgrading transit and pedestrian amenities and improving access to Main Street buildings. Schumer will continue efforts to secure federal funding for this important project.

Bazzo 12/20/11

SCHUMER WARNS OF NEW GIFT CARD SCAM THAT COULD LEAVE RECIPIENT WITH ZERO BALANCE WHEN THEY GET THEIR GIFT CARD AS PRESENT ON CHRISTMAS MORNING; CALLS ON RETAILERS AND CUSTOMERS TO ACT QUICKLY TO PREVENT BEING SCAMMED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Matt House

December 18, 2011 202-360-8132

SCHUMER WARNS OF NEW GIFT CARD SCAM THAT COULD LEAVE RECIPIENT WITH ZERO BALANCE WHEN THEY GET THEIR GIFT CARD AS PRESENT ON CHRISTMAS MORNING; CALLS ON RETAILERS AND CUSTOMERS TO ACT QUICKLY TO PREVENT BEING SCAMMED

Gift Card Scams Could Leave Recipients with Zero Balance by the Time They Receive their Presents on Christmas Morning; Calls on Retailers to Display Cards in More Secure Locations to Protect Consumers from Scammers

Gift Cards, When Left Exposed on Shelves, Can Easily Have Their Account Numbers and Access Codes Lifted — Scammers Armed With Information Can Deplete Gift Card Long Before Recipient Tries to Use It

Schumer Urges Consumers to Be On The Look-Out for Gift Cards That Have Been Tampered With

United States Senator Charles E. Schumer warned Christmas shoppers today to be aware of gift card scams that could result in the cards having zero balances on them by the time they are opened on Christmas morning. Gift cards for dozens upon dozens of retailers are now readily available for purchase at drug and convenience stores and displayed on easily accessible shelves, making account information on the back of the cards available to would be scammers. Scammers are able to obtain account information from the back of cards, wait for the cards to be activated upon purchase, and then use them online before the intended recipient ever gets the gift card on Christmas morning. Schumer is warning last minute Christmas shoppers to pay particular attention to any tampering of gift cards and asking retailers to consider displaying gift cards in more secure locations or behind the counter.

“Gift cards are wildly popular gift options and stocking stuffers for Christmas,” said Schumer. “The last thing we want is for someone on Christmas morning to be excited about their gift only to find out days later that some scammer has already used the card, leaving you with a worthless piece of plastic. The bottom line is we need to better protect gift cards for consumers, because the system all too many stores use now is a free buffet for scammers and crooks that can leave unsuspecting victims with a valueless piece of plastic by Christmas Day.”

Schumer noted that with the growing availability and accessibility of retail gift cards at drug and convenience stores, scammers have identified ways of stealing account information from the back of cards in order to use the card long before the recipient opens the gift on Christmas morning or has an opportunity to use it at the store.

Each card has an account number on the back of it, which allows consumers to use the cards online when they are shopping. In addition to the account number, many cards have small access codes or pin numbers that consumers must enter when they shop online. In most cases, account numbers themselves are exposed when cards are on the shelf, while access codes and pin numbers are concealed with a scratch-off film. While some gift cards are fully packaged in cardboard and must be torn to gain access to the card, most allow easy access to the reverse side of the card allowing scammers to copy the account number and scratch-off access codes.

Once the card is legitimately purchased by a consumer, and activated at the register at the point of sale, scammers can use the account information they previously obtained from the store shelf and make purchases online, wiping out the balance. Scammers simply wait for the gift card to be legitimately purchased, and by periodically trying to use the card online, they can figure out when it’s been activated for use. Because most cards are bought as gifts and not opened or used until after Christmas, consumers are unaware their card has a zero balance until after they try and redeem it, sometimes weeks after the holidays.

While retailers use scratch-off film to conceal the access code and some package the card in cardboard, most consumers never check the back of a gift card before they decide to purchase one. Schumer noted that there is no uniform packaging for gift cards so it is important for consumers to inspect the card before they purchase it. For example, GAP, Banana Republic, and Old Navy simply affix gift cards to a small cardboard backing with a rubber adhesive, allowing easy access to the account number and access code window on the back, without having to tear packaging. iTunes gift cards have no packaging at all and while they have no access code or pin numbers, they conceal the account number with a scratch-off film. Best Buy gift cards are fully packaged in cardboard, but have an open window on the back that displays the account number. In order to obtain the pin number, the packaging must be opened at the bottom of the card.

Schumer is urging shoppers this holiday season to carefully inspect the packaging and security features of the gift cards before they purchase them. He noted most consumers never bother to inspect the back of a gift card before they purchase it. He also called on the National Retail Federation and Retail Gift Card Association to consider greater security measures to protect cards from scammers and tampering, like selling the cards behind the counter, or in casings that don’t allow easy access.

TowerGroup, a major research firm focused on financial services estimates that gift card transactions in 2011 will top $100 billion and will grow another 25% by 2014. Gift cards have rapidly grown in popularity as a less informal gift than cash, but giving recipients the flexibility of choosing a gift that is best for them. According to the National Retailer Association, 57% of people surveyed said they would like to receive a gift card this holiday season.

“Christmas is a time for giving, but unfortunately there are too many individuals this holiday season who are interested in taking,” continued Schumer. “Consumers should keep a watchful eye on the gift cards they are purchasing to ensure they haven’t been tampered with and retailers should work to make gift cards more secure from potential scammers.”

A copy of Schumer’s letter to the National Retail Federation and Retail Gift Card Association can be found below.

December 18, 2011

Matthew Shay

President and CEO

National Retail Federation

325 7th Street, NW Suite 1100

Washington, DC 20004

Rebekka Rea

President and Executive Director

Retail Gift Card Association

9200 S. Dadeland Ave., Ste. 705

Miami Florida 33156

Dear Mr. Shay and Ms. Rea:

I write today to bring your attention to a disturbing phenomenon this holiday season that is threatening to harm American consumers—gift card theft and fraud.

Recent news stories have reported that there is a disturbing trend of gift-card theft where thieves go to stores such as Duane Reade, CVS, etc., and either electronically swipe or write down exposed gift card numbers, monitor them online and, when activated, quickly access and drain the card before the owner becomes aware of it.

Once the owner reports that his or her card value has been stolen, there is often nothing that can be done to restore the lost value of the owner’s card. This type of theft is an incredibly disheartening experience for both the purchaser and the recipient of a gift card—and can ruin joyous occasions such as holidays, birthdays, weddings, and graduations.

Fortunately, there are measures retailers and card-makers can immediately take to dramatically lessen the chance for this type of fraud to occur. For instance, retailers can sell these cards behind the counter, or behind secure glass dispensers, so that would-be-thieves are less likely to have access to these cards. In addition, cards can be better protected and packaged so that individuals can only access the card numbers after they have been properly purchased. In addition, retailers can do a better job of warning consumers to examine gift cards for tampering prior to purchase.

I respectfully ask each of you to instruct your members to take the steps necessary to eliminate this type of gift card fraud. Retailers who sell gift cards should take any and all security measures necessary to prevent the general public from stealing gift card numbers. By the same token, card-makers should develop systems and packaging methods to make gift cards less susceptible to theft by making the cards more difficult to access before they are lawfully purchased.

I thank you for your attention to this important matter, and look forward to working with you to protect the value of gift cards purchased by American consumers.

Bazzo 12/19/11