Growing up in Westchester with a younger brother with special needs, and as the grandchild of Holocaust survivors who arrived in America as refugees, Adam Schleifer has had a lifelong commitment to fighting for social justice and a more inclusive America. In Congress, Adam will fight to ensure that every person gets a fair opportunity to pursue their version of the American Dream.
What are you doing as a candidate to protect our community?
We’ve suspended our in-person campaign activities and are working from home until science and our leaders say it’s safe. We are also working with nonprofits and others in government so that those most at risk are getting the support they need.
If you were in Congress right now, what would your top priorities be?
The White House must learn from its mistakes, so we are ready next time for whatever nature throws at us. The entire federal government should be putting our health and jobs first by ensuring that personal protective equipment (PPE) gets into the hands of those who need it most, directing additional stimulus funds focused on preventing layoffs and keeping our businesses and workers afloat, and requiring industries getting bailouts – like the airlines – to commit those funds to treating customers and employees better when this is over.
What would you do to help frontline workers?
Our health care providers are heroes. We must promise each of them – doctors, nurses, technicians, etc. – that if they fall ill, they will get access to all the treatment they need.
What should happen to people who speak out about health care risks?
We must protect whistleblowers and truth tellers – whether it’s at our local hospital or the captain of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier.
The status quo is not an option. Police reform is a necessity to protect Black Americans and bring greater community cohesion to our country. One of Adam’s top priorities in Congress will be to pass legislation that defines abuses when law enforcement act under the color of law and holds bad actors accountable.
As a former federal prosecutor, Schleifer understands, as President Obama recently noted, that the focus of police reform must be at the state and local level, but his plan empowers the federal government to play a greater role in reining in excess force and reducing police brutality against people of color.
Schleifer’s plan consists of a combination of criminal legislation and incentives to reduce violence and strengthen police-community relations. The plan focuses on three core tenets: (1) holding officers more accountable for unnecessary violence through an accurate federal database of police-involved deaths; (2) restricting the use of harmful policing tactics and weaponry; and (3) targeting funding to research and scale effective implicit-bias trainings.
- Schleifer’s proposed legislation defines police abuses and would hold rogue officers accountable for unnecessary violence. His legislation lowers the barriers to investigate and prosecute police officers for misconduct. Currently, federal law provides “qualified immunity” to government officials, including law enforcement officials, which protects them from being sued for actions performed within their official capacity. The law of qualified immunity has mutated into an unworkable, unfair, and counterintuitive set of barriers that denies justice in some cases even when courts conclude a violation has occurred. Schleifer would sponsor legislation overriding this doctrine and replacing it with workable, fair, and clear standards for liability that promote clarity, justice, and safety. Additionally, Schleifer will call on the DOJ to enumerate harmful restraints outside of acceptable police practice that could trigger civil or criminal liability.
- Adam will pass legislation that defines police crimes and establishes a national database through the Department of Justice to track these crimes and police disciplinary history so that law enforcement agencies can sufficiently vet applications for new officers, regardless of where they may have previously served.
- Fund new research and training programs to reduce police-related killings of unarmed persons. Schleifer would target federal funding to study and scale the most effective implicit bias training programs and tools available to law enforcement. Schleifer notes that while a number of implicit bias trainings are offered nationally to increase an officer’s awareness of their own racial biases, few of these have been rigorously tested for their overall efficacy. Schleifer would incentivize law enforcement to take up these programs if they did not already by tying it to federal funding for other programs, like for body-worn cameras.
We each have the right to live on a healthy, habitable planet. But that basic right is under assault. Adam will fight back.
As a federal prosecutor, Adam protected our environment by prosecuting environmental crimes. And as an engaged citizen, he supported initiatives to restore respect for science in our federal government and promoted innovative policy ideas to save our planet.
- Restore the EPA and the federal government’s respect for science while protecting our air, water, and all natural resources through strong congressional oversight.
- Pass legislation implementing a progressive carbon tax upon the fossil fuel companies and the other largest emitters of greenhouse gases, so that those corporations pay for their damaging emissions.
- Create green new jobs and boost the economy by investing federal funds and creating tax incentives for green technology.
- Develop a national service program including a Green Infrastructure Corps that matches years of service with years of subsequent free vocational training or higher education.
In America, health care should be a fundamental right. We must ensure that every American has access to quality, affordable, and preventative health care.
Create a strong public health insurance option that permits people to buy into Medicare. This public option will reduce costs while competing with the private insurance market so that no American goes broke because they get sick, and no one is denied access to lifesaving treatments because an insurance company is trying to squeeze more profits.
Bring down drug prescription costs by:
Expanding Medicare’s current ability to negotiate drug prices with drug companies and require those companies to offer the newly-negotiated rates to other private and public plans as well.
Capping out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries as well as those on our proposed public option program.
Holding bad actors who price gouge accountable by requiring rebates if drug prices increase faster than the pace of inflation.
