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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Jun 26, 2023 6:03 pm

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.

Nick Reisman at New York State of Politics reports that crime and public safety continue to be Republican campaign issues. Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, said this week, "we're working on that, but we've made great strides." Really, Democrats have done two things on the crime issue recently. They made some changes to the bail laws, including a provision granting judges more discretion in setting bail in a wider array of cases. And legislators just passed the Clean Slate Act, that would seal an estimated two million criminal records. Hochul has not said yet whether she will sign that bill. But she seemed to hint she would saying, "This is driven by the business community at a time of great worker shortages, but we're going to have a lot of safeguards in place." Republicans, such as Assemblyperson Mike Reilly, said, "It seems like we give those who are criminals and those who are incarcerated more rights than the victims that they assault, that they murder." Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican who represents Rensselaer County and the rest of the 21st Congressional District, released a statement June 20 after the Justice Department charged Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden's son, with federal tax and weapons offenses. Stefanik said, “This is the epitome of the politicization and Weaponization of Joe Biden’s Department of Justice as they give a slap on the wrist to President Biden’s son – a tax fraud and corrupt pay-to-play criminal. It’s never been more clear that we have a two-tiered system of justice." The other Hudson Valley Republican representative, Marc Molinaro, did not release a statement about Biden, but continued to clamor for the censure of California Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, though Molinaro has not said why, exactly, Schiff deserves censure.

Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman the Republican Marc Molinaro flipped his vote to table a measure to censure Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff. Both local Republicans, Molinaro and Elise Stefanik, sided with censuring Schiff for criticizing former President Donald Trump, while local Democrats Pat Ryan and Paul Tonko voted against. The vote to table the censure measure failed 208-to-218 on June 21. Schiff, a California-based Democrat, became the 25th House lawmaker to be censored. Republicans did not like comments he made several years ago about investigations into Trump’s ties to Russia. Molinaro did not say exactly why he voted to censure Schiff in a statement, saying, “Adam Schiff dishonored himself and our nation....When Nancy Pelosi was Speaker, I was disgusted that she punished Republicans without due process." Ryan was clear about his vote against censure, saying, “My constituents in the Hudson Valley sent me here to focus on delivering relief and defending fundamental rights.... Instead, MAGA extremists are holding up Congress for multiple weeks, voting on hyper-partisan resolutions rather than addressing the surge in gun violence, protecting women’s reproductive freedom, or combating inflation.” Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

John L. Dorman reports for Business Insider that Rep. Elise Stefanik, the Republican who represents Rensselaer County and the rest of the 21st Congressional District, now wants to expunge the impeachments of former President Donald Trump. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he is in favor of the effort, but has not said when, specifically, he would bring a vote to the floor. Jonathan Turley, a professor at the George Washington University Law School, told Reuters Stefanik is making up something that does not exist in the U.S. Constitution. He said, "It is not like a constitutional DUI. Once you are impeached, you are impeached." Read more about this story in Business Insider.

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