Good Morning from Washington, D.C….

The Ukraine continues to dominate the news. President Biden took to the rostrum for his first State of the Union. Biden received some bipartisan support for his foreign policy rhetoric, but not much else. 

Here’s my take on his address during an appearance on WIVB-TV. Biden did not mention Build Back Better, but the beltway continues to talk about it. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) made a new “offer.”  Manchin’s idea is to roll back 2017 Trump tax cuts and find new revenue savings from prescription drug pricing reform. The resulting budget funding would be divided evenly between reducing the federal deficit and inflation in addition to enacting new climate and social programs. “If you do that, the revenue producing [measures] would be taxes and drugs. The spending is going to be climate,” Manchin said. However, there are no “formal” talks happening with the White House but “informal back-and-forth.” 

Meanwhile there is more focus on omnibus negotiations, but still no signs that bill text is imminent.  Top appropriators are negotiating the final details and hoping to send bill text to the printer early this week. That is, if things went well over the weekend: “We can’t afford to stall this weekend. If we do, we’re headed for a CR,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). “It’s a crucial weekend,” the ranking Republican added. Negotiations likely need to conclude by Tuesday or Congress will need to pass another short-term spending package.

Texas held the first primaries of the year. For anyone hoping to get some clarity from voters in either party are likely out of luck as several races will continue with runoffs. Scandal scarred members of both parties. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) is fighting to keep his seat as he faces legal woes involving allegations of corruption, an indictment for securities fraud and a State Bar investigation into his efforts to help Trump overturn the 2020 election. The primary involving Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar, a fixture of South Texas politics, was jolted in January, when the FBI raided Cuellar’s campaign office and Laredo home in a probe for which the specifics remain murky.

In New York State…

Supreme Court Judge Patrick McAllister of Steuben County rejected efforts to stop this year’s congressional and state Senate election process from proceeding as he considers their allegations of gerrymandering. That said, the case is far from over and, more than anything, was an acknowledgement of the timing.

“It is highly unlikely that the new viable map could be drawn and be in place within a few weeks or even a couple of months,” he said.

“Therefore, striking these maps would more likely than not leave New York without any duly-elected congressional delegates. I believe the more prudent course would be to allow the current election process to proceed, then if necessary, provide for new elections next year.” In 1964, after district lines were tossed, state legislators were elected to one-year terms before appearing on the ballot again in 1965.

Republicans argue the new lines, which could likely give Democrats as many as three more seats in Congress, are a blatant gerrymander and one that violates new language in the state constitution that bans maps drawn with the intent of helping a particular party.  The judge also agreed to let Republicans subpoena legislators’ correspondence on the maps. The sides will be back in court on March 14, before a decision from the judge in April.

 

Meanwhile, legislators have been meeting in working groups and making recommendations to leadership as the Assembly and Senate look to finalize their one-house budget documents. That said, there is more work to be done and we do not expect these until next week, say 3/14 or 15.

 

A memo from New York City Mayor Eric Adams hit the press, showing how criminal justice issues will continue to be a hot button and may bedevil Democrats this year, especially with crime rates continuing to riseAdams is also navigating on LGBTQ issuesHe’s also coming for chocolate milk.

We will just leave that there. 

What’s in the state budget for you? 

From public safety to the environment and energy, Jack gives a brief overview.

Check out our podcast:

-Jack O’Donnell

FOR DAILY UPDATES, FOLLOW US:

 


OD&A In The News

Why is Governor Hochul hanging on to her emergency powers? What’s going on in Albany? Why is Cuomo airing TV ads? Our Jack O’Donnell answers these questions and more on WBEN’s A New Morning. Listen here.


The Object of Their Ire

Letitia James has angered Andrew Cuomo. She’s investigating Donald Trump. Can she beat the two meanest men in politics? [Read more.]

Join OD&A For This Free Webinar

Our Jack O’Donnell joins City and State NY and a panel of experts to discuss potential impacts of the Fee for Service carve out that will gut the federal 340B program in New York State. The 340B program allows qualified safety net providers, such as community health centers, to purchase prescription drugs at a reduced price and invest that savings in patient centered services such as housing, mental health and nutrition assistance to low-income residents. Register for the free webinar here.

Fannie Barrier Williams of Brockport, New York Was a Black Suffragette

The sign is on a dead-end street in Brockport. Looking for it might make the seeker believe they have made a wrong turn. But it’s there — that marker reminding people that Frances “Fannie” Barrier Williams once lived. [Read more.]