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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Dec 18, 2022 3:00 am

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. Current Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko, from the 20th District, votes with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Republican Elise Stefanik, currently representing the 21st District, votes with Biden's positions 19.3 percent of the time. Democrat Pat Ryan just began representing the 19th District, and has yet to be included in the rankings. Ryan will represent the 18th Congressional District in January, when Republican Marc Molinaro takes over representing the 19th Congressional District. Click here to listen to this report.

Joe Mahoney reports in the Press Republican that Rep. Elise Stefanik was the only member of the House Republican leadership team to vote on Dec. 8 in favor of a final measure giving federal recognition to same sex and interracial unions. Only 39 Republican representatives voted with all 219 Democrats for the Respect for Marriage Act. Stefanik spokesperson Palmer Brigham said the congresswoman’s vote is in line with “her views on how states should respect concealed carry permits and military family spousal licensing.... Just as she believes concealed carry permits should be recognized from state to state, this bill will ensure if a marriage is recognized in one state, it is recognized in another,” Brigham added. “This bill includes important provisions to uphold religious liberty and not encroach on the sincerely-held beliefs of Americans.” Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, a Republican who begins representing New York’s 19th Congressional District in January, said he would have supported the legislation. Democrats Paul Tonko and Pat Ryan also voted for the bill. Read the full story in the Press Republican.

Larry Rulison reports in the Times Union that Rep. Elise Stefanik wants the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be transparent, but she herself is not following the same advice. Stefanik blasted the FBI on Dec. 13 over what she calls an ongoing lack of transparency regarding the bureau's internal investigation into its past interactions with the family at the center of the 2018 Schoharie limousine crash. But Stefanik won't share the contents of a letter she received from the FBI last month. The letter she won't share prompted her attack on the FBI. The FBI's inspection division last spring opened a probe to examine its investigation of Shahed Hussain, an FBI informant who owned the Wilton-based limousine company involved in the limo crash, which killed 20 people in Schoharie County. Stefanik, a Republican member of the House intelligence committee that oversees the FBI, said on Dec. 13 that she would follow through on a promise to subpoena the bureau about. the issue when Republicans become the majority party in the House of Representatives in January. “The FBI is completely failing their responsibility to inform Congress, and they can no longer brush off my requests on behalf of New York families,” Stefanik said in a statement on Dec. 13. “These families and the entire Schoharie community were devastated by the deadly limo tragedy that could have been avoided if not for FBI negligence." But Stefanik declined to provide any evidence that the FBI has not been forthcoming. Stefanik's office refused requests for a copy of the FBI's recent letter and would not say why they would not share the letter, although a brief email from her office cited unspecified "sensitivities." An FBI spokesperson declined any comment on the issue. A New York Magazine article on the crash earlier this year prompted Stefanik and Rep. Paul Tonko, a Democrat, to demand the FBI answer questions about whether or not it had protected Hussain from legal trouble during his time as an FBI informant. Testifying before the House intelligence committee earlier this year, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Stefanik that the FBI did not want to publicly speak about its interactions with Hussain because doing so may imperil the bureau's relationships with its undercover informants. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Republican Marc Molinaro gave his farewell address as Dutchess County Executive on Dec. 16, as he was elected to represent the 19th Congressional District beginning in January. Here is an excerpt of his speech, from Mid-Hudson News (above).

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