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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Apr 18, 2021 8:00 am

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.

Congress was back in session last week, after weeks off for the Passover and Easter holidays. They passed many bi-partisan bills that virtually everyone, including local Rep. Delgado and Tonko, voted for including the Credit Risk Management Improvement Act, the Microloan Transparency and Accountability Act, and the Protecting Indian Tribes from Scams Act. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which addresses the gender pay gap, passed 217-210, with only one Republican and no Democrats voting against the rest of their party.

Emilie Munson reports for the Times Union that Republican Liz Joy filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission April 1 to challenge Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat from Amsterdam, again in 2022. In 2020, Joy ran against Tonko, but received 38 percent of the vote to Tonko's 62 percent in the 20th Congressional District election. A Democrat named Cole Francis Matthews has also declared intentions to challenge Tonko. Joy is a real estate agent from Glenville, with policies that align with former President Donald Trump. Currently the district includes all of Albany County, but redistricting after the 2020 census could change the boundaries. "It could turn things off the margin and start to push Tonko to the place where he would have to run the kind of race with extensive TV ads and a big operation that we've seen recently from [Rep. Antonio] Delgado or [Tedra] Cobb on the Democratic side to the south and north of him," said Chris Mann, assistant professor of political science at Skidmore College. "It could push him into that territory. ... I don't think he's in any real danger of losing but he's going to have to work harder." In 2020, Joy raised $381,000 for her campaign compared to Tonko's $1.5 million. Joy refused a request from the newspaper for comment, and Matthews could not be reached. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Emilie Munson reports in the Times Union that Rep. Antonio Delgado raised $1.1 million in the first three months of 2021, now has over $4 million on hand for his second re-election campaign. So far, no Republican candidates have filed paperwork to challenge Delgado in 2022, although Delgado's 2020 opponent, Republican attorney Kyle Van De Water, said last year that he would run again in 2022. Van De Water did not respond to a request for comment on April 15. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has been hinting at a run either for Delgado's seat or for governor in 2022. But on April 14, Molinaro said he had "no news ... yet." The main question for the 19th Congressional District election in 2022 is where the district will cover. New York's redistricting commission will redraw the lines as a result of the 2020 census, where New York is expected to lose a congressional seat or two. District maps aren't expected to be finalized until the end of this year or early next year. Chris Mann, assistant professor of political science at Skidmore College, said, "The real advantage to (Delgado), (and the) disadvantage to anyone challenging him is you've got to raise a ton of money, which means you've got to start early.... But the top-tier challengers, there is a cost to announcing you're going to run for Congress and losing badly if the landscape gets worse, (the district gets bluer) or dropping out and being seen as not sincere ... that will make it less likely that he has challenger." In the other local Congressional election, Democrat incumbent in the 20th District, Paul Tonko, raised just over $100,000, while his repeat challenger Republican Liz Joy raised $190, according to FEC filings. Joy, however, did not launch her 2022 candidacy until the day after the quarter ended. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Emilie Munson reports in the Times Union that Hudson Valley Democrats in Congress Antonio Delgado, Paul Tonko, and Sean Maloney, are threatening other Democrats with a promise of a no vote on tax legislation that does not include a repeal of the state and local tax deduction cap. All New York Congressional Democrats except two signed a letter April 14 to repeal the Republican-passed $10,000 cap on the amount of state and local taxes an individual can deduct from their federal tax bill. So Delgado, Tonko, and Maloney now stand with Republican Elise Stefanik who has opposed the cap, saying it results in double taxation of the same income. Kathleen Rice and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, both New York Democrats, were the only state representatives not signing the letter. They agreed with Peter LaVenia, co-Chair of New York's Green Party, who wrote on Twitter, "Very disappointed to see my Rep. Paul Tonko, sign on to this letter calling for repeal of SALT cap. 96 percent of SALT repeal benefits would go to top quintile, 57 percent to top one percent and 25 percent to top 0.1 percent. SALT deduction is a handout to the rich that should be eliminated permanently." The issue is being forced now as the repeal will either be tied to President Joe Biden's infrastructure bill, or it will not pass for some time because of the razor-thin Democratic majority that can only get it through on that legislation's back. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

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