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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

May 07, 2023 6:03 am

Here is this week's WGXC Congressional Report, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives and candidates for the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st Congressional seats in New York. Democrat Pat Ryan is representing the 18th Congressional District, Republican Marc Molinaro represents the 19th Congressional District, Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko represents the 20th District, and Republican Elise Stefanik represents the 21st District. Click here to listen to this report.

WRGB in Albany reports that Rep. Paul Tonko held a listening session April 29 in the town of Milton in Saratoga County. Tonko wanted to hear residents opinions on the new farm bill that is being negotiated this year. But the story does not quote any residents or their opinions, only Tonko. The 20th Congressional District representative said, "Food insecurity, the need to have food on the table, the importance's of nutrition for our senior community and for sound development for our young people. So, we need to emphasize this, especially because there were proposed restrictions and roll backs in the bill recently done on the house floor in Washington. So, it just alerts me of the wrongdoing in that bill and how it relates to agriculture and nutrition." Read more about this story at the WRGB website.

On April 27 Democrat Pat Ryan voted with local Republicans Marc Molinaro and Elise Stefanik, against, "Directing the President... to remove all United States Armed Forces, other than United States Armed Forces assigned to protect the United States Embassy, from Somalia." Democrat Paul Tonko voted for the measure, which failed 102-to-321. It was a rare bipartisan vote in Congress, with 52 Republicans and 50 Democrats voting for the measure, and 165 Republicans, and 156 Democrats voting against.

Nancy Kern reports in Columbia-Greene Media that Rep. Marc Molinaro, a Republican from Dutchess County, on April 29 voted against a bill to end a two-year moratorium on duties placed on imported cells and modules used on solar farms. Most Republicans voted for the bill, but it will not pass the Democrat-controlled Senate, nor be signed by President Joe Biden. And it passed 221-to-202, which means Molinaro breaking with his party did not jeopardize the bill passing in the House of Representatives. Even though the vote was mostly theater, Molinaro said, “Repealing this moratorium could force domestic companies, including those in New York’s 19th Congressional District, to pay over $1 billion in retroactive duties, eliminate thousands of domestic jobs, and cancel planned solar projects. I broke with my own party and voted against today’s legislation because it would kneecap our advances in domestic solar energy and eliminate jobs in Upstate New York." Judging from comments included in the story, Molinaro's vote won't be popular with local Republicans, who seem opposed to solar power. Greene County Legislature Chair Patrick Linger, a Republican, said, "I do not agree that it’s used as a utility scale. I don’t think that’s the optimal use for solar." Athens Town Supervisor Michael Pirrone said, “I don’t think I agree entirely [with Molinaro] because there maybe a PILOT involved with the project, which means that on a town level, the town does not get full taxation." Republican Greene County Legislator Thomas Hobart from Coxsackie, said, “I don’t see the residents of the region benefiting from the power that would be generated and would only experience the loss of open space.” Molinaro represents the 19th Congressional District, though he lives in the 18th Congressional District. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.

The Troy Record reports that Rep. Paul Tonko introduced the New York-New Jersey Watershed Protection Act with New York Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis to protect the Hudson, Mohawk, and Raritan Rivers and their tributaries. In the Senate, all four New York and New Jersey Senators, Kirsten Gillibrand, Chuck Schumer, Cory Booker, and Bob Menendez, introduced the bill. Tonko said, “For too long, our New York-New Jersey Watershed has been grossly underfunded, despite being America’s most populated watershed.... I’ve long pushed to support this critical waterway, driving forward federal restoration efforts that will have massive ripple effects, including protecting communities from flood risks, supporting local wildlife, improving water quality, and driving economic growth." The bill would attempt to coordinate restoration efforts of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, improve water quality, increase public access to the watershed, mitigate flood risks, and provide $20,000,000 annually for watershed restoration grants through Fiscal Year 2029. Read more about this story in the Troy Record.

Spectrum News reports that President Joe Biden will give a speech on the debt ceiling impasse in Congress on May 10 in the Hudson Valley. Biden seems to be targeting New York Republicans to persuade them to avoid default without conditions. Typically, Congress votes to raise the debt ceiling without limitaions. But Republicans control the House of Representatives, but not the Senate and the presidency. That have been unable to pass any legislation, so they are holding the debt ceiling hostage to some legislative measures they would like passed. Local Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro, who lives in the 18th Congressional District, but represents the 19th District, tried to persuade voters otherwise, releasing a statement that said, "President Biden plans to leave negotiators behind in Washington and travel to the Hudson Valley to make a political speech.” Read more about this story at Spectrum News.

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