Good Morning from the Nation’s Capital…

It really was infrastructure week! Democrats from President Biden to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to New York Congressional Reps. Brian Higgins (NY-26), Gregory Meeks (NY-05) and Kathleen Rice (NY-04) announced the House’s passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework as a major victory. Biden touted the broad ranging benefits of the package from a news conference at the Port of Baltimore while Schumer was quick to note the benefits to New York, including:
 
  • $13.5 billion for bridges
  • $11 billion for New York’s public transit systems
  • Over $900 million for airports
  • $175 million for EV charging infrastructure
  • $59 billion for Passenger and Freight Rail 
  • $42.45 billion for grants to states on broadband
 
Here are a few good pieces worth a read on infrastructure:
 
Biden will sign the legislation today on the White House South Lawn and then will hit the road to New Hampshire and Michigan to promote the bill in an attempt to extend infrastructure week a few more days.

 

Back in New York…

Kathy Hochul announced having raised $10 million dollars with still two more months to go in the cycle. Fundraising reports without the report itself being released need to be taken with a grain of salt, but this is an impressive haul for the new governor. Expect Jumaane Williams to officially join the governor’s race this week while Tish James continued to roll out an impressive list of endorsements. She also appointed Avi Israel, President and Founder of Save the Michaels of the World, to the Opioid Settlement Board.

However the biggest news of the week was the release of the first batch of transcripts from the Attorney General’s investigation of Andrew Cuomo. The most salacious report came from State Trooper #2’s testimony regarding Cuomo and State Entity Employee #1 making out like teenagers. State Entity Employee #1 is presumed to be former Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa. This got the headlines but it really is just a report of a rumor that has been in the public domain for years rather than anything new. 
The 250-plus pages of Cuomo’s deposition reveal Cuomo generally being Cuomo along with an amazing 187 “I do not recall” and 182 “I don’t knows”. Andrew Cuomo “not knowing” is pretty startling. That said, the most amazing and newsworthy testimony was from Dr. Elizabeth Dufort (the former medical director of the state DOH’s office of epidemiology) who talked about the NYS Department of Health under Cuomo. Dr. Dufort testified that Gov. Cuomo barred the State DOH from coordinating with local health departments in New York City. Dufort added that everything had to be approved in advance and “there was a desire for messaging to come from the Governor, not multiple people as it normally happens in an outbreak.” This should undercut any remaining illusions that Cuomo’s COVID leadership amounted to anything more than his self-aggrandizing news conferences which provided a modicum of comfort and security during the early days of the pandemic. 
 
 
Until then, stay tuned.

 -Jack O’Donnell

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