Vito Fossella

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Vito J. Fossella served the 13th Congressional district of New York from 1997-2008

Vito John Fossella, Jr., a Republican, has represented the 13th Congressional District of New York in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1997-2008. (map)

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how Vito Fossella voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!


In 2007, Congress took up the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health care for about 6 million children and 670,000 adults from families who earn too much money qualify for Medicare but not enough to afford health insurance. Congressional Democrats and many Republicans tried to use the opportunity to dramatically expand the program but were opposed by President George W. Bush and other Republicans. In 2006, 5.4 million children were eligible but not enrolled in SCHIP or Medicaid and 9.4 million total children were uninsured.

After this vote, Rep. Fossella's spokesperson Craig Donnor wrote a letter to the editor of the Staten Island Advance stating "The unfortunate reality is that the Democratic Congress pitted seniors against their grandchildren in a fight for access to needed health care."

AARP publicly called for support of the first SCHIP vote in the House and released this statement following the vote; "We are disappointed by New York representatives who voted against strengthening health care for children and improving Medicare. As Congress leaves for vacation, some lawmakers chose to reject the opportunity to strengthen Medicare and provide health insurance for millions of eligible children who are without health coverage."

Rep. Vito Fossella voted AGAINST the first House bill, which passed along party lines. It would have added $47 billion over five years to the $25 billion cost of the program and added about 5 million people to the program, including children, some legal immigrants, pregnant women and adults aged 18 and 19. The bill was financed mainly by an increase in cigarette taxes.

House Democrats, with 45 Republicans, later compromised and passed a bill which expanded the plan by $35 billion and would have insured about 3.5 million more children from families generally making between 250% and 300% of the federal poverty line (about $51,000 to $62,000 for a family of four). Most non-pregnant, childless adults were excluded, as were most legal immigrants and all illegal immigrants. Rep. Vito Fossella voted FOR the bill.

After President Bush vetoed the bill, Democratic leaders attempted to override the veto with the same bill but failed. Rep. Vito Fossella voted FOR the bill.

House Democrats then attempted to override it with another bill, which gave into Republican demands for increased checks for citizenship, the quick phasing-out of adult coverage, a hard limit of 300% of the federal poverty level and funding for families that covered their children through private insurance instead. Republicans, angry that the vote was scheduled during massive fires in California, blocked the veto override. Rep. Vito Fossella voted FOR the bill. For details on the bills and the debate, see the main State Children's Health Insurance Program page.

Iraq War

Fossella voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Campaign Money

According to the New York Daily News, since 2002 Fossella has spent $53,142 of his campaign funds on leisure vacations to Las Vegas, Colorado and Florida. He supposedly put $5,000 for a hotel bill on a credit card of a consulting firm which got in trouble with the federal government. He also supposedly received a corporate jet discount from someone linked to the Gambino crime family. In defense of these reports, Fossella states that his expenses were necessary for campaigning and research for his congressional district. [1]


On June 29, 2006, the New York Daily News reported that Fossella used three photographs (one of which was taken with the Sesame Street character, Elmo) "in campaign flyers and in free mailings to constituents" in violation of House rules. Fossella's staffers were required to sign forms certifying that any photos used in free congressional mailings would not be used in campaign literature. Nevertheless, the photos were used. [2]


Fossella was born March 9, 1965 on Staten Island, New York. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and in 1993, he earned his Juris Doctor from the Fordham University School of Law.

Fossella was a member of the New York City Council from 1994 to 1997, when he won a special election to replace Congresswoman Susan Molinari. He was elected to a full term in 1998.

Congresional career

Fossella is considered one of the more conservative congressmen from the Northeast (only Congressman Scott Garrett of New Jersey has a higher rating from the American Conservative Union).

Since being elected to Congress, Fossella's legislative initiatives have included[3]:

  • Securing $32 million to help purchase three new Staten Island Ferry boats
  • Negotiating and securing an agreement between the State Department, the City of New York and the United Nations requiring foreign diplomats to pay millions of dollars in unpaid parking fines
  • Introducing and passing legislation withholding US funding to any United Nations Commission that is headed by a nation on the State Department's list of terror nations.
  • Helping to establish the Congressional Caucus on Korea and serves as the body's co-chair. The caucus is a conduit for strengthening US-South Korea relations and also is an information society for developments in the North Korea situation.
  • Authoring and passing the Investor and Capital Markets Fee Relief Act, which reduces by millions of dollars excessive fees imposed on investors. The Act was signed into law by President Bush on January 16, 2002.
  • Opposed President Clinton's offer of clemency to 16 terrorists affiliated with the organization known as FALN. On September 9, 1999, Fossella authored and passed a Congressional Resolution condemning the offer of clemency. The measure passed the House by a vote of 311 to 41.
  • Authoring and passing legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to John Cardinal O'Connor.

2006 elections

In 2006, Stephen Harrison won the Democratic primary to face Fossella in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [4] Fossella retained his seat.

Drunk-driving arrest

After midnight on May 1, 2008, Fossella was pulled over by a police officer in Alexandria, VA, after allegedly running a red light. The police report of the incident indicated the congressman was "unsteady on his feet, unable to recite a section of the alphabet and had a 'strong smell of alcoholic beverage.'" [2]

Fossella was released on bail and later apologized to his constituents. He gave no indication as to whether the arrest would impact his decision to see another term in the U.S. House of Representatives.[2]

On December 8, 2008, Fossella was ordered by an Alexandria District Court judge to serve 5 days in a Virginia cell after being found guilty of drunken driving. His sentence is set to begin December 19th, but his lawyers have already indicated they will appeal the conviction. He was also fined $300 and had his license suspended in Virginia for a year as part of the sentence. [3]


Following the scandal that erupted over his DUI arrest, Fossella announced on May 20, 2008 that he would retire from Congress rather than seek re-election that November. The announcement came despite continued support from many of his constituents, and in the face of pressure among his Republican colleagues in the House to step down. The five-term Congressman said his decision hinged on a "need to concentrate on healing the wounds that I have caused to my wife and family."[4]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00000983&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Vito Fossella
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affilitions


Committee assignments in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Fossella gave up his position on the House Committee on Financial Services after being required to choose one committee on which to remain.

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)


DC Office:
1239 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-3213
Phone: 202-225-3371
Fax: 202-226-1272
Email: vito.fossella AT
Web Email

District Office- Brooklyn:
9818 Fourth Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11209-8102
Phone: 718-630-5277
Fax: 718-630-5388

District Office- Staten Island:
4434 Amboy Road, Second Floor
Staten Island, NY 10312
Phone: 718-356-8400
Fax: 718-356-1928

Articles and Resources


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. 2.0 2.1 James Barron, "Fossella Admits He Had an Extramarital Affair", The New York Times, May 9, 2008
  3. Raymond Hernandez, "Fossella Sentenced to 5 Days in a Virginia Jail for Drunken Driving", The New York Times, December 8, 2008
  4. "Fossella to Retire at End of This Congress", CQ Politics, May 20, 2008

External resources


Local blogs and discussion sites

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on Vito Fossella. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: None
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: House Committee on Energy and Commerce, House Committee on Energy and Commerce/Subcommittee on Commerce Trade and Consumer Protection, House Committee on Energy and Commerce/Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials, House Committee on Energy and Commerce/Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 4, 1997
First Took Current Office:
November 4, 1997
Next Election:
Term Ends:
January 3, 2009
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
U.S. House of Representatives, New York City Council
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
Phone: / Fax:

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: March 9, 1965