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WGXC Congressional Report 20200203

Feb 03, 2020 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 4.5 percent of the time. Since Democrats took over the House of Representatives Tonko also votes with Trump's positions 1.5 percent of the time. In the previous Congressional session, Tonko voted with Trump 22.6 percent of the time. Click here to play or download an audio version of this report.

• On Jan. 29, both Tonko and Delgado voted for H.R.3621, the Comprehensive CREDIT Act of 2020, which passed 221-to-189, mostly along party lines. The bill will most likely never be taken up by the Republican-controlled Senate, nor signed by the president. The bill would prohibit "a consumer reporting agency from furnishing a consumer report containing any adverse item of information relating to a delinquent or defaulted private education loan of a borrower who has a specified demonstrated history of loan repayment."

Ariél Zangla is reporting for the Daily Freeman U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado January 28, called New York's former bail system "essentially a penalty on the poor," but went on to say that he supports the efforts to potentially revisit a portion of the law. Delgado specifically cited the question of whether judges should be allowed to consider if a person is a threat to public safety in deciding whether to jail them while they await trial. The first-term Democrat made the comments during a phone call with reporters. He made that point that creating a truly equitable system is of utmost importance. "It's important to note, too, that before the recent reform, it didn't matter if you were actually a threat to the public. That was an issue that was already present. If you could pay for your freedom, you were able to be free irrespective of you being a threat to public safety, which I think is of utmost importance to keep in mind. It was essentially a penalty on the poor," Delgado said. The state's bail reform law went into effect January 1, and it eliminated cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. The reforms have come under scrutiny as courts have released people who otherwise would have remained in jail under the old rules. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.

Rep. Antonio Delgado announced he is taking Chatham Police Chief Peter Volkmann to the State of the Union address on Feb. 4. Volkmann is the police chief in Chatham, and police commissioner in Hudson, and is best known for the “Chatham Cares 4 U” Initiative, a recovery project for users of opioids and other addictive drugs. Volkmann has been to Washington D.C. before, attending a national opioid crisis forum at the White House in 2018. Delgado, a Democrat from Rhinebeck, spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives about Volkmann Jan. 29. Click here to play short excerpt of Delgado's speech.

The Saratogian reports that Rep. Paul Tonko got his bill putting enormous fines on pirate radio operators passed in the U.S. Senate. Tonko hauled out a false trope about how pirate radio operators would bring down airplanes in his announcement about the bill. “Air traffic controllers depend on these broadcasting systems to do their jobs, sometimes during life-and-death situations," he said. While that is true, air traffic controllers do not use frequencies anywhere near the FM dial, so there is little chance they could ever interfere with air navigation. The Preventing Illegal Radio Abuse Through Enforcement Act would levy up to $2 million in fines for illegal broadcasting. But the Federal Communications Commission is not likely to bring many of those fines in, as they have been cutting the budget for the enforcement bureau often in recent years. Tonko and Rep. Antonio Delgado both voted for the bill last year. Read more about this story in The Saratogian.

Dan Levy reports for WNYT that Rep. Paul Tonko believes that not having witnesses in the impeachment trial of the President of the United States, "goes against the grain of America's ideals and values." The U.S. Senate voted 51-49 Jan. 31 not to have any witnesses in the impeachment trial of the President of the United States. It was the first time in Senate history that an impeachment trial did not have witnesses. "There are many historians and constitutional attorneys who suggested this was the most impeachable moment in our history," Tonko said, "and for us to walk away to say that it is not impeachable, to tinker with our elections, the American people should decide who their president is." Read more about this story at the WNYT website.

Chris McKenna in the Times Herald-Record reports that Rep. Antonio Delgado has $2.1 million in campaign cash after bringing in donations of $773,000 in the last three months of 2019. No Democrats have announced primary challenges to the freshman Congressperson from Rhinebeck in New York's 19th Congressional District. Two Republicans have announced so far and Ola Hawatmeh, reported $5,000 in her account as of Oct. 1, held her first fundraiser in Poughkeepsie on Jan. 16, but has not filed the required fundraising report as of Jan. 31. Mike Roth, the other candidate, has yet to report any fundraising. Read the full story in the Times Herald-Record.

• Paul Tonko does list any public events this week on his website. Antonio Delgado lists public appearances on his website only if his staff organizes the events. He has none listed this week, and has not listed any public appearances since Dec. 13, 2019.