Good Morning from Washington, D.C….
Democrats in Washington announced an agreement on a budget framework—totaling $3.5 billion and addressing big ticket priorities including climate change and expanding Medicare as well as other progressive priorities. At the same time, New York’s own Senator Chuck Schumer is moving ahead with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, but when Senators left town last Thursday, the ability to actually meet that timeline remained very unclear. There are several outstanding issues: starting with funding mechanisms—notably a proposal to increase IRS enforcement —and spending priorities, not to mention there is still no text to review.
The lead Republican negotiator, Senator Rob Portman said of the Wednesday vote: “I don’t know if we’ll make anybody’s arbitrary timeline. I appreciate the fact that the Majority Leader wants us to have a vote on this and to have a vote as soon as possible. I don’t disagree with that. But as soon as possible means when it’s ready.” The pressure is on to see if Senators can get a budget framework and infrastructure deal done before the August recess. It is unlikely and, as we reported last week, August will be a long, hot month in Washington.
There were further questions raised about New York’s COVID reporting, more on the NYC Board of Elections, and one look at the problems of reopening as the Senate Ethics Committee was forced to postpone a scheduled hearing as only two of the members showed up in person. The hearing, on New York State’s current system of oversight and enforcement, is significant and signals the growing move in Albany—at least in the Senate—towards more oversight.
Politically, John Samuelson, the president of Transit Workers Union, and a long time vocal backer of Andrew Cuomo declared it was time for a change while Eric Adams says he’s mayor (he isn’t, at least not yet). Elected officials also had to report their fundraising this week—Cuomo reported $18 million cash on hand (still managing to raise over $2.3 million amidst ongoing scandals), Attorney General Letitia James raised over $1 million, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul raised over $500,000, and Republican candidate for Governor Lee Zeldin raised $4 million. Senator Tim Kennedy of Buffalo did the best of any legislator filing so far raising over $600,000 while Senator Todd Kaminsky raised almost $500,000 to bring his war chest for the Nassau District Attorney race to almost $2 million. Search more on the July 15th Periodic filings here.
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Niagara University Breaks Ground on $11.5 Million Renovation for Kiernan Center
Project construction is scheduled to begin later this month, and the renovation is expected to be completed for the fall 2022 semester. Funding for the project includes a $1 million grant from the NYS Higher Education Capital Matching program (HECap), as well as other private donations and university investments. [Read more.]
Editorial: The Scandals Aren’t Going Away, Governor Cuomo
Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have thought that by rejecting calls to step down, or at least step aside, the scandals swirling around him would just fade away. They haven’t. [Read more.]
Seat-Free Moynihan Train Hall Ridiculed As Riders Slump On Floor
Months after it opened to great fanfare, Midtown’s sparkling Moynihan Train Hall is facing criticism for lacking a basic amenity: seating. [Read more.]
NYC Restaurant Breaks World Record With Fancy $200 French Fries
The award-winning fries — arriving just in time for July 13th’s #NationalFrenchFryDay — cost a whopping $200 and are fittingly named “Creme de la Creme Pommes Frites.” [Read more.]
Links from This Week's News Around the State & Country
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