2016-07-20 / Political Page

Trump Survives, Will Accept GOP Presidential Nomination

Donald Trump, the billionaire skyscraper builder who has had many memorable moments in his success-filled building career, will put them all behind him tomorrow (Thursday) when he is scheduled to deliver the most important speech by far of his lifetime, accepting the Republican Party’s nomination to run for President of the United States in the November election.

Thousand of hysterical delegates in the audience, who helped directly to propel Trump onward and upward to victory in a bitter primary season, will be joined by his proud family and a throng of supporters, as well as a worldwide television audience as Trump reaches the pinnacle of his career.

Trump’s elevation to the presidential nomination will place him directly in the line of fire with Hillary Clinton, who is in line to receive the Democratic Party’s nomination about a week after the Republican presidential convention concludes with Trump’s acceptance address.

Trump’s address will come amid an unsettled climate brought about by the assassination of three police officers in Baton Rouge the Sunday morning before the convention began. That tragic occurrence came as an anti-Trump group staged a protest demonstration in downtown Cleveland Sunday evening near the convention arena.

In the midst of all this activity, convention organizers announced on Sunday that the theme for the convention’s first day on Monday would be “Make America Safe Again,” with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom they alluded to as “the law-and-order mayor of New York.”

Trump himself fed into the law-and-order theme, issuing a statement about the killing of the three policeman in Baton Rouge, which he attributed to a national leadership vacuum.

Trump stated: “How many law enforcement and people have to die because of a lack of leadership in our country? We demand law and order.”

All of this leads us to speculate whether Trump’s address tomorrow evening will emphasize the law-and-order theme, or be a broader review of his campaign platform, while putting the emphasis on looking and sounding presidential. Our guess: law and order emphasis.

As it turned out, the Republican establishment’s position on achieving unity called for Trump extending himself and reaching out to lawmakers. He didn’t take that advice, but it didn’t hurt him at all. It was all his convention, and as for those who snubbed it, they apparently weren’t missed and it all went very smoothly.

The only note of discord at Monday’s convention opener was ended when an anti-Trump faction was out-voted in their attempt to get a roll call vote to force a rule change, to make it more difficult for Trump to lock up the nomination. In a voice vote, they were shouted down by Trump supporters shouting, “USA!” Before the convention, the pro-Trump Rules Committee had ruled that there would not be a lengthy state-by-state roll call on the motion for Trump to be the nominee, and Monday’s fuss was an attempt by the “Never Trump” faction to reverse the pre-convention ruling.

A final word: at this juncture, the polls on Trump and Clinton have narrowed in Trump’s favor, traceable to the latest episode of disclosure of Hillary’s e-mail screw-ups. The long range prospects look like a very close race from the end of the Democratic convention to the November election.

CROWLEY DENOUNCES HOUSE SCIENCE COMMITTEE REPUBLICANS’ SUBPOENA OF STATE AG: Congressmember Joe Crowley (D–Queens, the Bronx), vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, released the statement below following news that House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R–TX) has subpoenaed New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, along with the attorney general of Massachusetts and multiple environmental groups, after they refused to hand over communications related to a multi-state inquiry into Exxon Mobil and climate change. In June, Crowley joined New York House Democrats in a letter to Chairman Smith expressing concern over the Committee’s actions on the matter. The July 13 statement is as follows:

“The decision by Republican leaders of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee to subpoena New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and others is nothing more than a political stunt and a gross abuse of power. Today’s move shows just how far House Republicans’ obsession with denying climate change really can go.”

MENG BILL TO INCREASE FUNDS FOR SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENTS PASSED: Legislation sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng (D–Flushing) and Patrick Murphy (D–FL) to increase funding for Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) – which provide critical assistance to small businesses – was passed on the night of July 8 by the House of Representatives.

The Meng-Murphy measure, an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act (H.R. 5485), adds $5 million to the annual budget that funds SBDCs. The current budget for SBDCs is $125 million.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and SBDCs play a crucial role in helping them succeed,” said Congresswoman Meng. “SBDCs provide vital resources to small business owners – resources that help entrepreneurs grow and thrive, and this boost in funding will further ensure that SBDCs continue the great work they do. When small businesses succeed, America succeeds!”

