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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Nov 06, 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.

Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman that Rep. Pat Ryan believes that Americans should be able to watch sports for free and on Oct. 31 demanded an investigation by federal officials into sports “blackouts.” Ryan sent a letter to the United States Comptroller General and the commissioners, saying that team owners have exclusive control of their private business and who airs games, and they sell the rights to a patchwork of networks and streaming services, “leaving fans with no option but to pay thousands of dollars to watch their favorite teams on streaming services like Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and ESPN+.... Because of these monopolistic practices and ‘blackouts,’ fans still can’t do the one thing they want: watch their favorite teams play ball." Monday was a rare day when all four major professional sports leagues all played games, and Ryan seems miffed that they were not all on free television. Ryan says he has regulatory oversight over sports teams because of the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, where Congress granted sports leagues an antitrust exemption for their broadcasting agreements. This year Mets and Yankees games were blacked out 25 times each because the league sold exclusive rights to the games to streaming services such as Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Peacock. Ryan said, “Fans who wanted to watch every Mets game this season had to fork over more than $1,400 to a variety of streaming services to avoid blackouts." Ryan wants the Government Accountability Office to investigate. Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives failed to oust Rep. George Santos from their body on Nov. 1, with a vote for the expulsion of the Long Island Congressperson failing 213-to-179. Local Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro was one of the sponsors of the effort to remove Santos, who has been indicted for multiple crimes and exposed for multiple lies. Molinaro and Democrats Pat Ryan and Paul Tonko voted to expel Santos, but Rep. Elise Stefanik did not. Only 24 Republicans voted to expel Santos, while 182 voted to keep him in Congress. For the Democrats, 31 voted to keep Santos, with 155 for removal. The expulsion measure needed two-thirds support to pass. Santos, meanwhile, faces 23 felony charges.

Mid-Hudson News reports that Rep. Pat Ryan took to the floor of the House of Representatives on Nov. 1 in support of the current ban on dangerous barges being parked on the Hudson River. The Port of New York recently made an administrative change to its rules, allowing large barges up on the Hudson River. Here is what Ryan said on the House floor: Click here to download or play what Ryan said. Read more about this story at Mid-Hudson News.

Kevin Frey reports at New York State of Politics that while most Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives want to cut money to Amtrak in a new transportation funding bill, local Rep. Marc Molinaro does not. Republicans are proposing a massive, nearly two-thirds funding cut year-over-year for Amtrak. Locally, that incudes a $1 billion cut to the busy Northeast Corridor. Molinaro said, “It's one of the lines that makes money. It is responsible for a good number of jobs." Other New York-based Republicans are also against cuts to Amtrak. A “65 percent cut to Amtrak is a non-starter,” said Nassau County Rep. Anthony D’Esposito. Amtrak says the cuts would “radically reduce or suspend service on various routes across the nation, impacting our State Supported, Long Distance and Northeast Corridor services.” The full House was expected to vote on the transportation bill last week, but that was delayed because or protests from New York Republicans. Democrats who control the Senate want more money for Amtrak, so the final outcome for America's passenger rail service is in doubt. Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.