A New York Republican congressman is pushing back after Gov. Andrew Cuomo publicly targeted six members of the state's Republican congressional delegation for defeat in the 2018 midterms.
Cuomo launched the "New York Fights Back" campaign Tuesday in New York City with a focus on unseating Republicans who voted in favor of the American Health Care Act. He was joined by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who is leading a concerted national effort to retake the House majority.
Both Cuomo and Pelosi committed to campaigning against the six New York Republicans who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with the House GOP's proposed legislation: Reps. Elise Stefanik, Lee Zeldin, Chris Collins, Claudia Tenney, Tom Reed and John Faso.
Cuomo, who is running for a third gubernatorial term in 2018, did not mince words when referencing the targeted members of the GOP.
"We say to these congresspeople: We promise you, if you violate your oath of office and you defraud the voters, you hurt the people of this state, we will remove you from office on Nov. 2, 2018," Cuomo said.
In a phone interview with the Washington Examiner, Faso said Cuomo has made it difficult for Republicans to work with him on legislation, especially with outstanding issues like transportation, infrastructure and tax reform still on the table.
"I find it unfortunate that Cuomo would engage in this kind of rhetoric 18 months before an election rather than choosing to govern in a cooperative way," Faso said. "I find it highly regrettable that he chooses to engage in politics 100 percent of the time."
Faso said that Cuomo has taken aim at him due to the proposed ‘Collins-Faso' amendment of the AHCA, which would shift Medicaid costs from the county to the state. Faso stated that he supports the measure because he is fighting to lift the tax burden for New Yorkers — adding that Cuomo's father, Mario, supported the concept when he was governor.
Additionally, Faso said it was "very strange" that Cuomo would start campaigning with Democrats on the national level when most consider him unreliable for Democrats at the state level.
Currently, the New York State Senate is run by the Republicans despite having more elected Democrats in the chamber. This is due to a breakaway group of eight Democrats which have formed their own majority coalition with the Republicans.
Because of this, mainline Democrats have faced difficulty advancing their agenda at the state level despite having a majority in the Assembly and a twice-elected Democratic governor. Cuomo has been rumored as an early potential candidate for president in 2020.
So far, Faso has not heard anything from the people in his district given the timing of the announcement. He said the other five New York Republicans have laughed it off, though he noted that Cuomo's rhetoric will make it hard for him to engage with the other side.
Faso was not concerned with how "New York Fights Back" would affect his congressional race next year, noting how the people in his district view Cuomo and Pelosi.
"I can't think of two people who are more unpopular in my district than Andrew Cuomo and Nancy Pelosi," he said.