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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report 20180925

Sep 22, 2018 11:45 am
Here's the week in the news for Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook), the District 19 Congressperson for the WGXC listening area. The Fivethirtyeight.com website currently reports Faso votes with Donald Trump's positions 90.0 percent of the time, with the House of Representatives back in session this week. Fivethirtyeight.com also currently predicts Faso has a 44.9 percent chance of winning re-election, rating Democrat Antonio Delgado at 55.1 percent. Click here to download or play an audio version of this report (14:14).

• A busload of Democrats came from New York City to Kingston Sept. 15 to canvas and make phone calls for Antonio Delgado in his election against incumbent Republican John Faso in New York's 19th Congressional District. Faso, on Twitter, seemed upset about that fact. "Our campaign relies on #NY19 volunteers, whereas @DelgadoforNY19 is bussing Democratic-Socialists up from Manhattan. Speaks volumes. We need a Congressman who fights and makes a difference for #NY19, not NYC interests." There is no evidence from Faso, or anywhere else WGXC could find, that the bus was full of "Democratic-Socialists." The group Vote Blue 2018 put the bus trip together, and according to their Facebook page, is, "Dedicated to illustrating the reasons why we need to turn Congress Democratic in the November... elections. Help end governance by sabotage!" Faso's claim seems to be, at the least, a large exaggeration.

MidHudsonNews [dot] com is reporting in advance of the arrival of the remnants of Hurricane Florence in the region this week, U.S. Rep. John Faso has asked the New York City Department of Environmental Protection about its preparedness to address reservoir levels. “New York City utilizes some of the most technologically advances tools to monitor its water supply,” said Faso. “Ensuring that these reservoirs maintain the necessary capacity to safely handle heavy rain events is incredibly important to the safety of downstream residents and communities.” DEP Deputy Commissioner Paul Rush said Florence could bring between one and four inches of rain to the Catskills sometime around September 18. In a written response to Faso, Rush noted that last month was the wettest August on record for the Catskill-Delaware watershed — several parts received more than 300 percent of the typical monthly rainfall, causing reservoirs to refill during a time when they usually draw down. “In recent weeks, DEP has also chosen to rely more heavily on our reservoirs in the Catskills to meet the needs of water consumers in New York City,” Rush wrote. “These operational adjustments have created free space in the reservoirs to enhance the flood-attenuation benefits that their dams already provide.” Read the full story at MidHudsonNews [dot] com.

The Daily Freeman is reporting the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, Third Judicial Department ruled September 17, that independent Congressional candidate Diane Neal's name can appear on the November 6 ballot. The decision overturned a lower-court ruling that Neal’s petitions for an independent line on the ballot lacked sufficient signatures. That lower-court ruling affirmed a determination by the state Board of Elections. The appeals court sided with Neal’s argument that the invalidation of her petitions should be dismissed because she was not properly served notice of the petition deficiencies. “With this behind us, our campaign restarts in earnest immediately,” Neal, a Hurley resident, said in a statement issued by her campaign. “... We’re excited to be back on the ballot, and we’re not resting until the polls close on November 6." This makes Neal one of three candidates looking to unseat first-term U.S. Rep. John Faso this fall, along with Democrat Antonio Delgado and Green Party nominee Steve Greenfield. Neal's name will appear on the “Friends of Diane Neal” line. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.

• Many groups are releasing Congressional ratings for representatives ahead of the mid-term elections in November. The Arts Action Fund’s 2018 Congressional Arts Report Card gave Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) an "A" rating. He got the high grade mostly for signing several letters with other representatives saying they were against cutting funding to federal arts programs and for participating in the 2018 annual Congressional Art Competition. The American Civil Liberties Union, on the other hand, gives Faso an 18 percent rating. Faso voted against curtailing government spying on Americans, and voting for a mass deportation bill that would expand mandatory detentions of immigrants. Faso is running against Democrat Antonio Delgado in November. The NRCC released another attack television ad against Delgado Sept. 18. Like their other ad, this one is more a negative music review of Delgado's 2006 hip hop album, that distorts his lyrics claiming Delgado's songs are against "the War on Terror" and minimize the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Dan Freedman is reporting for the Times Union a massive bipartisan opioids bill working its way through Congress includes a measure on Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage written by U.S. Rep. John Faso. Faso's bill, the Medicare Opioid Safety Education Act of 2018, would require the Department of Health and Human Services to include warnings about opioids and alternative options for pain relief in the online introduction to Medicare that seniors view when signing up. Faso said his proposal is intended to help seniors to understand the threat they face when doctors prescribe opioids for pain relief. Faso said he was “shocked” to hear that 30 percent of prescriptions written under Medicare Part D were for opioids. “That’s a big number,” he said. “The potential for abuse is not just among the young and middle aged, but the elderly as well.” The Opioid Crisis Response Act, passed the Senate September 17, on a vote of 99 to 1. The measure must be voted on again by the House before it is signed into law. That vote could come next week, Faso said. The drug-addiction crisis took 72,000 lives nationwide in 2017, 12 percent more than in 2016. Opioid addiction takes the lives of 115 people a day, according to one estimate. New York ranks 22nd nationwide in opioid overdose deaths with a rate of 15.1 per 100,000 population, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Read the full story in the Times Union.

