DC in Disarray
Impending government shutdown, managing migrants, Excalibur Award
Good morning from our Nation’s Capital… where nothing good is happening, except for the Buffalo Bills and their fans.
We are officially less than a week away from a government shutdown and a deal appears even further out of reach. Despite initially planning on holding votes through the weekend, House Republican leadership sent members home on Thursday after it became clear they did not have the votes to advance a short-term continuing resolution (CR).
Now, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are looking to force McCarthy’s hand by advancing a bipartisan CR which will include funding for Ukraine and other priorities that House Republicans have decried. At that point, McCarthy will either have to pass the Senate CR using Democratic votes, or try to amend the CR with Senate approval. Neither is a good option for McCarthy and his right flank has vowed to strip him of the Speakership should he reach across the aisle for votes. Enter shutdown.
At the same time, McCarthy and House GOP leadership are advancing their versions of 11 appropriations bills for FY 2024. The top-line figure, $1.52 trillion, is tens of millions of dollars below what even Senate Republicans would accept, setting up yet another showdown between the two chambers. Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), a moderate, offered, “Let’s stop chasing our tail with these five to 10 members who are making demands that will never become law. Let’s start working across the aisle and get the best deal we can.” Senator Schumer is expected to bring the FAA authorization bill to a procedural vote on Tuesday which will eventually be swapped for the CR when an agreement is reached.
Speaker McCarthy is increasing the chance of a shutdown by wasting time on MAGA proposals that will not become law
It's an ominous case of déjà vu
Catering to the hard right didn’t work during the Republican default crisis, & it won't work here in the Republican shutdown crisis
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer)
Sep 21, 2023
Senator Schumer also took steps this past week to circumvent Senator Tommy Tuberville’s (R-AL) hold on promotions for senior military officials. Tuberville has single-handedly blocked over 300 promotions over his objection to a Pentagon policy that reimburses service members who travel out of state for reproductive care, including abortions. These Senate-confirmed promotions are considered routine and usually advance as a group however, Tuberville’s block requires each nomination be brought to the floor individually— something that is not feasible given the time requirement.
Schumer decided to bring three of those nominations to the floor last week, starting with Air Force Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. who was confirmed as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. The Senate also confirmed Gen. Randy A. George to be Chief of Staff of the Army and Gen. Eric Smith to be Commandant of the Marine Corps. In remarks from the floor, Schumer made clear he does not intend to bring all 300 nominations for individual votes saying, “We cannot continue down this path. It threatens the ability of the Senate and the leadership of both sides to work together to get things done for the American people and it threatens the non-political nature of our military service members.”
“We cannot continue down this path. It threatens the ability of the Senate and the leadership of both sides to work together to get things done for the American people and it threatens the non-political nature of our military service members.”
Senator John Fetterman
Even with a looming government shutdown and parliamentary trickery from Senate colleagues, the Majority Leader found the time to drop the official Senate dress code. Not everyone is happy with the relaxed standards though. The Fetterman look also did not go over well in some of New York City’s restaurants. You can weigh in below in our weekly poll.
In worse news for Schumer’s Conference, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez has been indicted on federal bribery charges. Menendez has been accused of using his position as the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to benefit Egypt in exchange for cash, gold, a luxury car, and mortgage payments. Only a few years ago, Menendez escaped conviction in a different corruption scandal by a hung jury. Menendez stepped down from his position as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, though he has maintained his innocence and said that he will not resign his Senate seat.
Happening Now: President Biden delivers remarks before the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse)
Sep 19, 2023
President Biden was in New York City last week for the United Nations General Assembly where he met with Governor Kathy Hochul, but not much more. The Governor described the meeting as “last minute” and “brief” but did say they discussed the migrant crisis. Speaking at a reception at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, President Biden said, “I first want to thank Gov. Hochul. Kathy, thank you very much for everything this great city has done to make this General Assembly a success.” Hochul and Biden have maintained an amicable relationship, avoiding throwing blame on the other for the struggles presented by the influx of asylum seekers, though the tension continues to rise as the political impact continues to become apparent even to Democrats in New York State.
The same cannot be said for New York City Mayor Eric Adams who was noticeably left out of the President’s remarks and absent from the event. Adams has been much more publicly critical of the White House’s handling of migrants and even went as far as to say the White House has failed New York City. Mayor Adams offered “There's an authentic communication style that I have, and sometimes that offends people, but I'm not going to be dishonest to New Yorkers and finding a word in a thesaurus that makes it sound politically correct.” Adams has since been removed from the list of official surrogates for the Biden reelection campaign. Governor Hochul remains on the list.
“There's an authentic communication style that I have, and sometimes that offends people, but I'm not going to be dishonest to New Yorkers and finding a word in a thesaurus that makes it sound politically correct.”
A group of bipartisan New York State lawmakers filed a lawsuit seeking to block the Adams administration’s plan to house thousands of migrants at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, a former federal airbase. The plan was the result of negotiations between the White House and New York State who felt the site presented the least disruption for everyday New Yorkers, while still providing a humane space and access to services. The tension spilled over last Tuesday when a group of protesters blocked a bus of migrants from leaving an intake center. Mayor Adams condemned their actions saying, “we'll manage this crisis, but we're not going to do it with violence, and we're not going to do it with hateful terminologies spewed at individuals.”