Penalizing companies who try to game the patent system by delaying their competitors from producing cheaper generic drugs.
Eliminating abuse by prescription benefits managers who inflate drug prices and increase pricing transparency, which should encourage the reduction of list prices and the elimination, over time, of the “middlemen” that distort pricing.
Regulate insurance companies so that preventative care and critical services, including mental health, and reproductive and fertility services are available rather than excluded.
For far too long, our country has suffered from senseless gun violence. As a federal prosecutor and a near victim of gun violence in a school himself, Adam aggressively worked to take guns out of the hands of violent criminals. In Washington, Adam will push for commonsense gun legislation to protect our children and teachers and ensure the safety of every neighborhood in America.
- Universal background checks, because we should be at least as careful about who wields a firearm as we are about who drives a car. Current loopholes in federal law allow former criminals, domestic abusers, and people prohibited for mental health reasons to access guns from unlicensed sellers. With the support of more than 90 percent of Americans, implementing universal background checks is arguably the lowest hanging fruit of gun legislation.
- A ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. In civil society, no one needs a weapon of war. In 1994, the U.S. Congress passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which made it “unlawful for a person to manufacture, transfer, or possess” a semiautomatic assault weapon. The law expired a decade later, but in that time, research found a significant reduction in gun violence attributable to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
- Enact “red-flag laws” that permit authorities to remove guns from those who are not currently fit, due to mental illness or other instability, to possess those weapons safely. Today, 19 states have their own versions of red flag laws, including New York, which passed its legislation in 2019 under the leadership of Governor Cuomo. However, a state-by-state approach to passing red-flag laws is not sufficient. To be successful, it will require federal legislation that applies to all states equally.
- Regulate so-called “ghost guns,” or guns made by individuals using kits or 3D printers. These guns are particularly dangerous because they are untraceable and anyone, including those prohibited from owning weapons, can make them with ease. Indeed, as a federal prosecutor, at times I was left powerless to prosecute the possession of dangerous assault weapons from those who made them at home. Neither the bullets nor their victims care whether a dangerous weapon was made in a bedroom or a factory located across state lines, so we must close this glaring loophole.
- Hold gun manufacturers accountable for their contribution to the problem, and ensure they no longer are able to assemble life-destroying weapons with impunity. Current law protects manufacturers from being held civilly liable for their products, a protection that is unique to the gun industry. This protection must end.
Roe v. Wade is under attack. Adam’s aunt and sister-in-law are both OB-GYNs who have worked tirelessly on behalf of women’s reproductive health. Adam is committed to protecting the constitutional rights of all women in Rockland and Westchester Counties, including the unequivocal right to reproductive health, abortion, and privacy.
Reproductive rights for all women are human rights. Adam will fight to ensure everyone, regardless of gender, is afforded the opportunity to pursue meaningful careers and get equal pay for equal work, while getting the support we all need while raising families and caring for loved ones.
- Protect Roe v. Wade and ensure government creates no undue burdens on the right to choose, including, if necessary, by sponsoring federal legislation in the event that right to privacy is undermined in the courts.
- Repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits the use of Medicaid for almost all abortions. Schleifer will stand against any measures that would put low-income women at risk or interfere with her right to choose. Given that Medicaid provides coverage to 1 in 5 women of reproductive age (15-44), creating equal access to safe and affordable reproductive care is vital to Adam’s comprehensive plan.
- Fully funding Planned Parenthood, our nation’s publicly funded family planning program that serves 40 percent of the 4 million individuals who rely on Title X health centers. If elected, Schleifer would support legislation that repeals the rule permanently to reestablish Planned Parenthood health centers, including the ones in White Plains and Spring Valley, as grantees of the program. He would also increase funding for Title X so that women across all backgrounds can have access to crucial and quality essential healthcare.
- Adam’s proposed public health insurance option will include coverage for critical reproductive services, including intrauterine devices (IUDs) and other necessary forms of contraception. He will similarly fight for private insurers to fully cover these services as well.
In addition to protecting reproductive rights, Schleifer’s plan also aims at giving women more agency and flexibility as they build their careers and start families.
- Increase funding for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, to eliminate discrimination against women applicants and employees.
- Sponsor legislation requiring employers to provide paid parental leave for at least twelve weeks.
- Push private insurers to cover fertility services so that the millions of people in this country seeking to have children are not routinely deprived of this basic aspect of medical care.
After losing the popular vote in 2016, President Trump created a massive giveaway for wealthy corporations and sought to punish those who did not support him by introducing a federal cap on state and local tax (“SALT”) deductions. Trump’s unfair, unsustainable, and fiscally irresponsible tax bill disproportionately impacts the residents of Rockland and Westchester counties.
If elected to Congress, Schleifer will introduce legislation to support homeowners by removing the cap on state and local tax (“SALT”) deductions; undo Trump’s unfair and unsustainable rate cuts for the wealthiest earners; and revise capital gains tax treatment so that those earning the most pay higher, not lower, rates than the middle class.
