By JENNIFER HILL • Special to AllOTSEGO.com
Calling Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony last week “incredibly important” in an afternoon press conference call today, Rep. Antonio Delgado suggested he would support impeaching President Donald Trump if the president continued to “steamroll” the House’s investigations of him.
“I will weigh progress in our public hearings against the obstacles Trump is putting up,” Delgado said. “If that reaches an impasse, then we have to make a decision.”
Delgado’s statement indicated a shift from his emphasis on unity and impeachment being perceived as “a purely partisan political act” in his Oneonta town hall last Saturday, July 27. But since then, more Democrats – both members of Congress and presidential candidates – have called for Mr. Trump’s impeachment.
Delgado cited the House Judicial panel’s recent lawsuit filed against the White House to enforce its subpoena of former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify before the House as an example of the Trump administration “steamrolling” the Democrats’ investigation.
“I want Congress to continue to hold public hearings and to go through this process as is our right under Article One of the Constitution,” Delgado said. “But I don’t want our progress steamrolled.”
Most of the questions reporters asked during the conference call were on the issues Delgado focused on during five town halls he held over the past six days throughout his district: small businesses and farms.
“I held [the townhalls] in local breweries because they are a growing part of our economy in my district,” he said, adding that he was “a proud member of the House Small Brewers Caucus.”
Among the local businesses he toured was Delaware County’s Awestruck cidery, which he said had “grown expeditiously.”
In addition to touring small businesses and meeting their owners, Delgado talked with young farmers about the prohibitive cost of farmland, a major barrier to their becoming independent farmers.
“One way to overcome that is conservation easement,’” he said. “We have federal and state programs that conserve the rights for land to be only used for farms, but there’s not a lot of awareness about it.”
Delgado said another barrier was the large amount of debt young farmers carry, which he aimed to reduce when he introduced in June the Young Farmer Success Act, a “bipartisan bill [that] adds farmers and ranchers to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. ” Delgado’s office explained in an email today that the “Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is an existing program that currently includes teachers, nurses, first responders, and other public service professions.
Delgado likely focused on small businesses and young farmers this past week because he recently introduced two bills — HR 2142, which he co-sponsored with Rep. John Joyce (PA-13), and the Family Farm Relief Act. The first bill, which passed in the House on July 15, creates “a one-stop shop” to help small businesses comply with “onerous federal regulations.” FFRA, the second bill, allows farmers who file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy to receive up to $10 million in debt relief, up from $4 million. It has passed both the House and Senate the president is expected to sign it soon.
Delgado also spoke about immigration, saying he will continue to work on “changing the dynamic” of treating families seeking refuge “like criminals” and “inhumanely” at the border.
Asked his assessment of this past week’s Democratic debates, Delgado said, “I’m personally watching for how candidates engage each other…we can have differences of opinion, but we should never turn to personal attacks and indictments of one another.”
And a final question: “What was your favorite beer at the distilleries you toured?”
At first, Delgado demurred, saying because of doing town halls before and after his beer and cider tours, he “didn’t taste too many.” But then he recalled one he enjoyed, “the ‘Ancient Gruit Ale,’ served at The Beer Diviner…a brewery in Cherry Plain, which the Congressman toured last Monday.”
“I ended up pouring a few for people who came by to try it,” Degaldo said. “I liked it.”