Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report
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 Republicans Marc Molinaro and Elise Stefanik and Democrats Pat Ryan and Paul Tonko split their votes on a show bill about parental control of education. Republicans call it the Parents Bill of Rights Act, and it has no chance to pass the Senate or be signed into law by President Joe Biden. Molinaro, who represents the 19th Congressional District, said, “This bill originated from the simple idea that parents should have a say in their child’s education.... I worked so this bill was reasonable, preserved protections for children, and included measures that ensure parents know what’s being taught in schools.” Ryan cited the five Republicans voting against the measure, saying, "“Democrats and Republicans alike opposed this bill because it is a radical federal overreach that bans books and attacks LGBTQ+ students.... It is deeply disappointing that so many of my Republican colleagues went along with this political stunt, rather than working on actual improvements to our education system. I’m focused on the real issues impacting our public schools, like getting guns out of our children’s classrooms, raising pay for teachers and reducing food insecurity.” Molinaro bragged about how he voted against several more radical amendments to the bill. A statement from his office said, “Rep. Molinaro also voted against significant Republican-led amendments – preventing them from being attached to the final bill. These amendments would have burdened schools with significant costs, interfered with state and local educational decisions, and established Congress’ support to suspend all major functions and programs provided by the U.S. Department of Education for K-12 education." But Democrats introduced a motion so that the bill could not lead to book banning. But Molinaro voted against that amendment. But the bill is filled with all sorts of radical amendments. Rep. Lauren Boebert, for instance, successfully backed amendments to require schools to report when transgender girls join girls’ athletics teams and if trans girls are allowed to use girls’ school restrooms or locker rooms. The bill, if it were to become law, would also require elementary and middle schools to get parents’ consent to change a child’s gender designation, pronouns, or name. Tonko said, "This bill tramples on the rights of parents, students, and teachers alike.... This bill would force schools to submit to 'inspections' of every book in their libraries and every piece of assigned reading material to ensure they comply with draconian standards." But, since it is a show vote that won't pass this Congress, Molinaro and Stefanik aligned themselves with radical Republicans in voting for the bill. Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.
The Daily Freeman reports that Rep Marc Molinaro will speak at the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce Breakfast at the Diamond Mills Hotel and Tavern at 7:30 a.m. on April 12. Molinaro represents the 19th Congressional District, and says he will discuss the workforce shortage, combating inflation, and encouraging business development in the Hudson Valley in the address. It costs $30 for members, and $40 for non-members to attend the event and hear Molinaro speak. Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.
Brendan J. Lyons reports in the Times Union that Democrats in a New York appellate court have a lawsuit that would redraw the Congressional district maps. The lawsuit seeks to compel the state Independent Redistricting Commission to create yet another map of New York's congressional boundaries. The Independent Redistricting Commission deadlocked along partisan lines and failed to create a map originally, so the Democrat-led Legislature stepped in and created a map that was thrown out of court because it was considered gerrymandered to favor Democrats. Then a special master created the district lines that are currently in place. Democrats have hired the Elias Law Group in Washington, D.C., which touts itself as "the nation’s largest law firm focused on representing the Democratic Party, Democratic campaigns, nonprofit organizations and individuals committed to securing a progressive future." The case is scheduled in May before the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court in Albany. It is possible that Congressional elections in 2020, 2022, and 2024 could have three different district maps if the Democrats prevail. Read more about this story in the Times Union.
Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman that local Democrats and Republicans in Congress voted on opposite sides on a bill March 30 that would lower energy costs and hasten global warming, leading to more costs later. But it was all just Congressional theatre, as the bill is unlikely to pass the Democratically-controlled Senate, or be signed by President Joe Biden. The Lower Energy Costs Act would increase domestic production of oil, natural gas and coal, and ease permitting restrictions that delay pipelines, refineries and other projects, and hasten global warming by increasing pollutants. Local Democrats Paul Tonko and Pat Ryan voted against the bill, and Republicans Marc Molinaro and Elise Stefanik voted against the measure, which passed 225-to-204 in the House of Representatives. New York Senator Chuck Schumer called it “dead on arrival.” Ryan said, “My community has a long and well-documented history of big corporations dumping toxic pollutants, particularly PFAS, in our waterways.... And while there are many reasons I oppose this bill, I rise today to speak on this aspect in particular.“ Molinaro said, “The historic legislation, which passed with bipartisan support, lowers energy costs for Upstate New York families by increasing domestic energy production, reforming the United States’ broken permitting process, and streamlining new energy projects, including renewable energy projects.” Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.
Local Congressional representatives Pat Ryan and Elise Stefanik responded on Twitter March 30 to the news that former President Donald Trump has been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, while Paul Tonko and Marc Molinaro stayed silent in the first hours after the story broke. Stefanik, a Republican representing the 21st Congressional District including Rensselaer County, wrote, "This is unprecedented election interference from corrupt Socialist District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The radical Far Left will stop at nothing to persecute Joe Biden’s chief political opponent President Trump ahead of the election." Democrat Pat Ryan, who represents Dutchess County and the rest of the 18th Congressional District, wrote, "No one is above the law, even a former President. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office now has an obligation to lay out the facts and present its case. I urge all Americans to reject any calls for violence and respect the rule of law."