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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Jan 13, 2024 9:56 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.

Annie Karni in The New York Times reports that Rep. Marc Molinaro's first year in Congress was historic. The House of Representatives only voted for 27 bills that became law. That is an average of one law every two weeks. Many of the 27 bills passed were not substantial, such as naming a facility after someone. And Democrats provided more votes than the Republican majority to approve the most important governing bills, from funding the government to prevent a shutdown to raising the debt ceiling to avert a default. The Republican majority in the House held 724 votes in all, with only 27 becoming law, and that is more voting and less lawmaking than at any other time in the last decade, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. Last year, when Democrats had unified control of Congress, the House held 549 votes and passed 248 bills that were signed into law. The House did oust Republican serial-liar George Santos, and they also sanctioned three Democrats. But they. did not pass many laws. Read more about this story in The New York Times.

Mid-Hudson News reports that the Newburgh district office of Rep. Pat Ryan was vandalized by activists demanding the Democrat call for a ceasefire in the war in Gaza. The words “CEASEFIRE NOW” and “WAR CRIMINAL” were painted on the windows of Ryan's office on Broadway in Newburgh. Ryan continued to defend his support of the war in a statement, “War brings out the worst in humanity- making the urgent pursuit of peace both necessary and incredibly difficult to achieve." Ryan said he would support a ceasefire if certain benchmarks were reached first. But Ryan's demands before a ceasefire may not be realistic. The story says, "the likelihood that a new Palestinian government could be quickly constituted to end the bloodshed and that the new government would be able to negotiate a genuine two-state solution with Israel seems low." Several hundred people peacefully rallied in front of Ryan's office last month to convince him to support a ceasefire. Read more about this story at Mid-Hudson News.

Joshua Solomon reports for the Times Union that state Supreme Court Justice Christina L. Ryba rejected on Dec. 28 an attempt by Rep. Elise Stefanik and the Republican Party to temporarily suspend a new state law allowing any registered voter in New York to cast their ballot early by mail. The Republicans argue that the law violates the constitution, and will now make their case to an appellate court in Albany. Democrats in the legislature passed, and Gov. Kathy Hochul signed, the law allowing any registered voter to vote by mail. Before, voters needed an excuse to vote by mail, such as being away in the military. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the state allowed temporary voting by mail without any major problems. But Stefanik and the other Republicans say a constitutional amendment must be passed to allow voting by mail. The judge, though, ruled that the Republicans did not demonstrate they would face “irreparable harm” under the new law. At the same time that they are challenging the issue in court, Stefanik and the New York Republicans have been pushing “legal ballot harvesting” and encouraging its constituents to enroll to vote by mail to win the 2024 elections. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Jack Arpey reports for New York State of Politics that New York's Independent Redistricting Commission met on Dec. 28, charged yet again with drawing congressional boundaries. Chair Ken Jenkins said, “We’ll meet as much as is required to make sure the date is accomplished." This is the third attempt by the commission to construct congressional boundary lines. The commission has until Feb. 28 to announce the new lines. The Congressional map has changed several times since the 2020 census, as courts and the legislature have rejected maps from the commission and a special master appointed for the task. In 2022, New York Congressional elections helped shoft control of the House of Representatives from Democrats to Republicans, and the 2024 election is expected to be just as pivotal in New York. Read more ahout this story at New York State of Politics.

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