However for now, the short term deal was enough for Congress to pack up for a one week recess. Additional highlights from last week included a dog following Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho around the Dirksen Senate Office Building (it was not his dog and remains unclear both why it was wandering around Dirksen and also why it chose Sen. Crapo) while Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, went on “Morning Joe” and reminisced about the “really pure” MDMA (aka ecstasy) of his youth.
- Postal reform: Though it was delayed from a vote last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promised the Senate would pass (somewhat rare) bipartisan legislation overhauling the United States Postal Service (it overwhelmingly passed in the House on 342-92 last week).
- Abortion rights: Schumer also is taking steps to move the Senate forward on the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would codify Roe v. Wade into law. “Across the country, the assault on women’s health care has intensified to levels not seen in decades,” Schumer said. Though we expect Senate Republicans to block it from reaching debate, it has previously passed the House and remains a major priority for Democrats.
- Insulin costs: The Senate will consider a bill from Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock that would cap the costs of insulin for diabetics at $35 a month. Schumer will be in Buffalo later today driving support for this legislation.
Of course, all that was over shadowed by the New York State Democratic Committee’s Nominating Convention for 2022. There were two stars of the show: Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Tish James. Hochul gave a strong speech that had the delegates on their feet, but more significantly, the whole convention was Team Hochul; in organization, in execution, in tone, and in substance. It was successful in each aspect. James gave a barn burner of a speech, one that challenged former Governor Cuomo, destroyed his claims of exoneration, and equated him with former president Donald Trump. (For more convention analysis, listen to our From the Lobby podcast.) It came on the same day James and her office won another battle in their efforts to force Trump and his children to be deposed under oath. The other underlying story line from the Convention was that in this age of division and derision, New York’s Democrats were surprisingly unified and cohesive. That may change as Jumaane Williams and Tom Suozzi plan to continue their primary campaigns through the petition process while there were signs of unrest among Latino leaders.
“From the Lobby with Jack O’Donnell”
This Black History Month, Don’t Ban Our History — Teach It
It’s true — Black Americans have excelled “in every area of endeavor,” from arts and culture to sports and entertainment to everyday living and thriving in this country. What’s often overlooked in celebrating these accomplishments, however, is the price we’ve paid to reach our aims. Unbelievable struggles were necessary just to live, work and vote, never mind to excel. [Read more.]
Irish Whiskey Sales to Overtake Scotch in the U.S. By 2030
Roughly 5.9 million casks of Irish whiskey were sold in the U.S. last year, up from approximately 5 million in 2020. Irish whiskey was the third-fastest growing category in the U.S. last year, behind premixed cocktails and tequila/mezcal, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. [Read more.]