William J. Kemble writes in The Daily Freeman that while Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) votes with Donald Trump 90 percent of the time, he says "he can stand up to his Trump-allied campaign contributors if Special Counsel Robert Mueller reports that the president has broken the law." Faso also says, “I’m not influenced by a campaign donation.... I appreciate the support I receive to run an election but I’m my own person and I will make my decisions by what I think is in the public interest and nothing else.” Over the years, Kemble says, Faso has received campaign contributions from Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s media lawyer/spokesman Rudy Giuliani, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Trump. “I’ve said right from the beginning that Mr. Mueller should complete his investigation and let the chips fall where they may,” he said. “We don’t know what he’s going to conclude. Obviously he’s making progress on his investigation but I’m going to wait and see what he says and I’m going to wait and call it as I see it at that point.” Faso's Democratic opponent Antonio Delgado would not criticize the Congressperson in this issue. “I don’t have a window into John Faso’s mind,” Delgado said. Green Party candidate Steve Greenfield says there is already enough evidence to impeach Trump, but then says, “I believe that John Faso actually could weigh the Mueller report without his donations sources being the principal influence on how he’s going to feel about that,” despite Faso not agreeing with him on the impeachment evidence. Read the full story in The Daily Freeman.

Andrew Solender reports in City and State that three-fourths of donations to John Faso and Antonio Delgado, the major party candidates running in the 19th Congressional District election this November, have come from out of the district. A third of their fundraising totals – Delgado has raised $2.7 million and Faso $2.3 million – comes from outside New York state. But Delgado only gets seven percent of donations from political action committees, and just over half of his donations are over $1,000. Several employees at his former law firm Akin Gump, have donated nearly $200,000 to him, which is the largest single group donating to the Democrat. By contrast, 35 percent of Faso's fundraising comes from PACs, and 50 percent of his contributions are over $1,000. Faso has received $271,000 from the financial sector, his largest source of money. Diana and Robert Mercer, the billionaire backers of Steve Bannon and Brexit, hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, and three members of New York City’s billionaire Tisch family are Faso's largest contributors, according to City and State. "The only people I am beholden to are the people right here in our district,” Delgado said, despite the amount of money he has raised from outside the district. Delgado also is not quite truthful saying, “we have taken a pledge not to take any corporate PAC money, unlike my opponent John Faso.” Faso’s campaign would not comment. Read the full story in City and State.

Laura Nahmias and Bill Mahoney reports at Politico that despite complaints from Rep. John Faso that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is behind the Antonio Delgado campaign, Cuomo has done virtually nothing to help any of New York's Democrats challenging Republicans in House races this fall. "Through the end of July, the most recent date for which federal spending reports are available, the state party, controlled by the governor, hasn’t reported making any direct contributions to any of the Democratic House candidates in this cycle. Its federal committee filings showed no independent expenditures, and no coordinated expenditures," Politico reports. “I charge Congressmen [John] Faso and [Chris] Collins with violating their office to represent the people of the state of New York,” the governor said a year ago about the Republican representatives. “Our message to Leader Pelosi is this: We stand to fight with you and the fight to take back America starts in New York and it starts today." But while Cuomo and Faso have had Twitter wars over the past year, the governor is not actually working to get Delgado elected in his place. In August Cuomo formed a federal Political Action Committee called “Cuomo NY Take Back the House,” and donated $2,700 to Democrat Delgado. Cuomo spends that amount on his own campaign every 80 minutes during the primary. Two anonymous Congressional campaign officials tell Politico that the Cuomo camp has had either none, or very little, contact with their campaigns. “For eight years it’s been a lot of sound and fury and it hasn’t signified very much,” said New York Working Families Party Executive Director Bill Lipton. “It’s been a lot of rallies and press releases, and nothing of real significance." Read the full story at Politico.
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