Good Morning from Washington, D.C….

With Fiscal Year 2022 Appropriations bills signed, fiscal decision makers in Washington, D.C. are turning their attention to Fiscal Year 2023 and set a goal of an omnibus spending agreement before the end of the year.

To recap on FY 2022: on Tuesday, President Joe Biden signed H.R. 2471, the bipartisan and bicameral omnibus appropriations and Ukraine supplemental package, fully funding the government through October 1, 2022. “I thank President Biden for signing this bill into law which allows us to tackle the toughest challenges our country faces today and support Ukraine and its people as they continue this battle for democracy and freedom,” said House Appropriations Chair Rose DeLauro. The omnibus package provides $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending with increases of $42 billion in defense spending and $46 billion in non-defense spending over fiscal year 2021 levels. See more detail on the specifics here.

In addition to the $13.6 billion provided to Ukraine in FY 2022 appropriations, on Wednesday, President Biden announced an additional $800 million in military support for Ukraine—including funds for 800 anti-aircraft missiles; 9,000 anti-armor systems; 7,000 small arms, like machine guns, shotguns and grenade launchers; 20 million rounds of ammunition; body armor; and drones—after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an impassioned address to both Houses of Congress asking the United States to do more to help defend his country against the continued Russian invasion“This could be a long and difficult battle. But the American people will be steadfast in our support of the people of Ukraine in the face of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s immoral, unethical attacks on civilian populations,” Biden said.

Even with the completion of a full funding deal for FY 2022, the development of Fiscal Year 2023 Presidential Budget and Congressional Appropriations is already well underwayPresident Joe Biden is expected to unveil his FY 2023 budget outlining priorities and spending requests next Monday, March 28thSenators Schumer  and Gillibrand have released their earmarks applications and processes, and appropriations committees are full bore into developing the framework for a defense and non-defense spending deal—potentially before the end of this year. 

Later today, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin their hearing on the nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court. While the world watches her, the pressure will be on Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin. After weeks of Republicans keeping their powder dry, Sen. Josh Hawley attacked Judge Brown Jackson as soft on child pornographers.  Durbin is already pushing back, making the rounds on the Sunday shows to refute Hawley’s attacks and return fire: “There’s no truth to what he says. And he’s part of a fringe within the Republican Party. This was the man who was fist-bumping the murderous mob that descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 of the last year.” Durbin is low key and friendly with a number of Republican Senators. It is worth watching as he presides over these hearings, especially with as many as four 2024 GOP hopefuls on the committee. Expect to hear Republican Senators declare they are going to be “fair” and “respectful” before laying into the nominee on crime.

Nevertheless, the Senate found at least one thing to agree upon: Daylight Saving Time. The Senate swiftly passed the Sunshine Protection Act, introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla) last week“There’s strong science behind it that is now showing and making people aware of the harm that clock switching has, there’s an increase in heart attacks, car accidents and pedestrian accidents,” Rubio said.

In New York State…

It is full steam ahead toward enacting a budget before the April 1st start of the State Fiscal Year 2022-23. As we reported in our last MMM, One House Budget Proposals were released by the Senate and Assembly last weekend. Now, negotiations really begin in earnest. Last week—despite the two day session week—the General Budget Conference Committee or “the Mothership” met on Monday, and Budget Subcommittees met on Tuesday. For the full membership of the General Budget Conference Committee and Subcommittees, click here.

While the Legislature and Governor Kathy Hochul have sounded a mostly collegial tone on the budget to date, it remains to be seen if the Governor’s plan to include a sweeping 10-point proposal on public safety—which includes changes to make more crimes bail eligible—will complicate those dynamics. In a memo from the Governor, the Chamber states “for offenses that are not currently subject to arrest, police will have the ability (though not the requirement) to deny a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) and arrest an individual who has previously received a DAT within eighteen months. All second offenses within a certain period of time will be bail-eligible.” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins have been adamant in their opposition to any changes in the State’s 2019 bail reform laws. 

This is a major issue for progressives in both houses and legions of criminal justice advocates who wield loud megaphones just as it is increasingly becoming an albatross around Democrats in general election races, especially in the swing districts of Long Island. This is the first real flash point we have seen which could cause issues in budget negotiations going forward. More to come . . .

Finally, if your snow removal routine is lacking energy, we suggest you try adding some Gene Simmons to your shoveling like this Southern Tier KISS fan did last weekend

What’s in the state budget for you?

From One House budgets, to healthcare, to public safety and the environment & energy, Jack gives a brief overview.

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-Jack O’Donnell

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