- Undo the entirety of President Trump’s tax plan. Schleifer notes that the Trump tax cuts hurt the economy. Corporate tax revenues declined 31 percent in the first year after the law went into effect. Overall tax revenues have declined as a share of the economy in each of the two years since the tax cut took effect. The tax cuts have not paid for themselves through economic growth, as the Trump Administration claimed would happen. The economy only grew 2.9 percent the year after the law went into effect, which was the same growth the economy experienced in 2015, prior to the 2017 tax cut. The United States’ federal budget deficit increased to $779 billion in fiscal 2018, up 17 percent from the year before.
- Continue Congresswoman Lowey’s fight to repeal the $10,000 cap on state and local tax (“SALT”) deductions. The cap on SALT deductions disproportionately harms New Yorkers broadly, and people in the district particularly. Before the cap was put in effect, fewer than 20 percent of households making under $50,000 claimed the deduction, but more than 90 percent of households making $200,000 or more claimed it. Because Westchester and Rockland residents pay relatively high taxes, nearly 50 percent of voters in NY 17 claimed the deduction in 2016, ranking as the 16th-highest district in terms of the percentage of filers who claimed a SALT deduction. The SALT repeal has increased the tax burden paid by the average New Yorker by over $2,500 per year.
- Return marginal tax rates for the highest earners to prior rates. The Trump tax plan has largely benefited the wealthiest Americans at everyone else’s expense. As a result of the legislation, more than 60 percent of the tax savings went to people in the top 20 percent of the income bracket. Schleifer’s plan would repeal the Trump tax breaks that unfairly benefit the wealthiest of Americans, restore tax rates to their prior levels, and create two new tax brackets for high-income earners. These brackets would include a 40 percent marginal tax rate on those making over $1 million in a year and a 42 percent marginal rate on Americans making over $2 million in a year. Schleifer notes that Americans do not feel that they have benefited from Trump tax cuts generally. A recent poll found only about 40 percent of Americans approved of the cut while 49 percent disapproved. Unsurprisingly, the Economic Policy Institute estimated that the bill increased the average worker’s wages by only about 2 cents per hour.
Schleifer will eliminate preferential capital gains tax treatment for individuals earning above $1 million in capital gains earnings in a given year. Though any American who sells a capital asset is subject to the capital gains tax, the wealthiest households are the most subject. In 2016, individuals in the top 1 percent received about 22 percent of their income from capital gains compared to less than 1 percent of income for individuals in the bottom 80th percentile. Cuts to and preferential treatment for the capital gains tax rate benefit these wealthier individuals the most. The Trump Administration has suggested that it may push to peg the capital gains tax rate to inflation, and Trump has claimed that he could do so unilaterally with a letter from the Attorney General. The majority of the benefits from indexing capital gains would go to the top 1 percent of earners.
Schleifer will repeal the Trump corporate tax rates. The Trump tax cuts dramatically lowered the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, caving in to corporate lobbyists who found a big business ally in the president. However, despite the president and congressional Republicans’ promise that such cuts would lead to greater business investment and higher taxable revenues, the Wall Street Journal suggests that companies have not widely passed their tax savings to their employees. One poll of 1,500 companies found that only 4 percent used their tax savings to hire more employees or increase salaries. An analysis of 145 publicly-traded companies showed only 6 percent of tax savings were going to workers, while 56 percent went to shareholders.
For years, Adam stood up to bullies, fraudsters, and cheats as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. He prosecuted those who thought they could take advantage of hardworking, honest Americans. Nobody is above the law, which is why we need one set of rules for everyone, including, and especially, the current president, who has used his office for corrupt personal gain.
- In Congress, continue the fight and take on Donald Trump, and stand up to anyone who thinks they are above the law.
- Participate vigorously in House oversight efforts over the executive branch.
- Support reforms to reduce the influence of money in politics so that the ideas, experience, and integrity of office seekers matter more than the money raised through corporate PACs and other vehicles.
On the eve of the 30th anniversary of the American Disability Act (ADA), Adam P. Schleifer, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in New York’s 17th District, announced his plan to promote economic opportunity, inclusion, and justice for persons with disabilities throughout Rockland and Westchester Counties. Schleifer’s plan enumerates challenges that the disability community has faced for years — including in federal income benefits, health care, education, civil rights, and public infrastructure — and offers concrete and meaningful solutions to overcome them.
Adam would raise monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) monthly benefits for recipients.
Adam would propose eliminating the savings cap on SSI recipients, giving them more flexibility to save for necessary expenses while worrying less about losing benefits.
Adam will raise the monthly earnings threshold of $1,260 for non-blind individuals and phase out benefits at a fair rate when earnings exceed this threshold.
Adam would offer incentives for businesses to hire employees with disabilities and support funding for sensitivity and educational training for employers and neurotypical employees in the workplace.
