BUFFALO, N.Y. — Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, made it back to New York from Washington for a series of Friday press conferences.
However, earlier this week she tweeted things were not so easy from JFK on the way to the capitol. Two of her flight had been delayed.
The Senator is calling for an investigation into whether airlines are engaging in deceptive practices after the federal government doled out more than $50 billion to them in pandemic recovery funds.
"There's a lot of questions that I think people who have flown in the last six months have been asking and we should have a full investigation,” she said. “We gave them the resources to stay up and running and stay in business and keep their employees hired, but travel has become extremely dysfunctional over the last several months.”
Thursday, before returning home, Gillibrand blasted Republicans in the Senate for blocking legislation she sponsors that would ensure veterans with illnesses caused by toxic exposure to burn pits are covered by the VA. The bill had significant bipartisan support previously but during a procedural vote Thursday GOP senators raised issues about funding.
Gillibrand said it's too late to make major changes and hopes the bill will pass with the Senate when it's brought back to the floor next week.
"It's vital because these are men and women that are suffering horrible diseases and cancers because of their exposure to the toxins that were released at burn pits during the war on terror, and they're dying and they need health care and the VA keeps denying their health care," she said.
Congress did pass a bill this week allocating $280 billion toward domestic science and technology innovation, including the manufacturing of semiconductor chips. As Gillibrand and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, have pushed for Western New York and other parts of Upstate to become hubs for the industry, the senator said the next step is applying for the grants.
"I think they're prepared," she said. "I think the SUNY system has been prepared. We are at the forefront of nanotechnology and computer research and so we are in a very good position as a state to apply for these resources."