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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Jan 14, 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. Current Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko, from the 20th District, voted with the positions of President Joe Biden 100 percent of the time in the previous Congress, according to the fivethirtyeight.com website. Republican Elise Stefanik, currently representing the 21st District, voted with Biden's positions 19.3 percent of the time. Democrat Pat Ryan is representing the 18th Congressional District and Republican Marc Molinaro represents the 19th Congressional District. Click here to listen to this report.

Mid-Hudson News [dot] com reports that after four days of acrimony, arm-twisting, and 15 different ballots, the new Republican majority in the 118th Congress finally saw California Republican Kevin McCarthy sworn in as Speaker of the House very early on January 7. The 15 different ballots required were the most in 164 years. The resistance to McCarthy’s elevation came from 20 hard-right election deniers and loyalists of former President Donald Trump, and almost ended with fisticuffs in the House chamber. After lengthy negotiations, McCarthy won a majority over. All other business was halted until the Speaker was elected, including the administering of the oath of office to each of the members. Newly-elected Marc Molinaro, a Duchess County Republican who represents the new 19th Congressional District, did not take his oath until early Jan. 7. He then returned to New York to speak at a ceremony for state Senator Rob Rolison. Molinaro said the first four days in Washington did not go as he had planned but he characterized the process as healthy. Molinaro said, “Despite the time it took, don’t mistake it for wasted time,” noting “There are ideological differences within the majority but they were confronted very early.” He said that Congress can now get on with the work they were sent to do. “Americans want us to work on driving down costs, protecting and securing communities, the safety and security at our borders, energy independence, and education.” Molinaro said, “This is what democracy sometimes looks like and the differences of opinions were aired out in full view of the public,” adding “The American people delivered a divided government and that means we’re always going to have our differences and sometimes that means we’re going to air them out in public — rightfully so.” Read the full story at MidHudsonNews [dot] com.

Katherine Tully-McManus reports for Politico that Connor Torossian is now legislative director for Marc Molinaro, the Republican who now represents New York's 19th Congressional District. Torossian previously was a legislative assistant for Rep. Glenn Grothman, a far-right Wisconsin Republican. Grothman as been quoted saying things such as, "A majority of Americans have voted for a party that … wants a world in which you cannot call your parents mom and dad." and "I know the strength that Black Lives Matter had in this last election. I know it's a group that doesn't like the old-fashioned family.... I'm disturbed that we have another program here in which we're increasing the marriage penalty." Grothman may be best known for being included in one of HBO comedian John Oliver's "People Who Somehow Got Elected" series. Molinaro paints himself as a Republican moderate, and marched in at least one Black Lives Matter rally as Dutchess County Executive, while Torossian's Twitter feed shows that the new Congressperson has hired an ultra conservative as his legislative director.

On January 9 new Congressperson Marc Molinaro got to take his first votes. Molinaro cast his first ballot for the new rules in the House of Representatives, which again rein back in the C-Span cameras that had been showing much more than normal during the long process of electing a Speaker of the House. On his second vote, he laid off 87,000 people enforcing the law, as Republicans decided to roll back President Joe Biden's recent hiring at the Internal Revenue Service. Molinaro wrote on Twitter, that, "I just voted to protect families, farmers and small businesses. No problem has ever been solved by empowering more tax collectors - I voted to repeal Biden’s 87,000 new IRS agents." Both local Republicans, Molinaro and Rep. Elise Stefanik, voted for the new rules and the lay offs, while Democrats Pat Ryan and Paul Tonko voted against both bills.

In Rep. Marc Molinaro's first week in Congress he has broken several campaign promises, and while running as a moderate, he has voted as a conservative. On March 15, 2022, Molinaro, a Republican, wrote on Twitter, "Day one I introduce a bill to implement broader protections and services for those with disabilities." Molinaro has yet to introduce such a bill. During his campaign against Democrat Josh Riley the former Dutchess County Executive said he believes abortion should be “rare, safe, and legal,” but Molinaro has voted on the so-called pro-life side twice in his first week in office. On Jan. 11 Molinaro voted for the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, voting with Republican Elise Stefanik, and against local Democrats Paul Tonko and Pat Ryan. Molinaro and Stefanik also voted for a resolution "expressing the sense of Congress condemning the recent attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches," while Tonko and Ryan voted against. None of those bills are expected to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate or be signed by President Joe Biden into law. Molinaro did co-sponsor H.R.22, which would stop the sale and export of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to China.

Phillip Pantuso and Lana Bellamy are reporting for the Times Union U.S. Reps. Marcus Molinaro and Mike Lawler January 12, joined other members of the state GOP congressional delegation now calling on U.S. Rep. George Santos to resign. Freshman Hudson Valley representative Molinaro said Santos should not continue to serve in the 118th Congress. He said in a statement, “George Santos’ dishonesty has eroded his ability to represent his neighbors and serve in Congress. I don’t see how he can continue.” When asked for clarification, Molinaro's communication director Dan Kranz, texted: “Yes that statement means he thinks he should resign.” Molinaro failed to respond directly when asked about a $1,000 campaign contribution accepted by his campaign from then-candidate Santos. In a statement from his office, Lawler, Molinaro's 17th congressional district colleague, also said Santos should step down. “It is clear that George Santos has lost the confidence and support of his party, his constituents, and his colleagues. With the extent and severity of the allegations against him, his inability to take full responsibility for his conduct, and the numerous investigations underway, I believe he is unable to fulfill his duties and should resign.” Six of the 11 Republicans in New York’s congressional delegation are now calling on Santos to quit: Lawler, Molinaro, former state GOP Chair Nick Langworthy, Nick LaLota, Brandon Williams and Anthony D’Esposito. However, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, the House Republican Conference chair, who represents the 21st District in the North Country, has said nothing about Santos since the first New York Times story in December raising doubts about the biographical claims of the Long Island congressperson. Stefanik’s office did not respond to multiple requests on Jan. 12 for comment about Santos. During his run for Congress, Santos’ campaign donated $12,000 to at least a dozen Republican candidates, seven of whom won their races. Three of the New York Republicans who received political contributions from Santos, U.S. Rep. D’Esposito, Nassau County Comptroller Elaine Phillips and Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney, have returned the cash or pledged to do so. A fourth, Suffolk County Legislator Anthony Piccirillo, said he would donate the money. Santos has said he will not resign and will only leave office if voted out. Read the full story in the Times Union.

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