Adam would repeal waiting periods that delay payments and health insurance to newly eligible SSDI recipients.
Adam’s plan calls upon private insurance companies to provide sufficient mental health services.
Adam would support temporarily raising the federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP) by 12 percentage points, as proposed in former Vice President’s Joe Biden’s plan, so that states have the necessary resources to fund critical health insurance programs like Medicaid.
Adam would fight for students with disabilities by pushing for greater enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a law that requires districts to provide adequate services to students with disabilities to succeed in school.
Adam calls for ending corporal punishment, restraint, and seclusion in schools
Adam calls upon the president to revive the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and its important role in enforcing civil rights protections in our schools.
Adam would enforce the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Olmstead v. L.C. Supreme Court decision, which said people with disabilities have the right to live in their communities and cannot be segregated because of their disabilities.
Adam would increase funding for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to eliminate discrimination against job applicants and employees with disabilities.
Adam calls for greater investments in critical infrastructure to comply with ADA regulations and make schools, public housing, transit systems, and other infrastructure more accessible to people with disabilities.
Adam is a strong advocate for public education. He is a product of Westchester County public schools and will be a champion for teachers and students in Congress. Schleifer calls for deep investments in low-income schools, greater federal civil rights oversight for students, and new laws to protect students from harm.
- Adam would increase Title 1 funding to close achievement gaps between high-income and low-income school districts. This funding would be used to raise teacher salaries and augment intensive tutoring services in high-need schools.
- Adam would create new funding for Health and Enrichment Grants to cover additional support personnel like guidance counselors, school nurses, and mental health psychologists and expand special programming like art, music, and coding classes and after-school extracurricular opportunities.
- Adam would enforce civil rights for all students.
- He would call upon the president to revive the U.S. Department of Education‘s Office of Civil Rights and its important role of enforcing civil rights protections in our schools.
- He would push for greater enforcement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) Act, a law that requires school districts to provide adequate services to disabled students to succeed in school.
- And, he would provide funding to curb bullying and other forms of harassment so that no student, especially LGBTQ+ students, feels unsafe or unwelcome in their school.Adam would support implementing universal pre-K for all 3- and 4-year old students.
- Adam would create a national service program where people who committed to two or four years of national service received tuition-free education commensurate with their service.
- Adam calls for an unconditional ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines that have been used in mass shootings as well as stronger regulations of gun sales, including universal background checks.
- Adam would support increased investments in school infrastructure to ensure safe learning conditions for all students.
Grandson of Holocaust Survivors; Proud Supporter of Israel and Deep Commitment to Tikkun Olam
I am the proud grandchild of refugees who came to American in 1947 as Holocaust-survivors from Poland. My beloved grandfather, who lived in our home, educated me deeply in the horrors that antisemitism visited upon his life and our family. By his example, he also showed me how hard work, dignity, and a life of lovingkindness and tikkun olam best says “am Yisroel chai” to those like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Iranian regime who seek the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people.
I have spent extensive time in Israel, living there one summer as a teenager, and then studying there again ten years later (in 2008). From my months living there, my experiences forming friendships with Israelis and Palestinians, and my many Israeli family members, I have also developed a special appreciation for Israel; its citizens; its society; its role as a haven and refugee for Jews worldwide; precariousness; and its special role as the lone democracy in the middle east.
I have also been an enthusiastic supporter of the Jewish philanthropic and community causes. My mother is a Jewish community leader, philanthropist, and the current President of the American Jewish Committee (“AJC”). Along with her important work for the special-needs community (my brother, David, is a young man with special needs) my mother’s example has been a lifelong inspiration for my own Jewish activism and philanthropy.
Mutual Strategic Importance of US-Israel Relationship
As the lone rule-of-law democracy and high-functioning, technologically- innovative society in the Middle East, Israel shares with the United States common strategic interests and threats. We must reemphasize that the U.S.-Israel relationship brings important strategic benefits to the United States, because the bilateral U.S.-Israel relationship generates mutual value through critical defense initiatives including the Iron Dome and David’s Sling, as well as R&D and technology transfers across industries ranging from information technology, to energy, to water-management, just to name a few.
A strong relationship with Israel therefore redounds clearly to the benefit of the United States, and it is the responsibility of all responsible policymakers to make these basic facts clear and to extricate this beneficial, bilateral relationship from the current cloud of partisan misunderstandings. For these reasons, we must continue our commitment to authorization and appropriation of United States aid to Israel which, as noted, generates mutual benefits both countries. Put another way, the United States generates a substantial return on investment (“ROI”) from its aid to Israel, and that aid should continue without partisan-political preconditions.
Antisemitism, “Anti-Zionism,” and BDS
We are living in scary times. From far-right neo-Nazism in Germany and Poland to far-left anti-Semitic agitation in England and France, to the outrageous acts of anti-Semitic domestic violence and terror in New York, including in Monsey and elsewhere within my district (NY-17), anti-Semitism increasingly seems to be one of the few things uniting extremists at home and abroad. As a former federal prosecutor who took on crimes including violent crime and gun violence, no one will fight harder or more effectively to stamp out this scourge.
