Good Morning from the Nation’s Capital…
Negotiations on the White House’s landmark Build Back Better Plan continue to be a slough. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca.) set a new deadline of October 31st to pass the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill (the stopgap measure funding the Nation’s Surface Transportation Program is set to expire the same day). Meanwhile, President Joe Biden hit the road in support of the Build Back Better Plan hoping to regain some momentum for the defining measure of his presidency. Speaking at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 234 training facility in Howell, Michigan, Biden said “These bills are about competitiveness versus complacency. They’re about opportunity versus decay. They’re about leading the world or continue to let the world pass us by, which is literally happening. This isn’t about two pieces of legislation, it’s about the inflection point I mentioned earlier we are in our history, the world history.”
Meanwhile, the Senate passed a short-term extension of the debt limit last Thursday on a 50-48 party line vote, staving off potentially catastrophic defaults until at least December 3rd. Ten Republicans (Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Susan Collins of Maine, John Cornyn of Texas, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Richard Shelby of Alabama, John Thune of South Dakota) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell voted to break the filibuster of the measure. However, the vote was not without drama, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered a speech on the floor harshly condemning Republicans for provoking the crisis, which Senator Joe Manchin, a key reconciliation holdout, said he “didn’t think was appropriate at this time” and that “civility is gone”, underscoring just how frayed the Senate—and especially the Democratic Caucus—is at the moment. The Senate also found time to confirm several United States Attorneys in New York–Southern, Northern, Eastern & Western Districts.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the House would return tomorrow to vote on the debt service bill, which could be a difficult vote for a number of House Moderates seeking re-election in swing districts in 2022 (many of whom hoped to take only one debt limit vote and now will have to endure at least three). More importantly, the December deadlines for the debt limit and the expiration of the continuing resolution currently funding government operations set Congress up for a rocky end of 2021, when they will also likely be trying to finish up the Build Back Better Plan negotiations.
Back in New York…
Attorney General Letitia James began a statewide ‘HealNY’ tour to deliver almost $1.5 billion to combat the opioid epidemic. The funding is a result of James’ March 2019 lawsuit against various opioid manufacturers and distributors. Governor Hochul was also focusing in on the opioid crisis signing a package of bills, including measures on judicial diversion around drug offenses and decriminalization of the sale and possession of hypodermic needles.
Medaille College Commits $1.5M Annually to Fund American Rescue Plan Scholarships for New York State Students
Medaille College President Dr. Kenneth M. Macur was joined by elected officials and other dignitaries in announcing the launch of the College’s American Rescue Plan Scholarship. Medaille is committing $1.5 million per year to fund the need-based scholarship, which will help make a college education more accessible to students across New York State, with a special emphasis on low-income rural areas. [Read more.] The story was reported by WBFO, The Buffalo News, WIVB-TV, and WKBW.
Cuomo Aides Sought Post for Hochul in Biden Administration Before Cuomo Was Engulfed in Sexual Harassment Crisis
Top aides to then-New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sought a job in the Biden administration for then-Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul so they could remove her from the gubernatorial ticket ahead of his planned bid for a fourth term in 2022, according to multiple people with knowledge of the matter. [Read more.]
Donald Trump Falls Off The Forbes 400 For First Time in 25 Years
Donald Trump is worth an estimated $2.5 billion, leaving him $400 million short of the cutoff to make this year’s Forbes 400 list of America’s richest people. The real estate mogul is just as wealthy as he was a year ago, when he stood at No. 339 on the ranking, but he is down $600 million since the start of the pandemic. [Read more.]
The Beatles Almost Reunited in Syracuse, and It Started on John Lennon’s Birthday 50 Years Ago
Rock and roll reunions happen often now, such as for special occasions like an award or induction into a hall of fame. Other bands do it for sentimental reasons, anniversaries of hit albums, or — let’s be honest — money. In 1974, the Beatles almost reunited in Syracuse, N.Y., and it all began with a much simpler reason: John Lennon’s birthday on Oct. 9, 1971. [Read more.]