Good Morning from Washington, D.C.,
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the chamber back to Washington on Saturday in a rare move during the August recess to force vote on a bill that would provide $25 billion to the U.S. Postal Service and prohibit any operational changes ahead of the November election. The “Delivering for America” measure passed the House 257 to 150, with 26 GOP members breaking with Trump and GOP leaders to join every Democrat in backing the bill. Many of those Republicans represent swing districts, like Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Don Bacon of Nebraska. But passage of the bill is unlikely to have any impact on Post Office operations. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated the Senate would not be taking up the House bill, and the White House threatened to veto it.
During a four-day virtual Democratic National Convention—the first Presidential nominating convention of the coronavirus era—Joe Biden accepted the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, joined by Senator Kamala Harris from California as the nation’s first Black vice presidential nominee. The Democratic National Convention featured speeches from former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Former Presidential Candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders, and centered on coalescing the party behind Joe Biden, not just opposing Donald Trump. While Trump is a huge motivator for many Democrats, there is some concern within the party that lower-information voters who lean Democrat and swing voters are not locks to cast ballots for Biden this fall, especially as the pandemic creates barriers to voting.
This week, President Donald Trump and the Republicans kick off their Convention. A small number of Republican leaders will be present in Charlotte, but the Convention will be mostly virtual. The Convention will include four days of programming with speeches from former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Donald Trump Jr., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a number of GOP members of the House and Senate, and Mark and Patricia McCloskey, who pointed guns at Black Lives Matter protestors outside their St. Louis mansion in late June. The convention, themed “Honoring the Great American Story,” will close Thursday with Mr. Trump delivering a speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination from the White House.
Tune into Capital Tonight today where Jack O’Donnell will be providing commentary with extended coverage on the convention.
But with only 10 weeks until Election Day, the challenges of administering an election predominantly by mail will be especially pronounced in New York, following the state’s uneven handling of its primary election just two months ago which has raised doubts about its ability to process more than five million mail-in ballots that are expected in November.
Progress on a federal stimulus package has remained stalled, although White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows indicated he met with Speaker Pelosi over the weekend, and insiders are saying that negotiations will pick up after this week’s Republican National Convention.
In a House Democratic leadership meeting, Pelosi commented on the negotiations: “[President Trump] wants two things: the market to go up and the checks to go out in the mail with his name on the letter. He doesn’t care about food insecurity, eviction, health, the virus, of course state and local, election money, none of it. He doesn’t care about any of it, except the direct payments with his name on the letter.” Meadows retorted, “My challenge to the speaker this morning would be this. If we agree on five or six things, let’s go ahead and pass those. Why did you not do it yesterday?”
Meanwhile, colleges and universities across New York State are facing increasingly difficult challenges, as coronavirus outbreaks at colleges reopening for fall classes underscore the difficulties of policing student behavior, the state’s ever-changing travel advisory means more and more families are scrambling to find last-minute accommodations for students, and new codes of conduct and threats of closing are being put in place after students are being caught gathering.
As the 64-campus SUNY system sought to find a new leader to take it through the critical fall semester amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Jim Malatras, one of Governor Cuomo’s most trusted aides and top advisers on education policy, was appointed as the 14th SUNY chancellor. The State University of New York Board of Trustees decided to forgo a formal search process to succeed Kristina Johnson, who left this summer for the chancellorship at Ohio State University; board member Cary Staller cast the lone dissenting vote against the appointment, arguing the lack of a search bypassed important input from students, faculty and others in the broader SUNY community. Malatras asked the Board of Trustees for a 25 percent pay cut and will receive a salary $450,000 and a $60,000 housing allowance. His appointment as chancellor begins on August 31.
Calamari, Rhode Island’s Controversial State Appetizer, Becomes An Unexpected Star Of Democratic Convention
There was an Ohio union worker alarmed over the economy, a New York nurse decrying the coronavirus pandemic, and a Tennessee college student honoring the state’s history-making vote for the 19th Amendment. But during a roll-call montage on Night 2 of the Democratic National Convention, no vote on Tuesday night commanded the Internet’s attention quite like Rhode Island’s — or its official state appetizer, calamari. [Read more.]
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