19TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT -- U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado on Thursday called the ongoing federal government shutdown “incredibly irresponsible."
“It’s imperative members of Congress work very hard to get through the process and cooperate and reach a resolution to open up the government,” he said during a conference call with reporters ahead of being sworn into the 116th U.S. Congress.
He also spoke about where he is looking to open offices in his district and what his priorities will be.
Delgado, a Schenectady native and a resident of Rhinebeck, was elected to the seat in November after defeating Republican incumbent John Faso. The district encompasses the mid-Hudson Valley and includes Schoharie County and a portion of Montgomery and Rensselaer counties.
Most of the conversation Thursday centered on the shutdown and efforts by Democrats to get the government operating again.
The shutdown began on Dec. 22, due to an impasse over President Donald Trump’s demand for funds to continue building a wall along the length of the U.S. border with Mexico.
Delgado mentioned two bills being introduced by California Rep. Nancy Peolsi, who was elected speaker of the House on Thursday. Those bills would restart the government, with one funding the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8, and the other funding the rest of the government through September.
The bill related to homeland security would provide $1.3 billion for border security measures, but none of that would be used for construction of a wall.
Delgado said the bills already have some Republican support. But Trump does not support the bills and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly stated he would not schedule a vote on any legislation that Trump does not support.
“It makes no sense -- zero sense," Delgado said. “The onus ought to be on the individuals in the party who see fit to change course purely out of politics at the expense of the very people they are here to serve.”
Delgado also said he plans to open an office in Kingston later this month, and he talked about opening one in the town of Delhi. Beyond that, he said he would still have mobile offices and would host town halls throughout the district, as he seeks other locations for offices.
“Hopefully, we’ll have one in every county before the year’s end,” Delgado said of the town halls. “That is the objective.”
Delgado reiterated his interest in serving on the committees for agriculture and for transportation and infrastructure. Having a voice on those committees would serve his priorities of helping farmers get better access to more markets and providing more broadband access to rural areas, as well as fixing failing roads and bridges in his district, he said.
“I pushed very hard with my team to make sure I land on one or two of those committees,” Delgado said.
While Delgado figures out where he wants to open different offices in the district, his spokesperson provided different outlets to contact to the new congressman. They include his Facebook page, his Twitter account and his Instagram account., which is @repdelgado.
Constituents could also contact his Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-5614.