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Gillibrand town hall focuses on her efforts to counter Trump administration

Payne Horning
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand visited the Southwest Community Center in Syracuse.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was part of the coalition of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate who voted this month to limit President Donald Trump's ability to order offensive strikes against Iran, one of the few times the senator found herself in the majority in the Senate. She said her Republican colleagues, who control the chamber, are not standing up to Trump, citing their acquittal of the president in the impeachment trial and the lack of criticism over Attorney General William Barr's order to lower a recommended criminal sentence against one of Trump's political allies.

"They are absolutely silent in the face of his crimes, in the face of his terrible behavior toward so many Americans, and his terrible decisions and they just don't hold him accountable," Gillibrand said. 

Gillibrand said she's doing what she can to check the Trump administration, from advocating for increases in Social Security spending instead of cuts to voting against the National Defense Authorization Act because of its funding and authorization of the use of certain types of nuclear weapons.

Credit Payne Horning / WRVO News

"Unfortunately, in the Armed Services bill they took away Congress' responsibility and oversight over the nuclear program," She said. "They allow President Trump to decide, in his discretion, when to use them, in what circumstances, on which types of equipment, and I would never give that authorization to President Trump."

Gillibrand is also working on issues that are less politically divisive, like a bill to combat the rise of prescription drug costs and her new Data Protection Act, which would create what she calls a consumer watchdog agency to hold companies in the digital marketplace accountable for violating data protection and privacy laws.

"I want a federal agency whose job is to review how we're being targeted and to have real teeth to be able to protect us," Gillibrand said. 

Gillibrand said in the coming months she plans to work on flipping the Senate and electing whoever wins the Democratic primary. While Gillibrand, a former candidate in that primary, says she is not ready to endorse anyone, she may before New York votes in April.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.