The two members of Central New York’s congressional delegation are optimistic that there will be bipartisan cooperation on some of President Trump’s priorities outlined in his State of the Union Address despite the divisive political climate and an upcoming election.
Democrat Anthony Brindisi of Utica can see progress on prescription drug cost control legislation.
“I was proud to support a bill in the house that passed last year that would help do that. Hopefully we can come together with the Senate and the President to move forward prescription drug legislation,” Brindisi said. “He talked about infrastructure again that is something that both Democrats and Republicans have talked about. and we need to do more to actually move forward with an infrastructure spending package.”
Brindisi said the President also talked about protecting Social Security and Medicare, but the President’s past budget proposals have included cuts to both programs.
Rep. John Katko also cited infrastructure and prescription drugs as key priorities. He said road and bridge work can’t be delayed much longer because the highway bill is due to expire this year.
“We have to reauthorize it, because we have to reauthorize it that is an example of something I think we can get done,” Katko said. “I think prescription drug price reform, if it comes out of the senate, which he indicated it would be through Senator Grassley, that could have the possibility of just having a start up or down vote in the house, if it can get out of the senate.”
Katko just hopes house democrats don’t load up the bill with other legislation that could kill it. He says both sides have proven they can work in a bipartisan manner with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which was President Trump’s replacement for NAFTA, as the latest example.
Both Katko and Brindisi are members of the Bipartisan caucus called the Problem Solvers, which has 24 democrats and 24 republicans and that Brindisi said is looking to expand.
“We are looking for areas we can compromise,” Brindisi said. “We wish we had more friends in the fight to help us along, but I think if change is going to come, and if we are going to move forward on some of the big ticket items that have been holding us back then we need members of both sides aisle to work together.”
Other Reactions for New York Elected Leaders
Minority Leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer had a different reaction to President Trump’s State of the Union.
“It was a sad moment for democracy,” said Schumer. “The president’s speech last night was much more like a Trump rally than a speech a true leader would give. It was demagogic, it was undignified, it was highly partisan and in too many places just untruthful. Instead of a dignified president, we had some combination of a pep rally leader, a reality show host and a carnival barker. It’s not what presidents are.”
Meanwhile, New York's Junior Senator Kirsten Gillibrand told North Country Public Radio that President Trump's speech was fgilled with
"... falsehoods and exagerations about the economy and his trade deal." She added, " ... (statements) demonize immigrants and women seeking abortions."
Schumer noted that Trump's priorities and policy objectives will be made more clear in his budget proposal, due to be announced in the coming weeks.