NY-22 Minute: Brindisi Gives Biden 2020 Nod; Opposes Trump Impeachment By Luke Perry
Anthony Brindisi was recently sworn in as the next U.S. Representative for NY-22. Brindisi was “incredibly excited and honored to be representing the people of the 22nd district” and said he would “work hard for everyone in the district, whether they voted for me or not.” Congressman Brindisi became the first Democrat to represent the Utica area since Michael Arcuri was elected in 2006.
Brindisi began his term opposing Nancy Pelosi in a leadership floor vote, instead voting for Joe Biden. The largely symbolic selection of Biden could foreshadow Brindisi’s preferred candidate in what will likely become a crowded 2020 Democratic primary field.
Governor Cuomo recently stated that “Biden has the best case” among Democrat presidential hopefuls, who have begun to declare their candidacies, starting with Senator Elizabeth Warren. Cuomo believed Biden has the most credibility and ability to articulate a positive message. Biden is expected to soon make an announcement either way. (My very early prediction for the 2020 Democratic ticket: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris).
Brindisi called for new leadership during his 2018 campaign and publicly opposed Pelosi for Speaker after the election. Brindisi hoped one of his colleagues would challenge Pelosi, but this did not happen.
Brindisi also skipped the traditional swearing-in photograph with Speaker Pelosi, citing scheduling conflicts during a busy first day, including votes and ceremonies that ran behind schedule. Brindisi was one of 52 new Representatives in the 116th Congress. Fellow New York freshman Representatives, Max Rose (NY-11) and Antonio Delgado (NY-19), participated in the ceremony.
House representatives are constantly campaigning. Brindisi may have wanted to avoid providing political fodder for a future Republican opponent and the National Republican Congressional Committee, who will likely prioritize retaking the seat in 2020.
Brindisi said it was “not good to be in shutdown like this,” citing damage to the economy and federal workers. He agreed to withhold his pay until the shutdown is ended.
Brindisi pointed to several new spending bills passed by the House. The Senate has not moved forward with the legislation, though Republican Senators up for reelection in 2020 may pressure Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to schedule a vote.
Brindisi said calls by Representative Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) for Donald Trump to be impeached were “just not helpful.” Impeachment “rarely came up in town hall meetings.” Brindisi thinks constituents are much more concerned about pocketbook issues, such as jobs and healthcare. Brindisi believed he was elected to “not get bogged down in impeachment talk and not to get bogged down in investigations.”
When asked by Bob Joseph from WNBF News Radio 1290 if the Trump presidency constituted a constitutional crisis, Brindisi said:
“No, this is why we are the greatest country in the world because we have come through situations of divisions like this before and we have thrived. We’ll continue to do that. The country is up and running. We have a new Congress here. I want to work together with members on both sides of the aisle. Let’s get things done.” (11:20 mark)
Brindisi pledged to hold one town hall meeting in every county of the district every year. The first will be in Broome County.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College
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