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NY Congressman's Tele-Town Hall Draws Questions On Gun Control, Health Care

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney
Courtesy of the Office of Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney

New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney held a telephone town hall Wednesday night. With the Las Vegas shooting fresh in mind, callers had questions about gun control. They also wanted to know where Maloney stands on a single-payer health care system.

Generally, callers wanted to know what Hudson Valley Congressman Maloney was doing to combat a Republican-controlled Congress on issues like gun control and taxes. Amid discussing the issues, Maloney, a Democrat who represents the 18th District, had a suggestion.

“The voters ultimately need to decide, whether we’re talking about gun control or gun safety laws that make some sense or we’re talking about carbon emissions and climate change, the voters are ultimately going to have to decide whether they’re going to keep sending people to Washington who don’t care, because that’s what I’m dealing with, frankly, is I’m dealing with a leadership down here that on both of the issues you mentioned [gun control and climate change] is going to do nothing. Not everybody in that party, but the people running it right now aren’t going to do anything,” Maloney said. “And they do have their heads in the sand. And if people don’t like it, they need to stop sending them to Congress, you know what I mean? I don’t know what else to tell you.”

Toni from North Salem in Westchester County picked up on the voting theme, noting her neighbors voted for Donald Trump. Maloney pointed out that his district voted the same way, but also for him, and said not to give up hope.

“He’s our president and I want him to do well. And I will work with him, I promise you, on anything that’ll help all of you. And so I just… hang in there..” said Maloney.
“Do you feel that he listens to you, I mean, seriously?” Toni asked.

“Well, no, but I think there are opportunities here where…” Maloney responded. 

James wanted to know if Congress would do anything about gun control.

“Nothing’s happening because I believe the NRA [National Rifle Association] is paying off everybody. Is there anything you can do or is anything happening and…?” James asked.

“You got that about right. Look, I don’t want to b.s. you. I think that this thing is at a stalemate. The guys running the show down here don’t want to do anything,” Maloney said. “Most of us agree, by the way, particularly me, that we shouldn’t trample on the Second Amendment.”

Maloney says he supports universal background checks and stronger federal gun trafficking laws.

“And I would just like to sit down with people across the aisle and say, can’t we at least do a handful of commonsense things that don’t affect the Second Amendment, that don’t affect hunters, don’t affect sportsmen or collectors but that stop people from shooting up hundreds of people in a matter of minutes, which we have seen again and again.” Maloney said.

Harry from Mahopac had a few questions, one being:

“Is there any chance for a single-payer health care system in this country in the near future?” Harry asked.

“Short answer? Not with the crowd running Congress, and I have a lot of questions about single payer to begin with,” said Maloney.

Linda from Wappingers Falls asked Maloney: why not endorse single-payer health care?

“The alternative that’s been proposed is the most horrendous thing they could come out with,” Linda said.

“Right, and that’s happening in a place called the real world, right, because that’s where we’re living right now in Washington. This single-payer debate is happening on liberal web sites and a lot of people are raising money on it and whipping up their supporters on it, all due respect,” Maloney said. “And I just think, I just think, I don’t know for the life of me why people who are on the progressive side of the aisle would chew each other up on this thing when it is a debate club right now. It is not what’s happening in Washington. What’s happening in Washington is Donald Trump is coming with a meat cleaver for all the things in health care.”

Back to Harry from Mahopac, who also wanted to know Maloney’s views on Trump’s tax plan.

“In the short term, if you’re a very wealthy person, this is your plan, guaranteed,” Maloney said. “But if you’re a middle-class homeowner in Putnam County, Westchester County, Orange, Dutchess, watch your wallet because they are going to take your property tax deductions, your income tax deductions, and they’re going to use that money to pay for these fat tax cuts for the rich, and it’s going to make your debt and deficit worse; there’s a better way to go.”

Judith from Westchester felt Maloney was not vocal enough in his opposition to the Trump tax plan.

“I think you’re being, you and our senators are being much too casual,” said Judith.

“What are you talking about? I’m screaming from the rooftops that it’s terrible. What would you like me to do?” asked Maloney.

“Are you, where are you screaming from the rooftops?” Judith asked.

“Well, I’m talking to thousands of people right now. Alright, you ready? Everybody listen closely. It is a terrible idea. It’s awful. Judith’s right. It’ll blow a hole in your property values It’ll whack you on your taxes.”

Maggie from New Windsor, after telling Maloney she’d like to see him run for president in 2020 or 2024, asked his stance on the controversial Competitive Power Ventures Valley Energy Center, a natural gas plant under construction in Wawayanda, Orange County.

“Alright, well then I better be careful about what we say because I don’t know if you’re going to dig my position on CPV. I mean, are you, you want it shut down or something or what do you want?” Maloney said.

“I don’t want it,” Maggie said.

Maloney continued:

“I don’t take a dime from them, by the way. I’m not on the take from anybody, I’m not…” said Maloney.

“I didn’t think so,” said Maggie.

“You know what I mean? I’m not… And I know there’s been some issues in their permitting and some accusations of corruption. If there’s any, any of that, throw the book at ‘em, it’s okay with me but, I do think, I do think the responsible position on here is to take, get the benefits of this, close Indian Point, keep energy prices low, run it safely and have a real national strategy for carbon reduction to address climate change,” said Maloney.

Maloney holds telephone and in-person town halls throughout the year. Maloney’s spokesman says some 20,000 people called in for the telephone town hall Wednesday night. 

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