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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report 201900812

Aug 12, 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 4.7 percent of the time. Since Democrats took over the House of Representatives Tonko also votes with Trump's positions 2.3 percent of the time. In the previous Congressional session, Tonko voted with Trump 22.6 percent of the time. Congress is currently on its August recess. Click here to download or play an audio version of this report (9:51).

Steve Hughes and Lauren Stanforth at the Albany Times Union unpack the thoughts and prayers, as they round up reactions from New York political representatives to two horrific mass shootings in the United States. Twenty were killed in Texas, and another 10 in Ohio on Aug. 3 and 4. "Passing universal background checks is supported by more than 90 percent of Americans," Rep. Antonio Delgado said on Twitter. "While not a cure-all that would've stopped every shooting, it provides an urgently needed step towards improved gun safety amid the gun violence epidemic — a public health crisis — in the U.S." New York Senator Charles Schumer urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold an emergency Senate session to pass gun control legislation. "Sen. Mitch McConnell must call the Senate back for an emergency session to put the House-passed universal background checks legislation on the Senate floor for debate and a vote immediately," Schumer said in a tweet. McConnell did not give any hint that he might consider Schumer's proposal. "We stand with law enforcement as they continue working to keep Americans safe and bring justice," is about all McConnell would say on the issue. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Tweeted, "Gun violence in America is a public health epidemic — yet we have done almost nothing to address it." Gov. Andrew Cuomo was upset about the shootings too. "This insanity must stop and it must stop now," Cuomo said in his statement. "Those who are unwilling to do anything about it are complicit. I am sick of the excuses. I don't want to hear 'we can't' — because we know we can, and you just 'don't.'" Rep. Paul Tonko, who represents the 20th Congressional District including all of Albany County, did not release any comment on his website or social media. Read more about this story at the Albany Times Union.

Stephen Williams reports in the Daily Gazette that Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat representing Albany County and the rest of the 20th Congressional District, joined the debate on guns and mental health on Aug. 5, after 31 were killed in mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton this weekend. "If this perpetual tragedy drove a real national mobilization to get mental health services to the millions of Americans who need them, that at least would be something," Tonko wrote. "But I also know that Americans are 29 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than the people of any other developed nation. And it’s not because America has 29 times more mental illness. Science tells us it’s because we have vastly more guns." Tonko claims he's been working to lift the existing ban on federal funding for gun violence research. "Gun violence is a public health crisis and we need to treat it as such," he wrote, also asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow Senate votes on two bills that the House voted for earlier this year, for more, and more thorough, background checks on all gun sales. "Leader McConnell won’t even bring them up for debate," Tonko said. Read more about this story in the Daily Gazette.

Chris McKenna reports at The Fray that Ulster County Republican Mike Roth announced Aug. 3 on Facebook that he is running for the 19th Congressional seat now held by Democrat Antonio Delgado. Roth believes that Democrats are “trying to destroy our Republic by any means necessary.... From attempted treason, in order to overthrow legally elected President Trump, to flooding our country with illegal immigrants, Democrats are creating chaos where legal system is used to delay, stop of reverse actions of our President,” Roth wrote. “Our society is collapsing in front of our eyes where a few elected representatives, who hate our country, are running the whole Democrats’ Party toward Socialism, where ALL citizens will be at mercy of the totalitarian government.“ Ulster Republican Chairperson Roger Rascoe said Aug. 6 that five or six others have expressed interest in running, and that the GOP chairmen of the 11 counties in the 19th District will discuss the candidates soon. “We’re looking to see if maybe there will be a primary next year,” he said. Delgado defeated incumbent Republican John Faso in 2018, and has $1 million in campaign money as of June 30. Read more about this story at The Fray.

Chris McKenna is reporting for The Fray U.S. Reps. Antonio Delgado, Sean Patrick Maloney and Paul Tonko joined more than 200 of their fellow House Democrats in signing a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring senators back from recess to vote on two gun-control bills, following the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings. “We know background checks save lives,” the letter read. “Everyday background checks stop more than 170 felons and 50 domestic abusers from getting a gun.” The bills would increase the time for criminal background checks and would require that a gun dealer to conduct a background check before two people are able to transfer ownership of a gun. The Democratic-led House passed both measures in February. Maloney, a Cold Spring Democrat and member of the House’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said in a press release August 8, that he was calling on McConnell and Senate Republicans to "find the courage to do what's right" and approve the bills. "Anything less is negligence," Maloney wrote. Read the full story at The Fray.

• Neither Paul Tonko nor Antonio Delgado list any public events this week on their websites.
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