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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

May 01, 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.

On April 19, Democrat Pat Ryan voted with Republicans to deny democracy to the citizens of the District of Columbia. Residents there elected their own representatives to pass laws for them, but last week Ryan and the Republican majority in the House of Representatives voted to overturn decisions by those elected officials. Ryan voted for Disapproving the action of the District of Columbia Council in approving the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act along with all the Republicans voting in the House, including local representatives Marc Molinaro and Elise Stefanik. Local Democrat Paul Tonko voted against the measure to overturn what the representatives elected by the people of the District of Columbia passed. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and several islands in the Pacific Ocean do not get to participate in the same representative democracy that the rest of America does.

Raymond Pignone reports for Columbia-Greene Media that the group End Citizens Unite has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on April 11 alleging that Rep. Marc Molinaro violated election campaign law by making two transfers of $1,000 each from his State Campaign Committee to his Federal Campaign Committee in 2021 and 2022. The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits federal candidates from transferring funds from their state committees to their federal committees. The complaint says, “The Commission should immediately investigate these apparent violations and take appropriate remedial actions against [the] respondents.” Also named in the complaint are Marc for US Inc. and treasurer Nicholas Joseph, and Molinaro for Dutchess. Molinaro campaign advisor Dave Catalfamo said, “This is a baseless partisan attack from a socialist group,.... It is clearly designed to distract from Congressman Molinaro’s successful 100-Day Report, in which he announced he is fulfilling campaign promises and delivering bipartisan results. Bawadden Sayed and the rest of the socialist activists are free to take up their baseless complaint with the FEC.” The statement from Molinaro's campaign advisor avoids any specifics, while the complaint does not. “On Oct. 1, 2021, less than two weeks after filing for federal candidacy, Mr. Molinaro transferred $1,000 from his state committee to his federal committee and disclosed the transfer on his state committee’s campaign finance reports,” according to the complaint. “The transfer from the state committee was not disclosed on the federal committee’s reports filed with the Commission. However, the federal committee’s FEC reports did disclose a contribution of personal funds from Mr. Molinaro in the amount of $1,000 on Sept. 30, 2021, designated for the primary election.” Molinaro has represented the 19th Congressional District in Congress since January. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.

The New Republic reports that Rep. Elise Stefanik, who represents Rensselaer County and the North Country in Congress, often complains about crime, but not when it happens in her 21st Congressional District. Last week a 65-year-old homeowner, Kevin Monahan, fired two shots and killed 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis, who was in the passenger seat of a car that mistakenly pulled into a wrong driveway. Stefanik Tweeted once about how her “heart breaks for the tragedy of the loss of Kaylin Gillis’ young life,” but did not offer any legislative solutions. Last week was invited to join a House Judiciary Committee hearing that falsely framed New York as awash in crime. Even with more than 160 mass shootings this year in America, after the Nashville school shooting Stefanik called attempts for gun control “overly political," and again, did not offer any legislative solutions for the problem. Read more about this story in the New Republic.

Maury Thompson reports in The Post-Star that Rep. Paul Tonko is still trying to ban online and television advertising of sports gambling, but is not getting much help. Tonko introduced legislation to prohibit online and television advertising of sports gambling on Feb. 9, but so far his HR 967 bill has no co-sponsors. And Tonko's legislation is being criticized because sports gambling advertising is protected by the First Amendment. Going it alone so far, Tonko says, “We’re very serious about this issue.... It’s operating in a mostly unregulated, Wild West environment.” While Tonko criticizes gambling advertising as "relentless" he says, “I make it clear that I am not against legalized sports gambling.... It’s the advertising that we’re focused on.” Tonko, who represents Albany County and the rest of the 20th Congressional District, is also only concerned about ads for sports gambling, but not other gambling, as his proposed legislation would not ban advertising for state lottery games. Read more about this story in The Post-Star.

CNN reports that House Republicans on April 26 voted for a bill to increase the federal debt limit, but it comes with all sorts of budget cuts that mean it will not pass in the Senate. Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota admitted the theatricality of the vote, saying, “This is the first conversation. The next conversation is what comes next and we know that and this is part of negotiation." Locally, Republicans Marc Molinaro and Elise Stefanik voted for the bill, while Democrats Pat Ryan and Paul Tonko voted against. Ryan complained on the House floor that the measure would cut funding for all discretionary programs, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Meals on Wheels, Head Start, the State Opioid Response Program, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Ryan said, “In New York alone, my home state, it threatens food assistance to 54,000 people and cuts pre-school and childcare for 17,000 kids. It puts at risk Meals on Wheels for over one million seniors nationwide and would cut $30 billion in support to our veterans." Read more about this story at the CNN website.

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