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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Oct 22, 2023 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 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st Congressional seats in New York. Democrat Pat Ryan is representing the 18th Congressional District, Republican Marc Molinaro represents the 19th Congressional District, Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko represents the 20th District, and Republican Elise Stefanik represents the 21st District. Click here to listen to this report.

The New York Times reports that Reps. Elise Stefanik and Marc Molinaro both backed Jim Jordan on Oct. 17 in his first attempt to become Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Stefanik even nominated Jordan, but his effort failed with 20 Republicans voting for other candidates. Both Hudson Valley Democrats, Paul Tonko and Pat Ryan, voted for Democrat Hakeem Jeffries, who got 12 more votes than Jordan. New York's Lee Zeldin, who does not currently hold any office and lost to Gov. Kathy Hochul last November, got three votes to become Speaker of the House. Read more about this story in The New York Times.

Andrea Macko reports in Porcupine Soup that there is an “Interfaith Rally for Peace in Support of Israel” in Catskill Oct. 18 and a "Free Palestine Rally" in Hudson on Oct. 20. The first requires showing a photo identification at Temple Israel of Catskill at 7 p.m. The other is organized by the Hudson Muslim Youth at 6 p.m. at Promenade Hill Center in Hudson. Rabbi Zoe B. Zak said of the Oct. 18 event, “My friends, you are invited and it’s important that we come together. It’s important we find out how we can help. It’s important to be there for one another." The Hudson Muslim Youth said, “It is our responsibility to resist violence in our country, and abroad… We must stand and defend the right of Palestinians, and all colonized people to resist occupation and fight for freedom by any means necessary." The Hamas group attacked Israel last week, and since then the region has been engulfed in bloodshed and chaos. President Joe Biden, Gov. Kathy Hochul, and Senator Chuck Schumer all made visits to Israel this week. Rep. Marc Molinaro requested that sheriffs across New York’s 19th Congressional District remain vigilant about any potential unlawful activities targeting Jewish centers, synagogues, and the Jewish community, saying this, “as Khaled Meshaa, the former chief of the terrorist organization Hamas, called for global protests and for other countries to join the war against Israel.” Read more about this story in Porcupine Soup.

Kevin Frey reports for New York One that the six Republicans who won so-called swing districts in New York in the 2022 election are split on who should be House Speaker. The six are largely credited with giving Republicans a slim, five-seat majority. But now Reps. Marc Molinaro, Brandon Williams, and George Santos voted for Jim Jordan to be House Speaker on two votes on Oct. 17 and 18. But he other three — Reps. Mike Lawler, Anthony D’Esposito, and Nick LaLota — backed other candidates. D’Esposito is opposed to Jordan’s past votes opposing aid for victims of 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy and to shut down the government. LaLota says he has been talking with Jordan, and Lawler is backing former speaker Kevin McCarthy. Molinaro, who represents the 19th Congressional District, told reporters last week that people “don’t give a s--t who the speaker of the House is, they care if we are functioning and delivering for them” and now that two votes for Jordan have failed he said, “I made a choice because I felt two very important things: We need to unite the conference and we need to govern. I gave that opportunity.... But at this point, very clearly, we need to govern. And if we as a conference can’t coalesce around a singular candidate, we at the very least coalesce around the responsibility to govern.” Molinaro now says temporarily empowering the caretaker speaker, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, is the best next step. Democratic Rep. Pat Ryan, who represents the 18th Congressional District, is no fan of Jordan, saying, “Not supporting a known insurrectionist, who is also incredibly incompetent, and nasty and divisive — that should just be what every member did.... You would think in a moment like this, we’d see some moderate step forward, not just in an oppositional way to block a bad candidate, but to actually say, ‘This is what the American people want: a bipartisan way forward.’” Read more about this story at New York One.

Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman that after voting unsuccessfully twice for Jim Jordan for Speaker of the House, Rep. Marc Molinaro now says he supports an alternative solution. Molinaro, who now lives in Catskill, voted for Jordan, who continues to say that the 2020 presidential election was somehow stolen without presenting any evidence. Now, Molinaro has had enough, saying, “We have been without a Speaker for nearly two weeks, putting on hold priorities like fighting inflation and securing the border.... At the same time we have witnessed savage attacks against our ally Israel which threatens to destabilize the region. We have to get back to governing.” Now Molinaro is wants interim Speaker Pro-tempore Rep. Patrick McHenry to have more powers to reopen the House and conduct business until January. Molinaro said, “As we work within the Republican Conference to elect a permanent Speaker, I support empowering Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry on an interim basis.... Time is a luxury we do not have and this will allow us to get back to governing.” It took Republicans 15 ballots to elect Kevin McCarthy as speaker in January, while Steve Scalise has already taken his name out of consideration and Jordan has lost two votes. On a third vote Oct. 20, Molinaro did not back Jordan, and did not vote for McHenry either. Instead he voted for Lee Zeldin, who does not hold any office now and lost as the Republican nominee for governor last year. Jordan failed again to win enough votes again on that third try. Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

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