“America’s SBDCs are grateful for the support offered by Representative Meng and Murphy’s amendment,” said C. E. “Tee” Rowe, President and C.E.O. of America’s SBDC. “Cyber-security is a threat to every small business and costs them millions every year.

“On behalf of the NY SBDC and the national SBDC network, we applaud Congresswoman Meng and the House Small Business Committee for their efforts to support the growing needs and assistance necessary to keep America’s Small Business sector strong and driving our economy,” said James King, State Director of the New York SBDC.

SBDC advisors provide small business owners – and those who seek to start small businesses – with a variety of free business consulting and low-cost training services including: business plan development, manufacturing assistance, financial packaging and lending assistance, exporting and importing support, disaster recovery assistance, procurement and contracting aid, market research help, healthcare guidance and other types of assistance, Meng said.

New York City presently has several SBDCs, including two in Queens: one at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City and another at York College in Jamaica. Meng has advocated for another SBDC in the Northeast section of the borough in order to better serve the needs of the area’s business owners.

The Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act provides annual funding for several federal agencies, including the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), the agency that oversees SBDCs.

CROWLEY’S NEW LEGISLATION TO CREATE UNIVERSAL PENSION PROGRAM: To help combat the savings and retirement crisis in the U.S. today, Congressman Joe Crowley (D–Queens, the Bronx), Vice Chair of the Democratic Caucus, announced the introduction of the Secure, Accessible, Valuable, Efficient Universal Pension Accounts (SAVE UPs) Act, new legislation that establishes universal pension accounts, so every American worker has this vital asset after a lifetime of hard work. With nearly two-thirds of workers earning less than $35,000 a year, not saving for retirement, and private-sector pensions dwindling, the retirement security picture in the U.S. is bleak. Crowley’s SAVE UPs Act will help put a secure retirement back in reach for American workers.

“Every American should be able to retire with peace of mind and enjoy their golden years after a lifetime of working. Unfortunately, with fewer private-sector workers being offered pensions, as well as other challenges facing potential retirees, the dream of a secure retirement is slipping out of reach for too many Americans,” said Crowley. “The equation for retirement security is Social Security, plus pensions, plus personal savings – and that’s why we need to make sure all three legs of the stool are strong. With SAVE UPs, workers will see a much more stable retirement picture – and that’s good news for American families.”

Crowley explained: “While many employers already offer retirement plans to their employees, too many workers find themselves falling through the gaps. In many cases, they are not aware of their employer-provided plans or encouraged to enroll, while in other cases the employer may not be offering a plan at all.”

Crowley’s SAVE UPs bill addresses this problem by directing employers with 10 or more employees who do not already offer a retirement plan to open individualized retirement accounts for every employee and contribute to those plans 50 cents per hour worked, per employee. Alternately, if an employer has an existing retirement plan that qualifies, they can keep contributing to that plan for their employees.

In addition to the employer contribution, once enrolled, employees will automatically begin contributing 3% of their pre-tax income, which increases gradually over time, unless they opt out, Crowley noted. “We know that automatic enrollment dramatically increases participation, and it also sends a strong message about the importance of saving,” continued Crowley.

To help with the cost of contributing to these plans, smaller employers can receive a tax credit worth the value of contributions to 10 employee accounts. For small businesses with fewer than 10 employees, while they are not required to contribute, this tax credit will make it financially possible for them to do so voluntarily.

SAVE UP accounts will have built-in protections to cushion against dramatic losses like those seen after the crash of 2007-2008, giving some reassurance to workers nearing retirement. Additionally, similar to the Thrift Savings Plan currently offered to federal employees, SAVE UP accounts will enjoy government oversight, private management, and a limited number of low-fee index fund options.

Last year, Crowley unveiled his “Building Better Savings, Building Brighter Futures” plan to address the savings and retirement security crisis in the U.S. The plan will make Americans more financially secure throughout their lifetimes by creating new financial options that encourage personal saving, expand employer-provided retirement plans, and strengthen Social Security. Crowley released a detailed blueprint for the plan, which can be found www.crowley.house.gov/sites/crowley.house.gov/files/Building_Better_Savi... Building Brighter Futures_ 0.pdf.

