2017-04-26 / Political Page

I On Politics

WILL END OF TRUMP’S FIRST 100 DAYS COINCIDE WITH GOV’S SHUTDOWN?: The headline above creates images of an ugly, horrific political crash occurring as our government might be running out of money, as next Friday coincides with President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office on Saturday, April 29.

There would be such monumental wringing of hands in the president’s Republican camp, as the two major days end with so little being accomplished. Fragments of the Mexican wall plan and the unfinished replacement of Obamacare are spread all over the place.

But there wouldn’t be so much glee as you might imagine in the Democrats’ camp either, because no one can gloat when the U.S. government is brought to a halt and the shame must be shared by both parties.

But pardon our having a little fun with our Republican and Democratic targets. It’s the beginning of a new administration in Washington for the GOP, and President Trump has a lot of campaign promises to keep. The Republicans, who despite controlling both houses of Congress, are under a lot of pressure to provide the vote to convert Trump’s plans into laws. Meanwhile the Democratic opposition must also produce gains for their side in Congress, learning how to deal with the new president and block him at every turn.

Trump starts his first term saddled with a huge problem; finding $20 or $30 billion for a massive wall on the Mexican border, which he insisted the Mexicans would pay for but are resisting strongly. Also giving the new president agita is replacing healthcare he inherited from Obama, which is very popular with millions of Americans who have made it a must. Besides this there’s the budget, also a huge headache, and, of course, the Democratic opposition.

Congress’ Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer (D–NY) has served notice on Trump that his side will not support funding for the Mexican wall, for starters, and general disagreements from Democrats in their dealings with Trump will follow.

NYPD COOPERATING WITH OTHER PDs, PRIVATE SECURITY: In the NYPD’s ongoing anti-terrorism battle, local security officials have met with other departments and together are reaching out to private organizations to enhance their efforts. Expanding the local police agency’s effort nationally was revealed by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill, sources reported.

According to one published report, the NYPD is always on the alert to try to clue in other police departments to strategies it has developed so the hoped-for beneficial outcomes can be spread around.

At the present time, the move to spread local helpful strategies from one police agency to another and then spread it out to private agencies, has gone national. NYPD Commissioner O’Neill announced that the strategy, known as NYPD SHIELD, had emerged on the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks and was structured to give the local department a way to communicate with private security agencies virtually anywhere and deal with any magnitude of threats, large or small.

SIMOTAS LAUDS CUOMO ACTIONS TO SECURE INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR FERTILITY TREATMENTS: “Outdated laws, like the one governing infertility treatment in New York, shouldn’t be a barrier to New Yorkers trying to build families,” said New York State Assembly Member Aravella Simotas (D–Astoria), the sponsor of legislation to expand coverage for infertility. “That is why I was thrilled to hear that the Governor and the Department of Financial Services are updating regulations to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to infertility treatment. It is also why I will keep fighting for the Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act, which guarantees two key things: that cancer patients have insurance coverage for fertility preservation and that insurance companies provide coverage for the medically recognized gold standard of treatment, which is in vitro fertilization. In vitro fertilization may have been experimental when the law was first passed 25 years ago, but it is now the best option for most patients.”

You can see the governor’s announcement at: www.dfs.ny.gov/about/press/prl704191.htm

GIANARIS ON THE PASSING OF FIREFIGHTER WILLIAM TOLLEY: State Senator Michael Gianaris said, “Every day, members of the New York City Fire Department protect our neighborhoods and prevent tragedies. Placing one’s life on the line to save others shows a character of tremendous courage and compassion. My thoughts are with William Tolley’s family and loved ones at this difficult time. He was a dedicated firefighter whose service helped keep us all safe. May his memory be eternal.”

MALONEY SLAMS PROPOSED CUTS FOR PUBLIC HOUSING, ATTENDS RALLY: Congress Member Carolyn B. Maloney joined with New Yorkers from across the city for the No HUD Cuts rally at 26 Federal Plaza on April 20. The gathered crowd was there to protest the proposed $6.2 billion budget cut to the U.S. Department of Housing and urban Development that would negatively impact millions across the country. After the rally, she released the following statement:

“We have an affordable housing crisis in our city, and for many New Yorkers public housing is their only affordable option. There are huge waiting lists of people to get into these apartments, and an enormous backlog of badly needed repairs that runs into the billions of dollars.

“Given these needs, the federal government should be increasing the housing budget. Instead, the President wants to cruelly cut $6.2 billion from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This would be a disaster for New Yorkers. The New York City Housing Authority gets about 70% of its operating funds from HUD, and almost all of its funding for repairs from HUD, so these cuts would devastate NYCHA and those they serve. The President has also proposed eliminating two of the most important sources of funding for local communities, the Community Development Block Grant and the Community Development Financial Institution.

