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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. 

One of the biggest differences between the two sides, and one of the hardest to rectify, is the timeline. The White House is pushing for a two-year deal that would increase the debt ceiling in exchange for certain (short term) limits on discretionary spending. Republicans have insisted on a ten-year deal to cut spending and any comprise on that aspect may cost McCarthy votes from his right-wing members. Other major areas of disagreement include: 
  • 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. 

Back in Albany, we are heading into the final four week sprint to the end of the 2023 Legislative Session. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn June 8th. The Assembly will be back in session at noon today while the Senate will gavel in at 3:00pm. There is roughly a week left in regular Committee activity, making this the last big push for lawmakers to get a number of priorities onto agendas. There will be over 30 committee meetings this week considering hundreds of bills. Review the Senate Agendas here, and the Assembly Agendas here.

Some major issues set to dominate the end of session include housing reforms that were removed from the State Budget—including Good Cause Eviction, a bill that would allow building owners to recoup capital improvements such as lead abatement and put affordable units back on the market in New York City, and a bill to ban landlords from reporting late rent payments to credit bureaus (which was withdrawn from the Assembly floor last Wednesday in a very rare scene)—an iteration of the drug pricing measure that fell out of budget talks, the Clean Slate Act, and the NY HEAT Act. While there have been over 14,000 bills introduced in both Houses and stacked committee agendas, many Capitol wags are skeptical that burned out legislators will have the bandwidth to accomplish much after a grueling budget process that was over a month late. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins pushed back on that notion, saying last week, “In these last five weeks, we will certainly continue to push forward our legislative agenda and do as much as we can before we end session.” As far as specific priorities being discussed between her and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Stewart-Cousins said “all of us continue to understand the importance of affordable housing and trying to move that along… we also want to work on more criminal justice reforms. We are looking at Clean Slate [Act] and trying to, at least, come to some resolve in that particular area.”
Hear more from the Senate Majority Leader’s sit-down with the Capitol Pressroom’s David Lombardo here.

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

And finally, farewell to MTV News, a reminder that there was a time when Music Television showed music and videos, entertained, and speaking for myself, I believed anything Tabitha Soren told me.

-Jack O’Donnell

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Our Alec Lewis shares tales from the campaign trail with
*How she became the first Latina to represent the Northeast Bronx
*How she has delivered for her District
*Her advice to other women on running for political office





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Client News: PGA Championship Taps Delaware North to Feed 225,000 at Rochester Tourney 

With associates flying in from all over the country, Delaware North is amassing something close to an army of 800-plus to pull off a weeklong hospitality contract for the 2023 PGA Championship tournament in Rochester. [Read more.]





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New to the NYS Legislature

Assembly Member Dana Levenberg was elected to represent Assembly District 95—which contains parts of Putnam and Westchester Counties, including the Towns of Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill, Phillipstown, and Cold Spring—in November 2022, after long time Assembly Member Sandy Galef announced her retirement at the end of 2022.
Assembly Member Levenberg is well-versed in both public service and the dynamics of the Legislature. She had served for eight years as Assembly Member Galef’s Chief of Staff, and nine years on the Ossining School Board. Until her election to the Assembly, Assembly Member Levenberg served as Ossining Town Supervisor.
During her tenure as Ossining Town Supervisor, Assembly Member Levenberg focused on building healthy communities—economically, environmentally, physically and mentally—and equity. She kept taxes in check while working to reduce the Town’s carbon footprint and improve roads, parks and open spaces. Under her leadership, Ossining became a leader in local environmental initiatives, including becoming home to the largest solar canopy in Westchester County.
Raised in Teaneck, New Jersey, Assembly Member Levenberg has a Bachelor’s from Brown University in International Relations. Before serving in government, Assembly Member Levenberg worked in advertising and TV production in NYC. Assembly Member Levenberg’s resume also includes co-founding the Ossining Micro Fund as well as the newly formed Open Arms for Refugees, organized in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. Assembly Member Levenberg has also served on a number of boards or advisory boards throughout the Lower Hudson Valley region, including Sustainable Westchester, the Sing Sing Prison Museum, the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation, the Westchester Municipal Officials Association, Historic Hudson River Towns, and Teatown.
Assembly Member Levenberg’s priorities in her first term include making the 95th Assembly District greener, fairer and more prosperous for all through partnerships and innovative approaches to problem solving.





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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.