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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Jan 16, 2022 7:03 am

Here is this week's WGXC Congressional Report, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives and candidates for the 19th and 20th Congressional seats in New York. Current Democrat Reps. Antonio Delgado and Paul Tonko vote with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Click here to listen to this report.

This week Reps. Antonio Delgado, who represents the 19th Congressional District in Greene, Columbia, Rensselaer and other counties, and Paul Tonko, who represents the 20th in Albany County and other areas, both voted together with most other Democrats on several measures. On Jan. 14 they both voted for a joint resolution relating to increasing the debt limit that passed 220-212 on a straight party vote. Tonko and Delgado also voted Jan. 14 for "Recommending that the House of Representatives find Mark Randall Meadows in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol." That measure passed 222-208, with all Democrats and two Republicans, Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, voting in favor. And both Delgado and Tonko voted for the "Combating International Islamophobia Act," that passed 219-212 on a straight party vote Jan. 14.

The biggest news this week for New York's Congressional delegation may have happened at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Aaron Cerbone at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise reported that on Jan. 11 in a letter to the House Clerk, North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik said she’d be unable to physically attend the government proceedings that day because of “the ongoing public health emergency.” But that was not actually the reason. Stefanik lied to the House Clerk, and instead attended a fundraiser, largely unmasked, with former President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort. “Elise Stefanik outright lied when she claimed a public health emergency prohibited her from showing up to work but then appeared at a political event with former President Trump in Mar-a-Lago that day,” Matt Castelli, a Democrat running against Stefanik for New York’s 21st Congressional seat, wrote in a statement. Stefanik brought Gerry Kassar, New York's Conservative Party chair, to the event. “It was really a New York crowd,” Kassar said. “(Trump) may be down in Florida but he’s a New Yorker. He talked about the troubles due to the economy. It was a great time, my wife and I had a very good time. I was happy to see him and interact the crowd was up close.” Stefanik, who voted to throw out fair election results last January in an effort to keep Trump president, was photographed with him. Other locals at the right-wing fundraiser according to the New York Post included Thomas D’Ambra, CEO of an Albany-area pharmaceutical company Pharmapotheca A and formerly Albany Molecular Research Inc.; and John Hendrickson, Adirondack Park landowner and Saratoga Springs horse stable owner; and Edward Foy Jr, who owns the Chateau on the Lake restaurant. Liz Joy, a Republican who is running against Tonko for a second time, was photographed at the former president's fundraiser, but no photos online show her with Trump. Joy did attend the "Stop the Steal" rally at the U.S. Capitol last January 6.

On Jan. 14, Stefanik and Delgado found common ground on one issue, both signing a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Brooks La-Sure requesting some rural New York hospitals retain their Critical Access Hospital status. “While our rural New York hospitals combat COVID-19 and take care of patients, we must ensure they have the resources necessary to provide critical services,” the Democrat said. “Changing the eligibility criteria for the Critical Access Hospital designation hurts our upstate hospitals and makes it harder for rural New Yorkers to receive care. I will keep working with my colleagues on this issue to help support our hospitals and communities.” Stefanik agreed. “North Country families depend on rural hospitals to provide lifesaving care and treatments,” the Republican said. “Taking away the designation of Critical Access Hospitals will be harmful to our healthcare system and harmful to North Country patients. I am proud to take a stand with Congressman Delgado to ensure Critical Access Hospitals can maintain their status and provide critical care to residents of the North Country.”