Paul Tonko

Chuck Schumer and Fellow Democrats Want to Stop ‘Grinch Bots’ From Stealing Christmas Toys
Latest effort with Sen. Richard Blumenthal and others seeks to curtail gift-buying bots

Democrats Want to Stop “Grinch Bots’ from stealing Christmas. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On Black Friday, a group of Democratic lawmakers want to stop “Grinch bots” from scooping up all the inventory of the year’s hottest Christmas presents.

“Grinch bots cannot be allowed to steal Christmas, or dollars, from the wallets of countless consumers,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said in a statement. “Middle class folks save up — a little here, a little there — working to afford the hottest gifts of the season for their kids but ever-changing technology and its challenges are making that very difficult. It’s time we help restore an even playing field by blocking the bots.”

House Democrats, Republicans Unite Behind Opioids Bill
Bipartisan measure now heads to the Senate

Oxycodone pain pills prescribed for a patient with chronic pain lie on display in Norwich, Conn. (John Moore/Getty Images)

The House passed consensus legislation, 393-8, on Friday intended to help combat the opioid crisis. The legislative compromise was finalized earlier this week, and now heads to the Senate for a final vote.

The two chambers came to an agreement on Tuesday, but made additional changes to the bill after the Congressional Budget Office initially estimated that the bill would increase the deficit by $44 million over the next 10 years.

Meet 8 LGBT Aides Who Climbed the Hill
‘People assume you’re not tough enough to tackle a negotiation, and they’re always mistaken’

Michelle Mittler from the office of Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said “on Capitol Hill in general, everyone is assumed to be heteronormative unless explicitly told otherwise.” (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Lingering inequality, coming out to your boss — high-ranking political aides have faced it.

The Capitol may still be a “heteronormative” place where some wonder, “Am I commanding enough?” But LGBT staffers run media shops, committees and offices.

Trump Escalates Attacks on ‘Crazy Maxine,’ Alleging Corruption
President warns of ‘infestation’ of MS-13 gang members that Dems call false

Reps. Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., are seen after a meeting of the of House Democratic Conference in the Capitol. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump provided some fireworks Tuesday morning even before Independence Day celebrations light up skies across America, calling Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters “crazy” and accusing her of corruption.

He also warned of an “infestation” of MS-13 gang members from points south of the United States, contending again that Democrats “do not appreciate” the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency that some of them want to abolish or significantly overhaul amid the migrant family separation crisis.

Photos of the Week: Summer Arrives in Earnest on Capitol Hill
The week of June 25 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., takes a shot as the Democratic team captain Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., looks on from the golf cart during the First Tee’s Congressional Challenge annual golf tournament at the Columbia Country Club golf course Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congress has left town for the 4th of July recess week. As the jet fumes fade, the heat is up in the swamp with temperatures expected in the high 90s. We hope your air conditioner is functioning properly.

Before lawmakers left, the Senate passed several appropriations bills, but the process could slow as the chamber’s focus will presumably shift toward a possible Supreme Court nominee. (President Donald Trump is reportedly considering names now.)

Yucca Mountain’s Lone Ranger Finally Corrals House Attention
Nuclear waste bill passes easily in House, faces roadblocks in Senate

Rep. John Shimkus says his aggressive questioning of Obama-era energy officials reflected his “righteous anger.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Visiting Nevada’s Yucca Mountain in 2011 was like walking through a ghost town, Rep. John Shimkus recalled in an interview this week.

It was the year after the Obama administration surrendered to fervent local opposition and halted work by the Department of Energy to prepare the site to store the nation’s commercial nuclear waste, even though Congress designated it for that purpose in the 1987 Nuclear Waste Policy Act.

Congress’ Ch-Ch-Changes
Retirements, resignations and deaths around the Capitol

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Congress is going through one of those times when everything seems to be changing, especially the personnel, and that’s not even counting the mounting pile of retirements and resignations among lawmakers. 

‘She Would Love All This Fuss’ — Louise Slaughter Memorialized in the Capitol
Family, colleagues remember a trailblazing, tough and funny member of Congress

Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., speaks during a memorial service for Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y., in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Wednesday. Slaughter, in picture, passed away on March 16 at the age of 88. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Louise Slaughter dreamed that she would die in the Capitol.

That’s at least according to her daughter, Robin Slaughter Minerva, who spoke during a congressional memorial service for her mother on Wednesday in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

Opinion: Building a Water Workforce for America’s Future
Infrastructure investment must include training for those who manage our critical water systems

It is critical to invest in training for the engineers and technicians  who keep the nation’s critical water systems in operation, Tonko writes. Pictured above, the Kensico Dam and Reservoir in Valhall, N.Y. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images file photo)

America faces a tough reality when it comes to our drinking water infrastructure. Eighty-six percent of U.S. households today depend on public water, and the EPA has estimated that nearly $400 billion will be needed in the coming decades just to keep those systems in working order.

Unfortunately, underground pipes and pumps aren’t the only critical components of these systems that are being overlooked. Even as water system failures hit communities all across the U.S., the professionals who keep these beleaguered systems operating safely are aging too. Many are already approaching retirement. In fact, some 37 percent of water utility workers and 31 percent of wastewater utility workers are expected to retire in the next decade.

Opinion: Where Science Goes, So Goes Our Nation
Investing in research and innovation pays off big

A scientist tracking tornadoes in Oklahoma in May looks at radar on his smartphone as part of a project that gets funding from the National Science Foundation and other government programs. Rep. Paul Tonko  writes that federal funding has had a direct impact on technology such as Doppler radar, GPS and smartphones. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

A recent opinion column “Science That Leads” by my colleague, House Science Chairman Lamar Smith, argued that certain kinds of science, especially social and behavioral sciences, are not worth public investment. As an engineer, I take special care when I say: The facts disagree.

In 2014, the world’s foremost doctors and medical experts were working furiously to manage the rapidly growing threat of Ebola. Anthropologists, representing a field of behavioral science, understood the funeral practices in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and were able to act as mediators to intervene in ways that slowed the spread of the illness and saved countless lives. The full economic and public health value of this contribution is impossible to quantify but the lives and resources they saved are very real.