“As a New Yorker, he should know better. He should understand that these cuts will directly harm hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. These cuts would add even more delays to already badly needed repairs, they would force NYCHA to cut back even further on critical services, and it would make it virtually impossible to build any new public housing. Washington Republicans have been cutting HUD’s budget for too many years. It has to stop, and it has to stop now.

“Developers of affordable housing are facing another significant problem: the uncertainty related to low income housing tax credits and questions about tax reform. These tax credits are an essential tool for encouraging new affordable housing but the current uncertainty over tax reform plans is negatively impacting the value of these important credits. Unfortunately, the dysfunctional Republican-controlled Congress is not going to give us any answers in the near future and that means even more uncertainty for our housing market.”

CROWLEY ON GOP’S NEW PREMIUM RAISING HEALTH CARE PROPOSAL: House Democratic Caucus Chair Joe Crowley (D–Queens/Bronx) issued the following statement after it was reported that congressional Republicans are considering an amended health care repeal bill that would worsen coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions and raise premiums.

“Republicans appear hell-bent on making health care worse for working Americans and their families. The newest proposal from the GOP incorporates many of the worst health care ideas championed by the far-right of the Republican party, including giving states the ability to deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions, allowing plans to not cover basic benefits like hospitalization or prescription drugs, and ending a Medicaid expansion effort that would impact millions.

“Floating the possibility that the House could vote on this amended health care bill next week is irresponsible when the government could shut down on April 29. The focus must be on keeping the government funded – the most basic legislative responsibility we have.

“Instead of attempting another disastrous health care repeal vote now, this plan should be abandoned and Republicans should join us at the negotiating table on health care. Democrats would welcome cooperation from our GOP colleagues to make adjustments to America’s health care system to ensure that it’s affordable and of high quality for all. But we will not support any attempt to make American workers pay more for worse quality coverage, as this new GOP proposal would do.”

STATEMENT FROM SEN. COMRIE ON THE HOUSE FIRE IN QUEENS VILLAGE: “I am heartbroken by the news of the house fire in Queens Village. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and all of those who were affected by this tragedy. I thank the first responders for their efforts, and I implore everyone to check the gas lines and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in their homes as soon as possible.”

CROWLEY ON REPLACEMENT OF SURGEON GENERAL: House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) released the following statement today after the announcement that the Trump administration would cut Dr. Vivek Murthy’s four-year term as U.S. Surgeon General short. Dr. Murthy was confirmed by the Senate in 2014 to serve as the nation’s top doctor.

“Dr. Murthy has been a dynamic and outstanding surgeon general and is an inspiration, not only to the Indian American community, but to our entire medical and healthcare community. From speaking out about the need for funding for public health crises, to promoting physical fitness and walkable communities, Dr. Murthy has worked tirelessly to improve the health of the American people. I’ve had the great pleasure of working closely with Dr. Murthy, including welcoming him to my district, where we met with New York health leaders to discuss Zika, the opioid epidemic, and other key health priorities affecting my constituents.

“I thank Dr. Murthy for his service and unwavering commitment to public health. While I’m disappointed that the Trump administration cut his time of service short, I know Dr. Murthy will continue to engage on the health priorities of our country.”

VALLONE’S THIRD PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING CYCLE SETS RECORD

Council Member Paul Vallone has announced the record setting results of his third participatory budgeting cycle. Residents cast 6,214 votes, once again the most of any Council District in Queens, to decide how to spend at least $1,000,000 of Council Member Vallone’s capital funding on projects to improve Northeast Queens.

The winning projects were:

1. P.S. 41 Centennial Electrical Upgrade for School ($500,000 – 2,085 votes) – The 100-year-old school will receive a full electrical upgrade to meet safety standards and support 21st century technology.

2. NYPD Security Cameras ($141,000 – 1,729 votes) – To fund and install four NYPD security cameras in District 19. These security cameras will enhance crime prevention.

3. Bayside High School Student Locker Project ($650,000 – 1,603 votes) – This project will fund the installation of 3,200 new student lockers in the cafeteria and basement corridor, providing a locker to each student.

4. Whitestone Library Technology Upgrade ($100,000 – 1,226 votes) – This project will upgrade the Whitestone Library’s meeting room, which is used for public events and meetings.

As a result of this year’s success, Council Member Vallone also announced that he will be allocating additional capital funding in order to fully fund the $100,000 for the Whitestone Library Technology Upgrade.

The total amount being funded for this year’s participatory budgeting winners is nearly $1.4 million dollars.

“The results clearly show that the district has overwhelmingly embraced the success of the participatory budgeting process. At a time when voter turnout is at a record low, we have created a way to engage our youth and youngest voters as to the power and importance of voting,” said Vallone. “This monumental, 8-month task could not have been possible without the continuous dedication of our delegates, community liaisons, volunteers, staff and especially Vito Tautonico, our Director of Constituent Services, who spearheaded the process. I look forward to continuing to grow the process next year.”

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