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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Oct 01, 2023 7:03 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.

Diane Pineiro-Zucker reports in the Daily Freeman that prominent conservative and liberal scholars have argued recently that former President Donald Trump cannot run for office under the 14th Amendment, because he took part in an insurrection. Local Reps. Marc Molinaro, a Republican, and Pat Ryan, a Democrat, predictably disagree on the issue. Ryan said, “The constitutional scholars that have written on this, including many very conservative constitutional scholars asserting that Trump should not be on the ballot … is a very compelling argument.... I think it’s something we have to take seriously (and) that I want to certainly hear from more experts on it. I think it could likely end up in the Supreme Court.” Molinaro disagrees, saying, “You can’t consider the 14th Amendment in static, as if it was adopted a week ago. It was in the result of the near loss of the American Union and the concept was that we didn’t want that kind of experience again and, therefore, would use the Constitution to protect against states leaving and those using military efforts to overtake the Union. … When you apply that you have to apply the rest of the Constitution, which is due process. Every man and woman is afforded due process. Level the charge, consider the charges by a court and then get the individual to a penalty. That’s the basic American standard.” The 14th Amendment was passed so that people who take up against fair and legal voting in this country, who acted against the electoral process, were ineligible to win office. Ryan, who represents the 18th Congressional District, said, the amendment “was written post-Civil War to deal with exactly the situation we find ourselves in right now where there were those who had seceded from the Union and hijacked control of it and in 1861 voted to block certification of elections just like we had in 2021. So, we’re at a very perilous time and I’m glad that the folks had the foresight to include this (in the Constitution)." While Molinaro, who represents the 19th Congressional District, does not believe in disbarring Trump from office, he would not say if he supported him. Asked about Trump's role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and recordings of Trump’s alleged attempt to subvert his election loss in Georgia, Molinaro would only say, “Let’s get through this next chapter.” Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

Diane Pineiro-Zucker reports in the the Daily Freeman that Rep. Marc Molinaro, a Republican who represents the 19th Congressional District, supports House Speaker Kevin McCarthy launching an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, while Democrat Pat Ryan, who represents the 18th District, does not. But Molinaro would not specifically say why there should be an impeachment investigation. Molinaro said, “oversight of the Executive Branch is one of Congress’s most fundamental duties. I worry about what appears to be criminal activity benefiting the Biden family and undermining our national interests. That warrants an inquiry.” He did not say what alleged criminal activity needed investigating. Then after appealing to conservative Republicans by backing impeachment, he attempted to court moderates and independents by saying he, “did not come to Congress to impeach the President” and has “pledged to work with him on areas where we can find common ground like mental healthcare and the opioid epidemic.” Then Molinaro's spokesperson would not respond when asked about Rep. Jamie Raskin's assertion that the Biden impeachment investigation, "is a transparent effort to boost Donald Trump’s campaign by establishing a false moral equivalency between Trump — the four time-indicted former president” and Biden, who faces “zero evidence of wrongdoing whatsoever.” Ryan, though, agreed, saying McCarthy has not found “any meaningful evidence for impeachment. … Unlike him, I’ll continue to fight for my constituents and the American people.” And while Democrats took votes on the record to impeach Trump, the House took no vote to begin an impeachment investigation into Biden, with McCarthy announcing it on Sept. 12 on his own. Apparently, the business dealings of the president’s son will be the main thrust of the investigation. Read more about this story in the the Daily Freeman.

Brett Samuels reports for The Hill that former President Donald Trump may be coordinating his election campaign to regain the presidency with the U.S. House leaders that are launching an impeachment inquiry into his opponent, President Joe Biden. Trump spoke Sept. 12 with Rep. Elise Stefanik, the Republican who represents Rensselaer County and the rest of the 21st Congressional District in New York, just after Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Biden. Stefanik said, “I speak to President Trump a lot. I spoke to him today." Stefanik claimed that whatever House Republicans are investigating is “the biggest political corruption scandal of our lifetime.” Stefanik did not give specific details of what alleged crimes are being investigated. Democrats took votes before starting impeachment investigations into Trump, but McCarthy just announced the current investigation without any vote. Locally Democrat Rep. Pat Ryan said he is against impeachment, while Democrat Paul Tonko has been mum so far. Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro came out for the impeachment inquiry, but also did not specifically say what exactly he wanted to investigate. Read more about this story in The Hill.

Joshua Solomon reports in the Times Union that on Sept. 20 Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill that allows any New Yorker to cast their vote by mail. Hochul said, "It's finally time to allow people to vote by mail.... Why not? What is so sinister? Why would this be attacked? What are you afraid of?" Rep. Elise Stefanik leads a Republican lawsuit filed in the state Supreme Court of Albany County Sept. 20 against the measure. The lawsuit says the state's constitution only allows absentee voting in cases of not being in your registered county on Election Day or an illness or disability. Stefanik said, “Kathy Hochul and extreme New York Democrats are trying to destroy what is left of election integrity in New York." But Hochul framed the issue differently, saying, "There's a more sinister, slow-motion insurrection going on, a little more under the surface perhaps than what we saw on Jan. 6.... It's happening quietly in Republican legislatures all across America ... They're stripping away these rights. They're doing the exact opposite of what needs to happen." Voting by mail was used nationally throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with few reports of any problems. The bill Hochul signed also expands same-day voter registration and requires officials at prisons to provide voting rights information when prisoners are released from incarceration. And the new law also creates a penalty if an electoral college "elector" votes against the will of the people. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Paul Kirby reports in the Daily Freeman that Rep. Marc Molinaro has moved to Catskill. Now the Congressional representative now lives in the district he represents. Until now, Molinaro has been living in the 18th Congressional District, while representing the 19th District. Molinaro did not provide a comment about the move, which was announced by his spokesperson, Dan Kanz. Molinaro won his office while living out of the district in 2022, but promised to move into the district. Read more about this story in the Daily Freeman.

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