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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Jan 21, 2023 12:03 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. 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.

Melissa Manno reports in the Times Union that Rep Paul Tonko wants to contrast the previous Congress, run by his party, and the new Congress now run by the Republicans. “A powerful statement was made by the 117th Congress and now, following that with the opening of the 118th, which to me, seemed to surround itself with chaos and confusion and crisis ... the stark contrast between the two sessions to date is very powerful,” the Amsterdam Democrat said to reporters at his Albany office on Jan. 14. Tonko boasted that when his party ran things, they passed the American Rescue Plan, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. And Tonko bemoaned that Republicans are seating, and putting on committees, George Santos, who was elected on Long Island despite a mountain of lies. “The trust between the representative and the representative’s constituents is powerful and essential, and once that trust is eroded, I don’t think you can serve in an effective capacity,” Tonko said. So far, Republicans in the House of Representatives have passed a number of bills with no chance to pass the Senate, still held by Democrats, or be signed by President Joe Biden. Tonko, though, says the Democrats are focused on legislation that probably won't get anywhere in the Republican-controlled House. Tonko said House Democrats are working on a clean energy innovation economy, driving down the cost of health care, and making certain that “the path forward is one of progress for the American public and for the American business community.” Read more about this story in the Times Union.

The Daily Freeman is reporting U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro has been chosen to sit on the House Committee on Agriculture and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for the 118th Congress. The Red Hook Republican said the assignments will allow him to work on issues important to residents of the 19th Congressional District, including the next Farm Bill as well as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. “I am excited to get to work,” he said. A spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Pat Ryan said in a statement that although Democrats are still awaiting formal committee assignments, Ryan hopes to remain a member of the House Committee on Armed Services. He has also requested a seat on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which has jurisdiction over aviation, maritime transportation, highways, bridges, mass transit and railroads, as well as aspects of clean water management, wastewater management, and flood damage reduction. The committee also has broad oversight of various federal agencies including the Department of Transportation, Amtrak, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers. Read the full story in the Daily Freeman.

Geoff Herbert at Syracuse dot com reports how Rep. Elise Stefanik is being tied closer and closer to Rep George Santos, the Long Island Republican who lied about just about everything in his election campaign. Santos is being investigated for many issues, with a $700,000 loan he reportedly gave his campaign the leading mystery. Stefanik endorsed Santos on Aug. 11 and has not addressed the allegations. The New York Times reported that associates of Stefanik were aware of Santos’ lies when she endorsed him in the 2022 election. On Jan. 15 Democratic Reps. Daniel Goldman and Ritchie Torres wrote a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, GOP Conference Chair Stefanik, and Republican fundraiser Daniel Conston, asking them to “proactively and forthrightly” cooperate with an investigation into Santos. Stefanik's 21st Congressional District now includes Rensselaer County. Read the full story at Syracuse dot com.

Patricia R. Doxsey reports for the Daily Freeman that freshman U.S. Rep. Pat Ryan said that despite a recent coup attempt and a sharp partisan divide in the House of Representatives, he is optimistic that lawmakers can pass legislation. “If we don’t stay optimistic, if we don’t stay optimistic in the face of all these challenges, then we’ve given up,” said Ryan to the more than 200 business leaders who gathered Jan. 18 for the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting. In the last Congress, under Democratic control, the Invest and Protect Act, the National Defense Authorization Act, the Chips and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act all passed. Ryan participated in the final weeks of that Congress, representing the 19th Congressional District, but this year is in the 18th Congressional District. And now Republicans run the chamber. “If folks come there with the broader sense of being American, being someone who believes in the promise and potential of our country and coming to actually accomplish some mission greater than their personal ambition, if we all come with that mindset of patriotism as a way to govern and bring us come together, I do think we can do it,” Ryan said. So far, though, the House of Representatives has been a divisive body. “It was extremely disappointing to see a small group of extreme ideologues on either side of the political spectrum take hostage an institution that needs to work,” Ryan said about the long process to choose a Speaker of the House. “I try to be optimistic, that was really disappointing to me, but I hope we can get our act together.” Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

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