As outlined in his “Building Better Savings” plan, last fall, Crowley introduced legislation to create a new savings program called USAccounts, a long-term savings account to help every American child start their financial future on the right foot. Earlier this year, Crowley introduced legislation to codify into law myRA (my Retirement Account), a program created by President Obama and the Treasury Department to help American workers save for retirement. Recently, Crowley spearheaded a letter urging President Obama to issue an Executive Order to require government contractors auto-enroll employees in retirement plans.

MENG HAILS MAYOR DE BLASIO’S SIGNING OF BILL TO INCREASE ACCESS TO FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS: Congresswoman Grace Meng (D–Queens) hailed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s signing of three bills that will increase access to feminine hygiene products for New York City public school students, shelter residents and inmates.

Meng stated that the signing of these bills is a giant leap forward in the fight for equality. “These pieces of legislation will greatly improve access to feminine hygiene products and help remove the stigma associated with menstruation. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for signing these measures into law, and in particular I thank City Council Speaker Mark- Viverito, Councilwoman Ferreras-Copeland and all the activists for moving this issue forward. It has been a privilege to work with them. When I testified in favor of these bills before the City Council last month, I said that we have a responsibility to ensure that women and girls have access to safe, quality and affordable feminine hygiene products. Thanks to these bills being signed into law, that will now be the case in New York City.”

“As we celebrate this victory, I will redouble my efforts in Congress to make feminine hygiene products more affordable to women,” Meng added. “I recently convinced FEMA to add feminine hygiene products to the list of items that homeless assistance providers can purchase with federal grant funds, and my legislation that would allow Americans to buy feminine hygiene products with money from flexible spending accounts continues to pick up steam.”

This past May, Congresswoman Meng also sent a letter to the New York State Assembly Speaker and Senate Majority Leader urging them to eliminate the NYS sales tax on feminine hygiene products. She added: “The bills signed today by the Mayor serve as an example to cities across the country of how changes can be made at the local level to address the menstruation hygiene management needs of women and girls.”

MENG CRITICIZES PASSAGE OF FAA REAUTHORIZATION ACT FOR NOT ADDRESSING AIRPLANE NOISE OVER QUEENS: Congresswoman Grace Meng (D–Queens), a founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Quiet Skies Caucus, criticized the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act for including no provisions to mitigate airplane noise over Queens and other impacted communities. The measure reauthorizes funding for the FAA and other air travel programs.

Meng also expressed disappointment over the lack of transparency and the manner in which the bill was brought to the House Floor, pointing out that members of the House were not allowed to offer any amendments, provide input or address concerns of labor unions. The Congresswoman noted that the legislation will not expire until September 30, 2017, meaning that for more than a year, Members of Congress won’t have any opportunities to be heard on issues surrounding this important legislation.

A previous version of the FAA Reauthorization bill (the Aviation, Innovation, Reform and Reauthorization Act (AIRR Act) that was not voted on included noise-related provisions advocated for by Meng and the Quiet Skies Caucus. The AIRR Act included processes for notifying communities near airports of flight path changes and a study on the health impacts of noise exposure.

“The absence of any measures to combat the problem of excessive aircraft noise over Queens and other affected communities across the country is a huge disappointment,” said Meng. “I have consistently called for this important legislation to include provisions to mitigate airplane noise. This bill would have allowed for an opportunity to directly address the issue, and the previous version of this legislation included ways to deal with it. It is also very unfortunate that this bill was rushed through while keeping House members out of the process. Our borough continues to be bombarded by the roaring sounds of aircraft noise that constantly disrupts the quality of life in our neighborhoods. A solution must be reached, and I will keep up the fight until we achieve one.”

Meng spearheaded a letter last year to the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that called for noise mitigation measures to be part of the FAA bill. The correspondence was also signed by other members of the Quiet Skies Caucus which Meng helped create in 2014 to raise awareness and find solutions to the problem of aircraft noise. Although airplane noise has long existed over Queens, the problem increased significantly in 2012 due to the FAA’s implementation of new flight patterns over the borough. The letter can be viewed at www.meng.house.gov/sites/meng.house.gov/fil es/Quiet Skies letter FINAL.pdf.