And I stand proudly with AIPAC and all other Jewish organizations, including AJC and others, in facing down anti-Semitism in all its forms. This includes the “anti-Zionism,” “BDS” agitation, “anti-Zionism” and other attempts to legitimize anti-Semitism and delegitimize the State of Israel. We must continue to encourage the diversity of opinions and insights that characterizes healthy policy debate and analysis while being vigilant against the forms of cynical, hypocritical delegitimization that are often leveled uniquely against both Israel and the Jewish people more broadly.
From Hezbollah in Syria to the Shiite militias and, now, state organs in Iraq, Iran’s malign reach extends throughout the Middle East. We must work harder than ever to contain Iran and prevent its nuclearization, a development that would pose existential risk to Israel and, at a minimum, launch the Middle East into a destabilizing arms race. In furtherance of these strategic necessities, we must extend the UN Security Council’s embargo, which will otherwise expire in fall 2020, and treat the prior JCPOA as a floor, rather than a ceiling, for a sustainable diplomatic framework that takes nuclearization entirely and permanently off the table.
I have a close friend grew up in Iran; she did everything she could to escape the misery and oppression of that regime. My friendship with her has underscored the need to empower the many Iranians who want to end the theocratic thuggery of the current regime. To that end, we should support Farsi-language political and
cultural programming and social-media support along with the economic sanctions that form the backbone of our non-military anti-proliferation efforts in Iran.
I was working in Washington, D.C. in summer 2000; I remember the anguish when Yasir Arafat rejected the offer that Israel had extended (brokered by President Clinton), and I remember the misery of the waves of terrorism and violence that followed. As elusive as peace has been between Israel and the Palestinians, I believe a permanent peace built around a two-state solution is the only viable permanent option for both peoples and the only way for Israel to remain both a democracy and a Jewish state. The United States should continue to support that process and the direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that are a necessary predicate for such a solution. In so doing, the United States should continue to support Israel’s legitimate security needs and should facilitate the positive involvement of regional powers supportive of a lasting, viable peace. All parties should make clear that Hamas and other terror organizations cannot be included as viable partners unless and until they renounce terror and theocratic extremism.
Effective Advocacy for America Includes Support for Israel
After more than eight years in government service, including as a consumer- protection regulator and federal prosecutor, I am running for United States Congress because I want to take up Congresswoman Nita Lowey’s tremendous legacy and fight for every person’s opportunity to pursue the American Dream just as my Jewish-refugee forebears had the opportunity to do.
As a zealous advocate for America and every American in the United States Congress, I would be proud to work tirelessly to support a strong, bipartisan United States-Israel relationship, a partnership that is critical to the continuing strength and success of both countries as they navigate the changes and challenges of the 21st Century.
Since 2016, hate has been on the rise in our country. We saw it in Charlottesville, Virginia, as neo-Nazis marched through the streets in broad daylight. That same hate found its way to our own community just this past year, with the vicious attack in Monsey on a Jewish man celebrating Hanukkah. Adam will stand up to racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and all other forms of bigotry and hatred that threaten our communities.
- Strengthen enforcement of federal hate crime legislation.
- Work with state and local officials in crime-fighting efforts.
- Increase federal funding for education and for security measures at public places and houses of worship.
LGBTQ+ rights are human rights. We must ensure that everyone can live without fear of being persecuted simply because of who they are and whom they love. In Congress, Adam will work every day to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
Equality: Codify LGBTQ+ equality into law by passing the Equality Act.
Pass the National Equality Act so that Title VII protections under the Civil Rights Act extend to the LGBTQ+ community, including in employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.
Inclusion: Direct greater resources towards research and services that support the well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals.
- Increase the National Institute of Health funding for HIV/AIDS research and prevention measures.
- Increase resources available for LGBTQ+ pride centers so they can continue their work protecting the community.
- Require health insurance companies to cover fertility services, so that members of the LGBTQ+ community have a meaningful and equal opportunity to reproduce and/or start families, and work to ease restrictions and barriers to adoption.
Increase access to funding and services for runaway and homeless youth.
Provide more federal funding to support local schools adopt codes of conduct prohibiting bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Increase resources available for LGBTQ+ pride centers so they can continue their work protecting the community.
Justice: Outlaw harmful and antiquated practices that afflict LGBTQ+ people.
- Ban the use of the gay-panic defense.
- Lift the 2018 U.S. military ban restricting transgender individuals from serving.
Enforce existing federal hate-crime laws, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
As the grandson of Holocaust survivors who immigrated to this country as refugees, Adam understands the importance of immigrants to our country. Immigrants enrich our culture and heritage, improve our ties with the rest of the world, strengthen our economy (to the tune of $2 trillion per year!), and embody the best of America’s history and identity.
