WGXC-90.7 FM

Audio Report: WGXC Congressional Report 20210307

Mar 07, 2021 11:55 pm
This is WGXC's Congressional Report, tracking the votes, words, and actions of Rep. Antonio Delgado, a Democrat from Rhinebeck representing the 19th Congressional District, and Paul Tonko, a Democrat from Amsterdam from the 20th Congressional District. Click here to play or download an audio version of this report.

H.R.1, the For the People Act of 2021, passed the U.S. House March 3 220-210, with one Democrat voting against and no Republicans voting in favor. So local Democrats Antonio Delgado, Paul Tonko, and Sean Maloney voted for expanding voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting) and limiting efforts to remove voters from voter rolls, while Republican Elise Stefanik voted against the bill. The bill also requires states to establish independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting. The same is mostly true about voting for H.R.1280, or the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021. The police reform measure passed 220-212, with two Democrats voting against, and one Republican voting in favor. Delgado, Tonko, and Maloney all voted for the reforms, while Stefanik voted against.

Emilie Munson reports in the Times Union that Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat who represents Albany County and other upstate areas, is now against the filibuster. That's the legislative rule that requires 60 votes to pass most legislation. Democrats currently control the Senate 51-50, and with the filibuster Republicans can block most legislative action. "It's important for us to really move forward and improve this process so that the people's wishes and the people's needs are granted," said Tonko. "Otherwise what we have today is a legislative graveyard ... this modern filibuster essentially gives minority leaders veto power in Congress, exactly what [James] Madison and [Alexander] Hamilton were writing about. The founders did not want this concept to take hold." But unless Democrats can change the minds of Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Democrats who have previously said they support the filibuster, it will stay the law of the land. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, now the majority leader, says he will do something, but does not identify what that something will be. "I believe, and I believe my caucus believes, that we need big, bold action, and we're going to figure out the best way to get big, bold action on a whole lot of fronts. We're not going to be the legislative graveyard," Schumer said March 2. "Very simply, McConnell refused to put bills on the floor. I'm putting bills on the floor. People are going to be forced to vote on them, yes or no, on a whole lot of very important and serious issues." Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Also on March 3, Rep. Delgado held a virtual roundtable with more than 100 upstate officials to discuss COVID-19 aid for local governments included in the latest COVID-19 rescue package. Last week, the House voted to pass the American Rescue Plan, which passed the Senate, with some changes, on March 6. The bill still includes a provision introduced by Delgado that gives $130.2 billion to local governments across the United States, including over $400 million for local governments in New York's 19th Congressional District. New Lebanon Supervisor Tistrya Houghtling and Greene County Legislature Chair Patrick Linger were among the officials asking questions about the funding. With the Senate changes, the bill goes back for a vote in the U.S. House this week.
Wave Farm / WGXC Acra Contact Info
Mailing: PO Box 13 Acra, NY 12405
Main Office / Acra Studio
(518) 622-2598
WGXC Office
(518) 697-7400
WGXC Hudson Studio
(518) 828-0290
WGXC Feedback
(518) 212-7509 feedback@wgxc.org
Wave Farm / WGXC Acra Studio: 5662 Route 23 Acra, NY 12405
WGXC Hudson Studio: 369 Warren St. Hudson, NY 12534