MALONEY REACTS TO BASTILLE DAY TERROR ATTACK: Following the terror attack in Nice, France, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D–Manhattan/Queens) released the following statement:

“The latest tragedy in Nice, France brings home once again the terrible, pointless, barbaric human toll produced around the world by extremist ideology and hatred. The people who died in this senseless attack were men, women and children whose only offense was being alive and enjoying a summer evening while celebrating Bastille Day.

“It is the singular tragedy of our times that so often, so many young people have been seduced by the slickly produced, self-defeating siren song of terrorism and choose to victimize the innocent themselves in turn. Their effect may be numbingly large at times, but their numbers are small and they will be defeated. Our real challenge is to not let ourselves fall victim to their efforts to draw us into being just like them – to hating one another and fearing those unlike ourselves. We are a better people than that. And that is why we shall prevail. ‘Nous sommes tous Nice.’ (‘We are all Nice’)”

STAVISKY FILES OVER 3,300 DEMOCRATIC PETITION SIGNATURES: After weeks of hard work from a volunteer-based staff, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D–Flushing) filed thousands of petition signatures this week with the Board of Elections for the August primaries.

The senator, who is running for reelection, submitted more than 3,300 signatures to secure the Democratic Party line. She has also qualified for the Working Families Party and Women’s Equality Party lines.

“I want to thank the dozens of volunteers from every corner of the district who helped collect signatures,” Stavisky said. “I am proud to say I did not rely on hired staff to help me, but rather, the drive and dedication of those who believe in me enough to volunteer their time. I could not have collected nearly as many signatures without their help.”

DONORS GET FREE METS TIX AT BRAUNSTEIN’S BLOOD DRIVE: Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein (D–Bayside) is sponsoring his 4th Annual Summer Blood Drive, which will take place on Thursday, August 11, from 2:30 pm - 8:30 pm at the Bay Terrace Shopping Center, at 212th Street and 26th Avenue. “Each blood donation helps to save up to three lives,” said Braunstein. “A blood shortage emergency has been declared in New York City, and our hospitals are in need of your assistance, so I hope you will take the time to share this lifesaving gift.”

All donors will receive an electronic voucher for two tickets to see the Mets at Citi Field. Additionally, the first 100 donors will receive a certificate for a free pint of soup from Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen Restaurant & Caterers as part of its Pint for a Pint program. Donors will also receive free pastries courtesy of Panera Bread, water courtesy of Stop & Shop, and other beverages provided by Assemblyman Braunstein.

Eligibility Criteria:

• Bring Donor Card or ID with photo or signature.

• Minimum weight 110 lbs.

• Age 16 – 75 (16 year olds need parental permission & age 76 and over need doctor’s note).

• Eat well (low fat) and drink plenty of fluids before donating.

• No new tattoos in the last 12 months.

For more information on this event, please call Assemblyman Braunstein’s office at 718- 357-3588.

MALONEY ‘APPALLED’ AT GOP HEARING ON ‘ANTI-LGBT BILL’: On July 11, the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub, an LGBT establishment in Orlando, Florida, House Republicans held a hearing on H.R. 2802, the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA). This bill bars the federal government from prohibiting discrimination against LGBT individuals, single mothers and unmarried couples. In response to this hearing, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released the following statement:

“Today’s hearing on the First Amendment Defense Act is a slap in the face to the entire LGBT community and all those who lost loved ones one month ago in the Pulse Nightclub shooting. I am appalled, but sadly not surprised, that anti-LGBT legislation continues to be given a platform in Congress.

“On this anniversary, rather than holding a hearing for a bill that would allow certain people and corporations to discriminate against LGBT individuals without penalty, we should be doubling down on our efforts to show the LGBT community nationwide that we stand with them and that Congress will do our best to protect and support them.

“The bill allows for the targeting of couples in same sex marriages, single mothers and unmarried couples in the form of denial of social services, some medical treatment and Family and Medical Leave Act benefits. These discriminatory measures have no place in the U.S. Congress.”

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