Good Morning from the Nation’s Capital…

You have heard us say this before but the path to Congress’s August Recess is packed with important legislative action, issues that will impact what happens in the midterm elections. The Senate is scheduled to adjourn August 5 and the House July 29 with neither scheduled to return until after Labor Day.

In the Senate, there will be a vote today to end debate on the CHIPS Act of 2022—a slimmed down China Competitiveness bill months (years even) in the making—with Democratic Leadership looking to schedule a final vote tomorrow or Wednesday. A test vote last week passed 64-34 with 14 Republicans voting in the affirmative to proceed on drafting and discussing the bill. However, Senate Republicans have still expressed reticence to guarantee Democratic Leadership the necessary 10 votes. “Now we’re at a point where I don’t think anybody really knows what the final bill might look like, or kind of where the votes are. We know where the votes were last time. But that was a different time and it was a different bill than what we’re talking about today,” said Senate Republican Whip John Thune of South Dakota.

In the House, the CHIPS Act faces perhaps a steeper climb. Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House plans to vote on the measure as early as this week. However, Democrats have a razor thin 4-seat majority (which will likely be a three-seat majority with Republicans likely to take a seat back in a Minnesota special election August 9th). This could prove difficult for the ultimate passage of the slimmed down bill that eliminated many provisions Republicans wanted (or just because Republicans do not want to give Democrats a win at all heading into midterms). 

While the clock is ticking, the Senate also has even more business to attend to:

And what about reconciliation? Senate Democrats are forging ahead with the whittled down budget reconciliation package—which is now just two healthcare measures: a two year extension of health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act and allowing Medicare to better negotiate drug prices. However, leadership is still waiting on review from the Senate Parliamentarian on whether or not all of the measures in the bill can be passed through reconciliation (which only requires 50 votes). The Parliamentarian must determine that all provisions have a direct impact on government spending and/or tax revenue. The timeline on that review could jeopardize the planned adjournment schedule.

Back in New York State…

So long to our old friend Bill De Blasio. The former New York City Mayor, Council Member, and Public Advocate announced he was ending his campaign and dropping out of the race for the newly created 10th Congressional District which includes lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. That race has become one of the most interesting primaries this year. BDB also ran for President in 2019 and considered a run for Governor this year before deciding to focus on the Congressional run. A recent Data for Progress poll put him at the bottom of a crowded field of candidates with just 5% of the vote.

Among his many efforts, De Blasio tried to get the 2016 Democratic National Convention to New York City. Current New York City Mayor Eric Adams, and Governor Kathy Hochul, are hoping to be more successful in the current bid to host the 2024 DNC, which would be the first Democratic National Convention in the borough since 1982—and the first National Convention since 2004. If selected, the event would be centered at Madison Square Garden with events at the nearby Javits Center. “This is the place to do it. We’re not just nominating a brand new Democratic ticket; we are setting a new course,” Adams said during a press conference last week.

Governor Hochul’s major redevelopment plan for neighborhoods around Penn Station—which she inherited from Governor Cuomo—cleared a key hurdle last week, with Empire State Development’s board unanimously voting to approve the project. However, the Public Authorities Control Board—which includes appointees from the Senate and Assembly as well as the Governor—still needs to unanimously approve the plan. They are scheduled to vote on it this Wednesday.

Governor Hochul’s Wage Theft Task Force—coordinated between the Department of Labor, Attorney General Letitia James, and District Attorneys from throughout the State—has recently secured felony convictions and agreements for more than a dozen businesses and 265 individuals to pay over $3 million in wage restitution and contributions in New York State. Read more on that announcement here. 

Last week, the Governor made several key appointments to her administration.
 
  • Stacy Lynch was appointed Chief of Staff to the Governor. She has served in the Executive Chamber for a year as Chief of Staff to the Lieutenant Governor and most recently as a Senior Advisor to the Governor. She had previously served in several roles in the De Blasio Administration, including Intergovernmental Affairs and leading public affairs for First Lady Chirlane McCray. 
  • Minelly De Coo was appointed Deputy Director of Infrastructure where she will help lead the State’s implementation of various federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funded programs. De Coo had previously worked in New York City government managing infrastructure projects throughout the City. 
  • Sita Fey was appointed Deputy Secretary for Appointments & Human Resources. Fey has spent a long time in State Government, working at the Department of Agriculture and Markets prior to her time on Hochul’s transition team. 
  • Nicole Migliore was appointed Chief of Staff to the Director of State Operations, Kathryn Garcia. Migliore, who has a lengthy background in New York City government and politics, will manage a portfolio that includes seventy state agencies and authorities. 
  • Edgar Santana was appointed Deputy Secretary to the Governor. Santana previously served as the Governor’s Director of Downstate Regional Affairs and has also held roles in organized labor, the New York State Democratic Committee, and in Hillary Clinton’s 2008 run for president. 
  • Todd Westhuis was appointed Deputy Director of State Operations. Westhuis comes to the Chamber from the Department of Transportation where he served as Chief of Staff, helping the agency manage some 8,200 staff and overall operations throughout the State. 
Read more on the appointments here.

On the road to 2022 midterms, July filings covering spending through July were due last Monday. Some highlights include that Governor Kathy Hochul has raised almost $40 million and spent $26 million to win the June 28th Primary. For comparison, Governor Andrew Cuomo spent about $43 million over four years in his 2018 re-election bid. She’s not stopping any time soon. Hochul has set a goal of raising somewhere $50-70 million. She holds a significant fundraising advantage over Lee Zeldin, who reported just $1.57 million in the bank in July. However, Harry Wilson’s unsuccessful campaign got more attention on the GOP side: the Republican hopeful spent nearly $202 per vote on the road to the June Republican Primary—falling just short of former Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein’s $208 per vote set in the 2018 Democratic Primary.

Republican Candidate for Governor and House Rep. Lee Zeldin was attacked at a campaign stop in Rochester by a man brandishing a sharp weapon. Eyewitness video showed the terrifying moment for the Republican candidate.

Our prayers are with the families of the Rochester Police Officers who were shot last Thursday. Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz, a 29-year veteran of the Rochester Police Department, was shot and killed in the senseless ambush, and Officer Sino Seng was shot in the lower leg but is expected to recover. 

On a lighter note, are you or someone you know considering buying a mega-yacht?

Check with your publicist. As they are purchased in record numbers, they are sparking global outrage.

 -Jack O’Donnell  

Our podcast is back with Election 2022 analysis. For political insight on this year’s races, including a deep dive on the NYS primaries, listen in here.

 

 

 

 

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