Adam’s proposed policies would provide an efficient, affordable, and permanent path to citizenship and would reject the divisive, hateful, and economically-damaging dog-whistle do-nothingism of President Trump. Westchester and Rockland Counties are home to a multitude of constituents of immigrant backgrounds, with more than 20 percent of residents originating from another country. Schleifer will protect and provide a clear path of opportunity for the next generation of American citizens.
Adam’s Plan: Pass comprehensive immigration reform to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to pursue their own unique version of the American Dream. This reform must:
- End President Trump’s ignorant rhetoric of hate and division.
- Provide an affordable, attainable path to citizenship for law-abiding, contributing members of our society, including those who were brought here as children. With President Trump rescinding the expansion of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in 2017, federal programs that were created in an effort to ensure the success of future American citizens are at risk. Schleifer believes we must do better in upholding our humane values and continue to expand the path for opportunity to all. Through legislation similar to the DREAM Act of 2017 (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act), pushed forward by our New York Senator Charles E. Schumer, Schleifer commits to working towards a more just course of action for immigrants and their children.
- Meet our international legal and ethical obligations to provide asylum for those with legitimate claims of oppression abroad. Adam believes it is our international, legal, and ethical obligation to welcome those seeking refuge into our communities. As a nationally recognized “sanctuary county” – a jurisdiction that has laws, ordinances, regulations, resolutions, policies, or other practices that obstruct immigration enforcement, Westchester has welcomed those seeking safety and opportunity within American borders. If elected to Congress, Schleifer will work with community members and local leaders to expand these policies to Rockland County and create a district in which all are welcome.
- Adam will deny President Trump’s funding towards his useless dog-whistle plan to build a wall. Instead, Schleifer will push to return those resources to important military and law-enforcement initiatives. This includes the fight against international drug cartels and the trafficking of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. The $1.5 million and counting that Trump has exclaimed to need should be used for opportunity, not division.
America is more divided than ever. Our rhetoric is angry, bitter, and brittle. We must end the politics of division, work toward creative and respectful solutions, and remember how to disagree without being disagreeable. We must listen to and engage with others.
As a consumer-protection, banking, and insurance regulator, and as a federal prosecutor, Adam did this every day, and he will continue to do it in Washington. He will work to bring people together to get things done.
- A commitment to hearing out and listening to anyone willing to join in passing meaningful legislation and advocating effectively for the hardworking people of Westchester and Rockland.
Our district’s infrastructure is crumbling, threatening our community’s economic future.
Adam’s infrastructure spending plan, “I.N.V.E.S.T.” (Investment in Necessary, Volume-reducing, Efficient Structures and Transportation) Fund aligns with Senate Democrats’ call for a $1 trillion federal investment that would create 15 million good-paying jobs, with thousands in Rockland and Westchester Counties.
Specifically, Schleifer’s I.N.V.E.S.T. Fund would focus on modernized infrastructure throughout the Lower Hudson Valley, a one-seat solution for Rockland commuters along with additional transit options for Rocklanders heading to and from New York CIty, new high-speed ferries, and repairing roads and bridges. Schleifer is also pushing a National Service Plan and Green Infrastructure Corps that would pay for one year of higher education or vocational training for every year a person serves.
- Federal investment in 21st-century infrastructure on both sides of the river, and create thousands of good-paying jobs. Schleifer points out that too many students attend school in buildings that are crumbling, and millions of Americans lack access to high-speed internet. Local governments are stuck with the impossible choice of allowing water and sewer systems to deteriorate further or raising local taxes. The American Society of Civil Engineers says we must spend $1.6 trillion above current levels just to get our infrastructure to a state of good repair. Our deteriorating infrastructure already costs the economy close to $200 billion a year, and if we do not make these needed investments now, they will simply cost us more later.
- Work toward a one-seat solution for Rockland commuters while pushing NJ Transit to increase existing rail traffic through Secaucus and rolling out an electric-powered bus program with dedicated lanes. Schleifer joins Governor Cuomo and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to push for federal funding for Amtrak’s Gateway program to build two new rail tunnels between New York and New Jersey. The future of the Gateway program depends on federal funding. Schumer has warned that because the tunnels were flooded during Superstorm Sandy, they are deteriorating at a rapid pace. Additionally, these aging tunnels were built between 1904 and 1908, making them structurally unsound. The Gateway program would include building two new tunnels under the Hudson to replace the existing, deteriorating tunnels. This would allow for a one-seat solution for Rockland County commuters.
- Fund high-speed ferries to make better use of our waterways as arteries of transit, directly from Haverstraw and Ossining to New York City. The high-speed ferry would have to pass environmental standards and include renewable energy sources as proposed by local groups, such as the Hudson Riverkeeper. However, such a ferry would allow residents on both sides of the river to commute into New York City in roughly forty minutes from existing ports. Schleifer points to studies that show the strong correlation between long commute times and public health issues. Currently, too many residents in Rockland have to wait for a bus across the Tappan Zee Bridge in order to catch the train in Westchester. A high-speed ferry, combined with one-seat rail from Rockland, would greatly reduce unhealthy commute times.
