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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Jun 18, 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.

David Lee reports in The Columbia Paper Rep. Marc Molinaro said conflicting statements about local broadband recently. Molinaro, who represents the 19th Congressional District, said in a press release, “Rural communities can no longer be an afterthought. For too long, rural communities in Columbia County, Greene County, and across Upstate New York have had to deal with significant gaps in internet connectivity and deteriorating infrastructure.” So many people locally lack internet service. But then, June 2 at the Ghent firehouse, Molinaro said, “I want to commend Columbia County and former Congressman Delgado who worked together with Assemblymember Barrett very effectively to move both your planning process forward and investment.... Now we are not in the last mile, but the last hundred feet." The New York State Public Service Commission Broadband Map says Columbia County is 95.9 percent covered. But others say things are not so good. Andrew Ledoux, dean of Student Development at Columbia-Greene Community College said that in a survey conducted last year, 27 percent of students at the college reported that cellular and internet access at home was a barrier for them. Read more about this story in The Upstater.

Mid-Hudson News reports that Rep. Pat Ryan is joining other Democrats in trying to get around the Republican majority in the House of Representatives to force floor votes on an assault weapons ban, universal background checks, and closing the Charleston Loophole. They need to get 218 representatives to sign on, so the Democrats need a few Republicans to join them in an attempt to lessen the gun violence in the United States. Ryan is vice chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, and represents the 18th Congressional District. Ryan said, "We’re not going to wait for Kevin McCarthy, his MAGA extremist allies, who all day long lecture about public safety and crime.... You want to talk about public safety? Let’s stop having our kids gunned down by the same weapons that I carried in combat for 27 months. That’s public safety.” Read more about this story at Mid-Hudson News.

On June 14 Republican Marc Molinaro voted with 19 other Republicans and all Democrats to table a motion, "Censuring and condemning Adam Schiff, Representative of California’s 30th Congressional District." Molinaro voted with local Democrats Paul Tonko and Pat Ryan to table the motion, effectively killing a bill backed by the Republican leadership. Republican Elise Stefanik, who represents Rensselaer County and the rest of the 21st Congressional District, voted against tabling the motion that condemned Schiff “for conduct that misleads the American people in a way that is not befitting an elected Member of the House of Representatives.” The Hill reported that part of the motion said Schiff could be fined $16 million if the Ethics Committee finds that he “lied, made misrepresentations, and abused sensitive information.” Schiff is a prominent Democrat who is often interviewed on cable news shows. Last week a far-right group of representatives broke with Republican leadership to halt all proceedings in the House of Representatives. This week, 20 more moderate Republicans, including Molinaro, are breaking from leadership on this vote.

Nick Reisman reports at New York State of Politics that Rep. Paul Tonko unveiled proposed legislation last week that would expand Medicaid coverage for medication-assisted treatment for addiction. The Democrat, who represents Albany County and the 20th Congressional District, says he has bipartisan backing for the bill, as members of both party want to combat the rise in overdose deaths in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Currently, about 87 percent of people with an opioid use disorder do not receive medication-assisted treatment and studies have shown treatment for addiction can reduce the risk of overdose death. Tonko said, “Addressing the disease of addiction must include a compassionate response bolstered by the pillars of prevention, treatment, and recovery.... For years, I’ve pushed hard to ensure that individuals living with addiction have access to the treatments they need." Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

Kevin Frey reports for New York State of Politics that Republicans running for Congress in next year's elections in New York will be talking about the mayor of New York City busing migrants into other towns and cities in New York. They will not be mentioning the Republican governors of Florida and Texas, who are using planes and buses to move migrants around the country for political reasons. “New York City is transporting a crisis to counties all across the state of New York,” said Rep. Marc Molinaro in an interview on June 15. Molinaro, who represents the 19th Congressional District, also already has a bill that would stop Gov. Kathy Hochul from sheltering migrants on state university campuses. New York Democrats are saying their concern is not politics. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, running for reelection next year, said, “My concern is that there is a humanitarian crisis with families, with children who are suffering deeply.” Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

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