Good morning from Washington D.C. where the debt ceiling crisis is looming. The Congressional Budget Office offered a new estimate: that the US could be at serious risk of default in the first two weeks of June if a deal is not reached.
President Biden was set to host a “Big Four” meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last Friday, but it was scrapped at the last minute. McCarthy indicated it would be more productive for talks to continue at the staff level before adding, “I have not seen from [them] a seriousness of the White House that they want to deal… He ignored us now for 100 days. He thought this problem would go away.” The meeting may be rescheduled for this week, but with Biden leaving for the G-7 Summit in Japan on Wednesday any meeting would have to come together quickly.
- COVID Relief Funds— A major tenet of the Republican proposal is clawing back unspent, redundant, and fraudulent COVID relief spending. While President Biden has indicated he is willing to deal on this issue, where exactly the money is clawed back from could be an area of contention.
- Energy Permitting— Republicans and Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) are pushing proposals to expedite domestic energy production by relaxing some permitting requirements. Democrats and the White House have been skeptical of new investment in fossil fuel and would rather see a deal come together on renewable energy.
- Work Requirements for Social Programs— President Biden, and Democrats more broadly, have rejected—and denounced—Republican attempts to expand the age group covered by work requirements for food stamps and Medicaid. Any deal with Republicans on this issue remains unlikely.
Those who were in Washington for the near-default in 2011 are beginning to worry the U.S. could be in for the same fate. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer penned a letter to his colleagues reiterating just how catastrophic a default would be.
The President and Congressional leadership can of course negotiate over the phone and through staff. However, as it stands, Biden and McCarthy are only scheduled to be in D.C. at the same time for four days between now and June 1st.
Getting less attention but very important operationally for Democrats in the Senate, Senator Diane Feinstein returned to Washington last week after a months-long absence while recovering from a viral infection. Her seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee and Democrat’s razor thin majority meant that President Biden’s judicial nominees were stalled for the 10-weeks she was out. The 89-year-old Senator resisted calls to resign from within her own party but has said she will retire at the end of her term in 2024.
Back in New York, all levels of government are scrambling to deal with the ballooning migrant crisis now that Title 42, a COVID-era public health law that allowed migrants entering the country to be quickly returned to Mexico, expired last Thursday. New York City Mayor Eric Adams is scrambling to deal with the influx, but has called out leaders in Washington for leaving the problem for local leaders like himself saying, “It is the irresponsibility of the Republican Party in Washington for refusing to do real immigration reform, and it’s the irresponsibility of the White House for not addressing this problem.” The comments apparently hit a nerve in the White House as Mayor Adams was promptly removed from the President’s National Advisory Board.
Adam’s announced a plan to house migrants in Orange and Rockland Counties which was met with swift, bipartisan backlash. Those counties, as well as others not yet directly affected like Oneida and Rensselaer, passed emergency orders blocking migrants from being housed in shelters and vacant hotels though some of those orders have been challenged in the courts. Governor Hochul highlighted the $1 billion in state aid from this year’s budget for migrants in NYC and said, “We believe this is going to continue to grow in scale, I’m working very closely with the Mayor to identify more sites so we can welcome these individuals. They are human beings, they deserve to be treated with dignity.” The Governor went so far as to declare a state of emergency to ensure the state and local governments can respond to the influx effectively. There will be much more to come on this story over the coming weeks.
In case you missed it… online speculation following the coronation of King Charles led Welsh composer Karl Jenkins to release a statement that it was in fact him at the coronation and not Megan Markle in disguise.
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New to the NYS Legislature
OD&A’s Camille Brandon was there as Catholic Health dedicated Clearview Treatment Services in Cheektowaga, an inpatient substance use disorder treatment center. The 40-bed unit located on the 5th floor of Sisters Hospital, St. Joseph Campus will provide holistic, evidence-based care, offering counseling services, primary care, and medication assisted treatment in a safe and secure, inpatient setting.
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