NY Dem Woos Veterans By Pledging to Support Law Authored By Her Opponent

Dem challenger seemingly unaware that Stefanik's military families bill is already law

Tedra Cobb / Facebook Screenshot
August 25, 2020

A new proposal by New York Democrat Tedra Cobb mirrors legislation that was already introduced by the Republican she is running to unseat—and signed into law by the president in 2017.

Cobb accused her opponent, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R.), of turning a "blind eye" to American soldiers in a Tuesday tweet promoting her own "plan to support our veterans." While Cobb's plan says New York veterans "deserve more than what they are getting from Washington," one of its proposed reforms is the Military Family Stability Act, which Stefanik first sponsored in January 2017.

"Support legislation such as the Military Family Stability Act, which provides flexible timing when moving for new assignments," Cobb's plan says.

Should Cobb's congressional bid prove successful, however, the Democrat would not be able to vote in support of Stefanik's bill. The legislation was signed into law in December 2017. Stefanik criticized Cobb, who did not return request for comment, for failing to follow the bill's progress.

Veterans' issues are central to New York's 21st Congressional District, as the district includes Fort Drum, which supports the annual training of nearly 80,000 troops. Cobb has repeatedly looked to undermine Stefanik's positioning as a strong military supporter—the Democrat's plan accuses the Republican of caring for veterans as a "political talking point or a chance for a photo op."

Stefanik's bill aimed to give military families housing flexibility by allowing them to "work up to six months in their current job" or "move up to six months early to their next location" if a service member receives a new assignment. The Republican added the legislation to the fiscal year 2018 military spending package, known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), as a member of the House Armed Services Committee in July 2017.

"As the home of Fort Drum and the Kesselring Navy nuclear site, our district knows firsthand the critical role military families play in supporting our troops and providing for our national defense," Stefanik said in a statement at the time. "Military families make great sacrifices when relocating and transitioning to new schools, jobs, and communities, and we must do all we can to help ease their burden."

The NDAA went on to pass the House on July 14, 2017, by a 344-81 vote and was signed into law by President Donald Trump five months later.

Cobb, a former county legislator, is again challenging Stefanik after losing to the Republican by nearly 14 points in 2018. She is endorsed by a number of prominent national liberal groups, including abortion advocates Planned Parenthood Action Fund and EMILY's List. Stefanik, meanwhile, received the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association's backing in August.

Stefanik has a significant fundraising lead as of June 30, taking in $7.7 million to Cobb's $3.9 million. The Republican currently holds a $4.4 million war chest, while Cobb has $2.7 million on hand.