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Amid Federal Shutdown, Freshmen Democrats Join The US Congress

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) - Two congress members who represent the Southern Tier were sworn in today and have joined the House's new Democratic majority.

Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) represents part of central New York and the Southern Tier, including Binghamton, Cortland and Utica. In a very close race, he defeated one-term Republican Claudia Tenney.

"There are some real challenges ahead for our country in 2019, but challenges have been a big part of America's story, and I am confident our future is bright," Brindisi tweeted on New Year's Day.

Democrat Antonio Delgado (NY-19) also enters Congress. In November, he beat out three challengers, including freshman Republican John Faso. Delgado's district centers around the Hudson Valley, and includes Otsego, Delaware and part of Broome County.

Before today's ceremony, Delgado said the partial government shutdown has made for a strange transition. “This is not a normal situation," he explained. "You come in and you have to figure out the rules of the road pretty quickly."

"With that and given the time crunch here, you have to be on top of it to make sure that you’re doing right by the folks that sent you here,” Delgado added.

Delgado calls the shutdown irresponsible and promises he’ll support a short-term spending package that will keep parts of the government funded through February 8th.  Under the plan, the debate over funding for border security would continue.

Before Christmas, the Republican-controlled Senate approved a similar package, but backtracked after President Trump threatened to veto it.

"It makes no sense," said Delgado said of the GOP position. “Zero sense. And so the onus ought to be on the individuals and the party that see fit to change course purely out of politics.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he won’t introduce a package in the senate that doesn't also have the president's support.