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Maffei discusses range of topics at town hall

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

About sixty people came to Onondaga Community College Monday night for Rep. Dan Maffei's town hall meeting. Constituents asked about the Democrat from Syracuse Democrat everything from the economy to health care.  

Federal spending on infrastructure was one of the economic topics discussed. While Maffei says there is no partisan divide in central New York when it comes to investing in infrastructure, but he said he doesn't expect any bill on it to pass the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in the near future.  

"In the last Congress, they were only able to pass a two year stop-gap bill. These are the kinds of projects you need some time to plan so a one or two year bill doesn't work," he said.

And Maffei said infrastructure projects that need attention in central New York include more than things like rail, airports and Interstate 81.

"Also water infrastructure. I don't know if anyone's notice but there have been more water main breaks. It shouldn't be a surprise our water infrastructure in central New York is decades and in some cases over one hundred years old, it's amazing that it has worked this long we got our money's worth from it but we need to do those things."

Maffei has received criticism from some Democrats for supporting a one-year delay of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for families, but he opposes any attempt to repeal it.

"Before you think about repealing the whole thing, remember things like insuring kids up to age 26 remember things like you can't be turned down for a pre-existing condition," the congressman said.

On the economy, Maffei says small businesses are hiring more people, and smaller banks need less regulation and credit unions should be allowed to lend more.

"It's the smaller banks and credit unions that know their customers and they know when it's a good risk or not so they will tend to lend much more."

Maffei says the biggest banks should be required to lend more to small business.