In a move that will provide some reprieve to New York, the Biden administration announced they are granting temporary legal status to over 470,000 Venezuelans who are already in the country. The status designation will allow these individuals to begin working in the U.S. almost immediately, something both Hochul and Adams have requested. In a statement, the Governor said, “I’m grateful the federal government has acted so speedily to grant one of our top priorities: providing Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan asylum seekers and migrants who have already arrived in this country. There’s more work to do as we address this crisis, but the State of New York is prepared to immediately begin the process of signing people up for work authorization and getting them into jobs so they can become self-sufficient.”
After my productive conversation with @POTUS last night, I’m grateful the federal government has acted so speedily to grant one of our top priorities: providing Temporary Protected Status to Venezuelan migrants & asylum seekers who have already arrived in this country.
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul)
Sep 21, 2023
In the unofficial kick off to the budget process, New York State Budget Director Blake Washington sent an official call letter to agency heads last week, directing them to freeze spending at current levels for the upcoming fiscal year. Washington cited “softening economic activity, a reduction in state tax receipts, and a humanitarian crisis” as the main drivers behind the decision though expressed confidence in the state’s ability to get through economic uncertainty. That confidence will be put to the test in the coming years as Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has projected out-year budget gaps totaling $36 billion by 2027.
The fight over redistricting New York’s Congressional maps took another turn last week when Republicans won a temporary freeze on the drafting of new maps while the parties await their November 15th court date before the New York State Court of Appeals. Democrats secured a major victory in July when a State Appellate Court ruled the current maps, drawn by a Special Master in 2022, were unconstitutional and ordered the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) to begin drafting new Congressional Districts. Should the Court of Appeals uphold the Appellate Court ruling, the IRC would still have enough time to draft maps and have them approved by the State Legislature in time for next year’s elections.
Speaking of elections, Governor Hochul signed a package of bills aimed at strengthening voter protections and promoting voting accessibly, including the New York Early Mail Voter Act. The Act will allow all registered voters to request a mail-in ballot up to 10 days before election day and will come with a postage-paid return envelope. A number of New York Republicans have already filed a lawsuit challenging the measure, including GOP House Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik.
The next Republican Presidential primary debate will take place this Wednesday at 9 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. To qualify, candidates must meet a threshold of 3% in two national polls or 3% in one national poll and 3% in one early state poll from two separate early-voting states. Candidates must also have 50,000 unique donors to their principal presidential campaign committee or exploratory committee, with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in more than 20 states. Under that criteria, the candidates who have qualified are Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis, and Sen. Tim Scott. Former President Donald Trump is reportedly skipping the debate and will instead meet with striking autoworkers in Michigan.
That visit comes amid the backdrop of growing tension between the UAW and President Biden, who has enjoyed the support of organized labor throughout his political career. The White House has publicly said they support the striking workers, but the economic fallout that could result from a sustained strike has left President Biden in a tough spot. The UAW invited the President to join them on the picket line and he is scheduled to visit on Tuesday. The impact on the economy of the strike is a real test of Biden’s leadership especially as he campaigns as the most pro-union president in decades; POTUS walking a picket line is a big deal.
Photo credit: Nestlé
The new frontier for chocolate chip cookies includes the classic cookie with a twist – flat and wide with crinkly, golden-brown edges, bedazzled with black and white sesame seeds and the inside filled with sweetened red bean paste, akin to an almost savory treat found in dim sum restaurants.
OD&A in the News
No deal in sight for funding the federal government… and what’s the impact of an impeachment inquiry into President Biden? Jack joins Susan Arbetter on Capital Tonight. Watch here.
Do you support the new informal dress code for lawmakers on the U.S. Senate floor?
Results of the Last Poll
Do you support the State Supreme Court ruling declaring New York's new ethics commission unconstitutional?
New to the NYS Legislature
State Senator Bill Weber was elected to represent the constituents of Senate District 38 in 2022. The 38th Senate District includes all of Rockland County with the exception of the town of Stony Point. A lifelong resident of Rockland County, he is one of only two NYS Certified Public Accountants in the State Legislature.
Senator Weber currently serves as the Ranking Member on the Senate Committees on Budget and Revenue, and Disabilities.
Prior to serving in the Senate, Senator Weber worked as a Chief Financial Officer for a medium-sized, family-run business. He also serves as a Cub Scout leader and a board member for both the Mental Health Association and the Rockland County Youth Bureau.
Senator Weber and his wife, Lisa, are the proud parents of four children raised in Rockland County.
OD&A in the Community
OD&A’s Camille Brandon was a member of the Organizing Committee for the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Symposium on Cancer Research and Care at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. The purpose of the Symposium is to develop new cancer treatments, reduce cancer incidence and improve cancer care and the quality of life of patients and their families.
This Day in History
September 25, 1789
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