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Issues and Legislation

During his eight terms in the House of Representatives, Congressman Tonko has authored, introduced, and led successful efforts to pass dozens of pieces of legislation that have been signed into law. These legislative achievements span across a wide range of issue areas, including addiction and mental health, climate, energy, and environment, consumer protection and commerce, and much more. Click on the heading for each category to learn more about Congressman Tonko’s work on that issue!

Addiction and Mental Health

  • Led efforts to expand access to opioid addiction treatment, including by reducing barriers for providers to prescribe proven treatments like buprenorphine.
  • Successfully advanced legislation to coordinate crisis care for those experiencing mental health crisis and connect those reentering our communities to effective care for mental health and substance use disorders.


  • Advanced legislation to support research and development of a cure for Alzheimer’s.
  • Spearheaded efforts to provide Medicare coverage and expanded federal support for Alzheimer’s care planning services and led efforts to reduce barriers to care for Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones.

Climate, Energy, and Environment

  • Led efforts to accelerate research, development, and deployment of clean energy technologies including floating solar panels, wind turbines, reusable batteries, and other technologies used in manufacturing.
  • Successfully pushed for legislation to incentivize companies and non-profits to pursue innovative methods for weatherization, hydroelectric production, and other clean energy advancements.
  • Advanced legislation to phase out dangerous chemicals like hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), strengthen the regulatory process for manufacturing, using, and disposing of certain toxic chemicals, and provide funding to clean up and redevelop contaminated “brownfield” sites.

Consumer Protection and Commerce

  • Led efforts to protect consumers, including by banning bot software made to buy up and resell limited supplies of tickets and other valuable items, increasing fines for “pirate” radio broadcasters that interfere with our public airwaves, and cracking down on doping in horse racing and other sports.
  • Improved access to federal resources for manufacturers by establishing a primary hub for all information relating to federal manufacturing programs.


  • Successfully advanced legislation to improve healthcare for all Americans, including by improving access to doctors for Medicare beneficiaries, strengthening the FDA review process for drugs that treat rare and ultra-rare diseases, and securing N95 respirators for frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Led efforts to fulfill our obligation to our veterans by requiring tracking of links between service at Fort McClellan and the severe lifelong health problems experienced by many of the veterans who served there.


  • Spearheaded efforts to increase funding for our treasured National Heritage Areas, including our region’s own Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Local Issues

  • Advanced legislation to honor prominent residents of our Capital Region.

Public Safety

  • Led the way on critical limousine safety reforms in the wake of the 2018 Schoharie limousine disaster, which claimed the lives of 20 people. The reforms Congressman Tonko fought for include new safety belt requirements, mandatory annual inspections, and funding to help states to remove unsafe limousines from the road.
  • Successfully pushed for legislation to enhance public safety, including measures to improve safety conditions at truck stops nationwide, ensure the continued operation of municipal fire hydrants, and reauthorize crucial security measures at facilities holding certain dangerous chemicals.

Science and Technology

  • Advanced legislation to expand broadband internet access to underserved and unserved communities and simplify the process of accessing broadband for small businesses and local economic developers.
  • Led efforts to encourage technological advancement here in the United States, including by promoting engineering education, creating a grant program for the study of artificial intelligence, and establishing new federal programs to promote the development, demonstration, and commercial application of microelectronics.

Water Quality and Systems

  • Successfully advanced efforts to increase funding for local communities to address critical water infrastructure needs and to help communities meet federal drinking water standards.

For a complete list of Congressman Tonko’s legislative accomplishments ordered chronologically, with details on how each piece of legislation became law, click HERE.

To read more about Congressman Tonko’s positions on key issues, click HERE.

To learn more about the legislative process, click HERE.

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