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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Jan 07, 2023 12:03 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. Current Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko, from the 20th District, votes with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Republican Elise Stefanik, currently representing the 21st District, votes with Biden's positions 19.3 percent of the time. Democrat Pat Ryan will represent the 18th Congressional District in January, when Republican Marc Molinaro takes over representing the 19th Congressional District. Click here to listen to this report.

Joshua Solomon reports in the Times Union that almost two weeks after the New York Times uncovered an extreme list of lies from Long Island Congressman-elect George Santos, Rep. Elise Stefanik still has not made any comment about her new fellow Republican representative. There are now multiple investigations into the background of the newly elected Congressperson and the sources of his personal wealth and campaign funds. Santos has also lied about his mother's death (claiming it had something to do with the 9/11 attack), falsely claimed his grandparents "survived the Holocaust," and falsely claimed he was half Black. Last May, Stefanik Tweeted a photo with Santos following a campaign fundraiser. "WOW! Great lunch event," she wrote. "George has my complete and total endorsement and come November, New Yorkers will send George to Congress!" Stefanik Tweeted. Another Republican Congressperson, Marc Molinaro, who was elected for the 19th Congressional District, briefly commented on the issue, telling the Democrat & Chronicle that, "this revelation from my colleague is disappointing and distracts from the important work ahead of us." a href="https://www.timesunion.com/state/article/Stefanik-remains-silent-on-Santos-as-she-rallies-17685850.php?IPID=Times-Union-HP-state-package">Read the full story in the Times Union.

Kevin McCarthy did not get enough support in his first vote to become speaker of the House of Representatives on Jan. 3. But McCarthy did get the votes of local Republican representatives Elise Stefanik and Marc Molinaro. Stefanik even nominated McCarthy, a California Republican who was Minority Leader, but did not get enough votes to become Speaker of the House. Here is an excerpt of Stefanik's nomination speech: CLICK HERE TO PLAY SHORT EXCERPT OF NOMINATION SPEECH. The final vote had a Democrat in the lead, as Hakeem Jeffries got all 212 Democrat votes. Republicans split their votes between McCarthy, with 203 votes, followed by ultra-conservative Andy Biggs with ten votes, Jim Jordan from Ohio with six votes, Jim Banks from Indiana with one vote, New York's Lee Zeldin with one vote, and Byron Donalds of Florida with one vote. To become House Speaker, 218 votes are needed. Stefanik represents the 21st Congressional District which now includes Rensselaer County, and Molinaro just took office from the 19th Congressional District. Local Democrats Pat Ryan, from the 18th Congressional District, and Paul Tonko, of the 20th Congressional District, both voted for Jeffries. Now, the House of Representatives will continue to hold votes for the speaker position until someone gets the 218 vote majority. No other business will be done in the House of Representatives until a speaker is chosen. Since Republicans only have a four-vote majority, and lots of internal divisions, it could take many votes for a speaker to emerge. A second vote for Speaker of the House happened right after the first failed vote, but that also ended with McCarthy failing to get the 218 needed votes.

Patricia R. Doxsey reports in the Daily Freeman that Democrat Pat Ryan and Republican Marc Molinaro are swearing they will both work across the aisle in Congress if they can ever be sworn in to their new roles. Ryan was sworn in last summer, replacing Democrat Antonio Delgado for the final weeks of his term in the 19th Congressional District. But then, because of redistricting, Ryan won the 18th Congressional District in the fall's election, and Molinaro won the 19th District seat. Now, though, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has, over and over again, failed to elect a Speaker of the House, and no other business, including swearing in members, can happen until a speaker is chosen. Ryan said, “It’s definitely disappointing Republicans can’t seem to come together at a time when clearly we’ve got to come together and work to restore trust in our democracy.... I’m just trying to get sworn in and do my job.” Ryan also addressed working with the four-vote Republican majority. He said, “We may appear more divided than ever, but it is my job first and foremost to serve the Hudson Valley.... I’ll work with anyone, regardless of party, who wants to serve their constituents and get things done. And I’ll never hesitate to call out those who dishonor this institution and this country. The stakes are too high right now for anything else,” he said. Molinaro also said he will work with both Republicans and Democrats to deliver “commonsense results that create economic opportunity, address our crumbling infrastructure, and improve public safety.” Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

Kenneth C. Crowe II reports in the Times Union that Rep. Elise Stefanik plans to open a district office in Rensselaer County’s new office building on Route 4, Rensselaer County officials said on Jan. 4. Stefanik, a Saratoga County Republican, now represents Rensselaer County, after political boundaries shifted last year. Stefanik's new office in East Greenbush will open next month. County Executive Steve McLaughlin said in a statement, that, "This will help expand convenience and access to important services for our residents by having Congresswoman Stefanik’s offices in Rensselaer County." Stefanik now represents all of Rensselaer County except the cities of Troy and Rensselaer and half of the town of North Greenbush. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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