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President Biden and Vice-President Harris celebrate a “Friendsgiving” at a Washington, D.C. nonprofit.

 Good Morning from the Nation’s Capital…

Like many of us, Congress returns to work this week and, also like many of us, Congress faces an end of the year crunch, just with more consequences. There are only 38 days to go until the end of the year and Congress needs to deal with the annual defense spending bill, avoiding a potential government shutdown, and potentially catastrophic defaults on the nation’s debt at a date not yet certain over the next two weeks. All that before any consideration of the Biden Administration’s priority: the Build Back Better Act.

First up, the Senate will likely spend most of this week deliberating on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Last week, the Senate voted 84-15 to start debate on the floor. Senators and U.S. allies are sounding the alarm bells as this would be the first time in decades the Senate failed to pass the bill: “There are consequences for our security and our standing in the world if we can’t pass the NDAA and [pass an appropriations bill] this year,” said Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.).

Here’s what else the Senate and the House are up against:
  • And finally, as we have been discussing the past few weeks, the Senate still has to take up the Build Back Better (BBB) Act or “Reconciliation Bill,” the centerpiece of the Biden Administration’s agenda and what many see as critical for Democrats’ midterm success (or more likely, as their only chance to stave off catastrophic losses). Christmas (really, home for Christmas, so likely December 23rd or earlier) is the deadline for passing the BBB in the Senate. Democrats are not expecting the Senate to take up the social spending bill until the second week of December. Given the disconnect within the Senate Democratic Conference, expect fireworks.

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 Back in New York…

Governor Kathy Hochul made more appointments to her Administration this week, including former Chief of Staff to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and former Manhattan State Senate Candidate Micah Lasher as Director of Policy, long time Senate Program & Counsel Staffer to the Democratic Conference Lonnie Threatte as Deputy Director of Policy, and long time Staffer to Speaker Carl Heastie and the Assembly Majority Rhay Guillen as Director of Legislative Affairs. Read the full list of recent appointments here.

The 2022 Gubernatorial race continued to make headlines:

The Assembly Judiciary Committee will meet this week after last week’s release of their 46-page report detailing misconduct by ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo, including sexual harassment allegations, nursing home data, health response failures, and his controversial $5.1 million pandemic book deal. The report has renewed calls for the Governor’s impeachment, and debate whether or not it’s possible. “The impeachment process, I don’t believe, is just to remove someone from office. It’s also to reject this behavior, reject what this governor was doing and was using his office for. We also have to set an example here,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Democrat who represents Montgomery County and parts of Schenectady and Albany Counties.

To our Jewish community from all of us at OD&A: Chag Chanukah Sameach! May the eight days of light bring you peace and happiness.

-Jack O’Donnell

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What Do Black Executives Really Want?

Recruiting and retaining Black talent is a priority for many organizations. Most are committed to and investing in diversity, equity, and inclusion. And yet, according to interviews and focus groups with Black executives working in a variety of blue-chip companies with strong DEI programs, very few feel good about their workplace experiences at work. [Read more.]