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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Feb 14, 2022 11:03 am

Here is this week's WGXC Congressional Report, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives and candidates for the 19th and 20th Congressional seats in New York. Current Democrat Reps. Antonio Delgado and Paul Tonko vote with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Click here to listen to this report.

Luis Ferré-Sadurní reports for The New York Times that on Feb. 3 a Republican-led group of voters filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn New York’s new congressional maps as unconstitutional. Democratic lawmakers in Albany last week approved district lines that would favor their party election's for the next decade. “This court should reject it as a matter of substance, as the map is an obviously unconstitutional partisan and incumbent-protection gerrymander,” said the lawsuit, which was brought by 14 voters. The lawsuit that claims the redistricting “brazenly enacted a congressional map that is undeniably politically gerrymandered in their party’s favor” was filed in State Supreme Court in Steuben County, a Republican stronghold in the state’s Southern Tier. The courts, however, have never turned down a map approved by the Legislature. "The state courts are really going to be really reluctant to overturn a state legislatively enacted plan," said Jeffrey Wice, who heads the New York Census and Redistricting Institute. “The question is whether the court will reject 50 years of precedent and reject the plan." Read more about this story in The New York Times.

Tonko and Delgado shared several votes this week in Congress. Both voted for the Postal Service Reform Act, which passed Feb. 9 342-92 with support from all Democrats and many Republicans, including Elise Stefanik. The upstate Republican did not join Delgado and Tonko in passing the Global Respect Act 227-206 on Feb. 9. The bill imposes visa-blocking sanctions on foreign persons responsible for or complicit in violating the human rights of individuals due to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics.

Shaniece Holmes-Brown reports in the Times Union that Rep. Paul Tonko held an online press conference Feb. 5. The Democrat who represents Albany County and other Capital Region areas in the 20th Congressional District, used it as a chance to crow about the America COMPETES Act that passed in the House of Representatives on Feb. 4. “It takes a number of steps to enhance our global competitiveness by fixing broken supply chains, boosting American semiconductor manufacturing, and turbo-charging American scientific and technological leadership,” said Tonko of the bill with $52 billion in grants and subsidies and $45 million to help the supply chain. “The $45 billion will go a long way to enable (supply chains) to compete ... with greater efficacy,” Tonko said. He said the Albany Nanotech Center may benefit if the Senate also passes the bill, and President Joe Biden signs it into law because of the $52 billion in the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America Act. “Semiconductors are essential components to countless consumer goods, goods that we use every day,” Tonko said. Since the interview, Tonko's Republican opponent Liz Joy Tweeted often about children wearing masks to help everyone from catching a deadly disease, but has not mentioned anything about infrastructure spending. Read more about this story in the Times Union.