- Republicans had called for a much longer-term agreement and originally proposed a plan that would have reduced spending over a ten-year period. That timeframe was a nonstarter for the White House, as were long-term budget caps.However, Biden’s ability to get spending bills through the House over the next two years would be hampered by the GOP majority anyway.
- The disagreement over imposing work requirements for some social safety net programs was reportedly the last major area of contention in negations, and it appears the White House made minor concessions to get the deal done. The bill will require able-bodied adults between 18-55 to work at least 20 hours a week or meet other criteria to be eligible for SNAP benefits. The previous maximum age to be eligible for SNAP without work requirements was 49 and the changes will sunset in 2030.
- To generate revenue, the bill will claw back remaining unspent funds from the $4.5 trillion in COVID relief money from a number of pandemic-era programs. Similarly, the bill will cancel the entirety of the 2023 staffing funding requests from the IRS. The Inflation Reduction Act contained nearly $80 billion for the IRS to modernize their operations and it is not clear if the agreement impacts that funding.
Now that McCarthy and the White House were able to come to an agreement… the real work may just be getting started. The House GOP Freedom Caucus released a letter signed by 35 members reiterating their opposition to any agreement that does not go at least as far as the Limit, Save, and Grow Act that advanced through the House earlier this month. The bill announced by McCarthy over the weekend does not even come close and Freedom Caucus members wasted no time expressing their concern.
Any concessions by President Biden to placate McCarthy’s members is sure to draw the ire of his fellow Democrats, many of whom have began expressing concern that they were cut out of the process. One Democratic lawmaker, speaking on background, said “The White House needs to understand there are a lot of very frustrated members of the Democratic Caucus who are very concerned about the position that Democrats are being put in. Everybody in the room is worried, is not being communicated with. They don’t know what’s happening.”
Following the announcement of the agreement, prominent progressive lawmaker Rep. Pramila Jayapal offered “I’m not happy with some of the things I’m hearing about, but they are not cutting the deficit and spending.”
There is plenty of time for both sides to sell the agreement to their members before Wednesday’s vote. However, it is possible the more moderate members of both parties come together to reach the 218 vote threshold needed to advance the measure to the Senate. The GOP maintains a five seat majority in the House meaning that for every member McCarthy loses after five defections, he needs to add one Democrat. And of course, too much cooperation with Democrats could lead to Republicans calling for a vote to replace McCarthy as Speaker, which can now be done by a single member.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries planned to brief his caucus at 8 p.m. on Sunday. Democratic Leadership has largely remained silent until they have seen the details of the agreement but given the likely GOP defections, bipartisan cooperation will be needed.
In New York, elected officials at all levels of government are still dealing with the logistical and political dilemma of accommodating an influx of migrants seeking asylum. Last week, New York City Mayor Eric Adams asked a judge to suspend New York City’s “right to shelter,” which requires the City house any homeless individual who asks for it. In his statement, the Mayor said “It is in the best interest of everyone, including those seeking to come to the United States, to be upfront that New York City cannot single-handedly provide care to everyone crossing our border.”
Governor Hochul has reportedly identified 1,500 beds spread out across three SUNY campuses, Buffalo, Stony Brook, and Albany, that have the ability to serve as short-term housing before students return in August. A number of County Executives and other municipal officials have passed orders barring their localities from accepting migrants, though the legality of those laws are up for debate. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has rejected calls for Erie County to do the same and offered “During the past decade we have successfully assimilated thousands of immigrants into our community, many refugees from despotic lands. This is one reason for the great rebirth of many previously downtrodden neighborhoods in Buffalo.”
There is a lot happening in Albany, but with just 7 days left in the 2023 Legislative Session, it remains to be seen what will actually get across the finish line before the June 8th adjournment. (Meaningful action on legislation has been so slow that the only announcement out of Albany this weekend was an updated shark safety protocol for beachgoers.)
In addition to a host of bills on Calendars this week, Committees will meet to consider a slew of nominations, including Acting Department of Health Commissioner, Dr. James McDonald. The Senate Banks Committee will also hold a hearing on the State’s role in preventing future banking failures in light of Signature Bank’s recent collapse.
Aside from the priorities we have discussed over the past few weeks, Legislative Bill Drafters were busy with a rush of over 150 bill introductions last Thursday night heading into the weekend. Last week, we saw movement on some other priorities including legislation to ban non-compete agreements, as well as the long-stalled Securing Wages Earned Against Theft (SWEAT) Bill that would expand employees’ liens in cases of wage theft.
This week Committee agendas are winding down from the 60 committee meetings last week, but you will want to keep an eye on Floor Calendars, and the few remaining committee agendas. One bill to watch this is the Packaging Reduction and Recycling Infrastructure Act, which would require companies with net income over $1 million who sell or distribute certain materials and products to reduce packaging and improve recycling and recycling infrastructure. Extended producer responsibility has been a priority for environmental groups and was a large discussion that ultimately fell out of the Budget process. There is opposition from the Business Council, the Farm Bureau, and many stakeholders across a variety of industries who say the shift would “damage industries in New York State and impact the price of consumer goods.”
New to the NYS Legislature
Jack’s Insight on the Simmering Migrant Issue
“[The migrant issue] has become a such a political hot button issue where people just have to be or feel the need to be strongly on one side or the other rather than finding solutions in the middle,” says our Jack O’Donnell in this WBEN interview. How is Albany responding to the migrant issue? Why are some legislators publicly mum on the issue? Jack weighs in with the team at WBEN’s ‘A New Morning’. Listen here.
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