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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report 20190604

Jun 04, 2019 12:01 am
This is WGXC's Congressional Report, tracking the votes, words, and actions of Rep. Antonio Delgado, a Democrat from Rhinebeck representing the 19th Congressional District, and Paul Tonko, a Democrat from Amsterdam from the 20th Congressional District. The Fivethirtyeight.com website reports that, so far, the first-term Congressperson Delgado votes with Donald Trump's positions zero percent of the time. Since Democrats took over the House of Representatives Tonko also votes with Trump's positions zero percent of the time. In the previous Congressional session, Tonko voted with Trump 22.6 percent of the time. Click here to download or play an audio version of this report (15:02).

• Congress was not in session this past week and both Tonko and Delgado held town hall meetings.

• Tonko held a climate forum at Hudson Valley Community College on May 28. WOOC's Mark Dunlea heard some of the remarks of the Congressperson, who represents Albany County and other parts of the Capitol Region.

Dan Freedman in the Albany Times Union reports that after Special Counsel Robert Mueller pointed out May 29 that it is up to Congress to impeach a president who has clearly committed crimes, one of the Hudson Valley representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives changed their opinion. Now Antonio Delgado, Sean Patrick Maloney, Democrats, and Republican Elise Stefanik are all against impeachment, and Paul Tonko is in favor of beginning an impeachment inquiry. "I did not come to Washington to impeach the president,” said Rep. Antonio Delgado, a Democrat from Rhinebeck. “However, I also did not come here to have the president steamroll Congress's constitutional duty to protect the rule of law and pursue the truth wherever that might lead." Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican from Schuylerville, agreed impeachment is not required, but only commented on Mueller listing Russian interference in the 2016 elections. "There was clear and intentional meddling in our elections by Russia, and Congress must hold them accountable," Stefanik said. "That's why I have already introduced four bills this Congress to combat Russian interference in our democracy." On May 28 Democrat Paul Tonko held a town hall meeting only about climate change at Hudson Valley Community College. He did not address impeachment, and has only rarely commented on the Mueller report. On May 9, Tonko, who represents Albany County, and other counties, said, "The special counsel's team found ample evidence of troubling and possibly illegal activity by the Trump campaign, including numerous actions that could amount to obstruction of justice," but the Congressperson has not endorsed impeachment. But on June 3, Tonko posted on Facebook that he had changed his mind. "After careful review of the evidence and testimony currently available, and in service to my oath, it is my judgment that Congress needs to accept the baton being handed to us by now former Special Counsel Mueller and open an impeachment inquiry to more fully assess the Constitutional implications of seemingly criminal actions by the President and his campaign, and to determine whether formal impeachment charges need to be filed." On May 22, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, a Democrat in the southern Hudson Valley, said "Stay the course," referring the current plan from Democratic leadership in the U.S. House to continue to investigate the president without calling it impeachment. After Mueller spoke May 29, Maloney said, “I have one simple request: read the report. Listen to it on tape. Call my office, and we’ll read it to you.” New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who is also running for president, stepped up her calls for impeachment hearings after Mueller spoke May 29. “The White House has repeatedly stonewalled Congress' ability to take basic fact-finding steps and make an informed decision,” Gillibrand said in a statement. “Combined with the fact that Robert Mueller clearly expects Congress to exercise its constitutional authority and take steps that he could not, it's time for Republicans and Democrats to begin impeachment hearings and follow the facts wherever they may lead.” New York's other senator, Chuck Schumer, has not called for impeachment. Mueller said May 29, “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

• While Paul Tonko came out in favor of a the House of Representatives beginning an impeachment inquiry, Antonio Delgado spent time answering questions about why he is not in favor of beginning the impeachment process. Delgado held two town hall meetings last week, May 28 in Ulster County and June 1 in Schoharie County. At the latter event, Delgado spent the first 30 minutes answering questions from constituents about impeachment-related matters.

• Tonko and Delgado both do not list any local events on their websites next week. Tonko never lists any events, and Delgado only lists events his staff organizes, not just events he attends.
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