- Improve our roads and bridges. Specifically, he calls for a major increase in federal funding to repair deteriorating roads and bridges on the Federal-aid Highway System to ensure cost-effective and safe passenger travel. A portion of this new funding would be available on an incentive basis to encourage cities and states to propose and achieve ambitious performance goals for improving local infrastructure. In Congress, he will also push for a bipartisan plan that ensures the sustainability of the Federal Highway Trust Fund in order to prevent our roads and bridges from returning to a state of disrepair after an immediate investment.
Adam is proposing a Green Job Corps as part of his National Service Plan, so that Rockland and Westchester residents who work for nonprofits and government agencies that improve the energy-efficient infrastructure and transportation of the Hudson Valley can make a good living and earn scholarships for college or vocational training. Schleifer’s National Service Plan would pay for one year of higher education or vocational training for every year a person works in the public sector.
As your congressman, Adam will work to encourage greater political participation and abolish the Electoral College, which has installed two recent Republican presidents without a popular majority.
Adam has unveiled an outline of the Voting Rights Act of 2021, his plan to protect voting rights and election integrity. If elected to Congress, Adam’s legislation will include policies designed to boost voter participation, including a refundable tax credit of $50, making Election Day a national holiday, and expanding absentee and early voting across the United States. Further, he calls for the end of the electoral college as a means of electing future U.S. presidents; supports state-by-state independent redistricting commissions to draw state and congressional boundaries; and, calls for overturning Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission through a constitutional amendment.
- Create a voting tax credit to incentivize voting and address its economic burden for the working class. He is the only candidate in the race thus far to publicly endorse a voting tax credit. In 2018, 53 percent of the eligible voting population cast a ballot in the midterm elections, a record in recent history but still far behind voting rates in other advanced democracies. Such a tax credit would boost turnout in U.S. elections, while also keeping voters from having to make a choice between going to the polls and suffering a loss of income.
- Make Election Day a federal holiday. This move would see the U.S. join more than 80 percent of other OECD countries that hold elections on weekends or national holidays.
Support legislation that provides funding to states seeking to liberalize their absentee balloting and early voting laws. According to a recent poll, an overwhelming majority of registered voters in America support allowing voters to request an absentee ballot. During a global pandemic, Schleifer believes that it is imperative that our democracy continue to function even if voters cannot physically appear at their polling location.
Support New York’s efforts to make voter registration automatic.
- Enact a constitutional amendment or interstate compact to Eliminate the Electoral College, as he believes the time has come for us to elect our presidents the same way we elect all other federal, state, and local representatives: one-person, one-vote.
End gerrymandering by setting up independent redistricting commissions in each state to minimize the impact of partisan politics on the process for drawing state and congressional boundaries.
Support a constitutional amendment that overturns Citizens United, putting an end to unlimited corporate spending in our elections.
International drug cartels and Canadian and Chinese hemp farmers alike have made billions of dollars on a crop that American farmers have historically been prohibited from growing. Young people have died by the dozen from grey-market marijuana vape pens. A state-by-state patchwork of laws conflicting with the federal system’s categorization of marijuana as the most dangerous of drugs frustrates scientific research and encourages fraud and corruption at the state level. Too many young people in our communities of color have been subjected to the one-way ratchet of the criminal-justice system for possessing a product that others safely use with abandon.
We must move past this broken system and legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana at the federal level.
- Federally decriminalize the possession and licensed distribution of marijuana. Although many may assume state decriminalization makes it legal to possess marijuana, the only thing standing between all marijuana businesses and end-users and federal criminal prosecution is a discretionary set of U.S. Department of Justice guidelines set forth in the Cole memorandum, and a current congressional budget rider denying funds to prosecution of state-legal marijuana activity — both of which are subject to change anytime. This uncertainty is anathema to the planning and certainty that rule of law and legitimate business activity both require. And unlike physically addictive, dangerous and deadly drugs like methamphetamine, opioids and heroin, it is hard to see how continued devotion of federal criminal resources to the interdiction of marijuana accomplishes much beyond supporting a life-limiting one-way ratchet of criminal institutionalization of young people — particularly young people of color, upon whom the incidence of marijuana arrests and prosecutions has fallen unequally. The criminal justice system has a salutary role in protecting society from the scourge of violence, property crimes and death posed by drug addiction and abuse, but it’s clear by now that marijuana use has little to do with that important mission.
- Remove marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Marijuana should either be removed from the schedules entirely or reclassified within a schedule that reflects its low or lower potential for abuse and physical addiction. And while rescheduling could be accomplished without legislation through administrative rule making, Congress should act directly and pass federal rescheduling (or unscheduling) legislation for the dual purposes of greater permanency and increased legitimacy.
- Creating a unified federal financial framework, implement revenue-raising taxation of marijuana. We must reform the tax code and related federal statutes affecting the financial treatment of marijuana, its proceeds and the access to credit it needs to function legitimately.
- Fund health and safety studies and regulation.
- Ensure that those communities most adversely affected by marijuana prohibition receive opportunities to invest in and profit from the legalization of marijuana.
We must amend the relevant international treaties and our obligations under them. It is an inconvenient truth that major reform of our federal marijuana framework would put us out of compliance with various treaty obligations. Rather than ignore this and further undermine our country’s once-proud status as a multilateralist force for public international law, we must work to amend these treaties and our obligations thereunder.
We have an obligation to fight for economic justice for everyone in our communities, from hardworking families and the elderly to the special needs community. We also need to ensure a future in which people can remain in and return to their communities if they so choose and are not priced out of their own neighborhoods due to a lack of affordable housing.
- Ensure federal tax policy incentives for private affordable-housing development, for both those near the poverty line as well as the middle class.
- Undo President Trump’s recent cuts to Social Security benefits for the disabled and special needs communities.
- Route federal funds to incubate and support 21st-century businesses creating 21st-century jobs.
- Implement paid parental leave and sick leave.
- Ensure universal pre-K.
Adam has publicly urged President Trump to reverse his pledge that any COVID-related relief funding for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) would be contingent on higher fees for residents and businesses in Rockland and Westchester Counties who send mail through the USPS.
The USPS has warned of its serious financial distress, but with the U.S. economy stalled during the COVID crisis, USPS reported a 30% decrease in volume. The service has requested $75 billion in cash, loans and grants to remain solvent.
In response, Adam unveiled his plan to introduce legislation in the next Congress to embolden the USPS with the power to conduct basic financial services. Adam vows to never let the post office system fail.
Not only oppose Trump’s attempts to privatize USPS, but strengthen a public Postal Service with basic banking powers. As advocated by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Adam’s plan would allow USPS to offer basic financial services, including cashing checks and giving USPS more flexibility in choosing what services it provides in order to grow as a stronger public entity, rather than wither and die under Trump’s call for a mail tax.
Rockland and Westchester Counties have become expensive for many middle- and low-income families over the past twenty years. Adam has released a plan to take this on.
From 2013-2017, Rockland County had the largest portion (59.4 percent) of rental households paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs. In Westchester County, a report published last year found that more than 40 percent of Westchester County residents spend more than 30 percent of their household income on housing. The unaffordable housing market has also pushed young people out of the district. Between 2000 and 2017, the population of 30- to 44-year-olds declined almost 19%, while nationally, that same age group grew by 2.1% over the same time.
In Congress, Adam will fight for funding initiatives, tax incentives, and smart, fair, HUD policies to increase housing stock, fund local housing authorities, and expand capital to low-income and marginalized communities
Lower housing costs by expanding the supply of housing stock and providing resources to low-income individuals struggling to make ends meet.
Increase funding for the National Housing Trust, a fund developed under the Obama Administration that creates affordable housing units for extremely low-income households.
Increase funding for federal tax policy incentives, like the Low-Income Housing Tax credit, to construct and rehabilitate more affordable private housing for both those near the poverty line as well as the middle class.
Fund the Department of Housing and Urban Development so that local housing authorities and those eligible for and dependent on federal rental assistance, including housing vouchers and Section 8 rental assistance, received sufficient funding. As of 2017, funding limitations have prevented 3 out of 4 eligible recipients from getting the federal housing funding they deserve, further exacerbating housing and homelessness crises in many communities across the country.
Secure more funding for housing rehabilitation and safety improvements through programs like the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).
- Create a down-payment assistance program for any low-income individual living in a formerly-redlined neighborhood as a means of promoting home-ownership and building wealth.
- Enforce the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires federal regulators to evaluate how well local banks and financial institutions are meeting the credit needs of low- and middle-income families.
Presidential power has expanded under both Republican and Democratic institutions, metastasizing far beyond what the Founding Fathers envisioned. Whether it’s congressional abdication of the war power, or expansive theories of the unitary executive, or the extent to which gerrymandering has led to a polarized and gridlocked Congress, our constitutional system is sputtering.
Beyond these structural problems, however, is the more acute danger of a president whose malign superficiality, narcissism, and corruption threaten to rend the fabric of the Constitution he has sworn to uphold. Adam is focused on what we can do to reinforce our constitutional infrastructure so that it can survive this and any future, similar threats.
Classify inspectors general as “principal” officers and limit their removal by the president only “for cause.”
Strengthen federal protections for whistleblowers, including by prohibiting presidents or members of Congress from publicly revealing their identities without their consent.
Require all presidential and vice-presidential candidates to release their tax returns before and during their term in office.
Sponsor legislation under Article I, Section 4 of our Constitution that would vest the power of redistricting either in the hands of independent electoral commissions or in Congress itself.