This Week’s Headlines: An extraordinary turn of events
Gov. Andrew Cuomo summoned state lawmakers back to Albany on Wednesday for an extraordinary legislative session to hash out a deal on outstanding issues – starting with mayoral control and building from there – and forced reporters to learn the difference between extraordinary and special sessions. (An extraordinary session is one that is formally called by the governor.) Legislators finally put aside political differences and pushed forward many agenda items, passing the extension of mayoral control of New York City schools, reauthorizing a series of local taxes and providing funding for flood relief near Lake Ontario. Cuomo also got a personal win, as the Assembly followed the state Senate’s lead in passing legislation to name the new Tappan Zee Bridge after his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo.
Lhota problems with the A train
(Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York)
Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota had a rough first week back on the job. An A train derailed in Harlem on Tuesday due to a piece of rail left between the tracks. All the riders were evacuated and 39 were injured, leading to suspensions for two subway supervisors overseeing the track work. But the buck stops with Cuomo, who declared a state of emergency at the MTA Thursday. It will take time to repair the damage – and the loss of trust among riders.
Massey’s pain is Malliotakis’ gain
(lev radin / Shutterstock)
Paul Massey Jr. withdrew from the New York City mayoral race Wednesday, citing the high cost of running against Mayor Bill de Blasio and lack of enthusiasm for his campaign. Massey had raised – and given – millions to his campaign, but his coffers were drained by expensive political consultants and pollsters. His chief GOP rival, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, is now the party’s presumptive candidate. One could practically see the fist pump implicit in Malliotakis’ statement on the loss of her competitor, as she said in the first line that the “decision by Paul Massey clears the field.”
New York spared fallout from health care vote
(Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock)
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded to demands to postpone a procedural vote on the Senate’s version of a bill to replace Obamacare. The delay is a minor victory for Cuomo, as New York would be hit particularly hard by the measure. An amendment first proposed by Reps. Chris Collins and John Faso would shift the cost of Medicaid from the counties to the state, possibly costing $2.3 billion. Cuomo retaliated with a proposed “Faso-Collins federal tax” on property owners to recoup the losses from that shift. Now that the first vote on the bill has been delayed, the Faso-Collins tax can be shelved – until after the July Fourth recess, when the Senate is set to take the issue up again.
A win for Trump’s travel ban
(Shealah Craighead / Official White House Photo)
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear arguments on the Trump administration’s revised travel ban, which would prohibit entry from six majority-Muslim countries. The court upheld parts of the ban, but said it could not be imposed on anyone with “a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” State Department guidelines said that includes parents, siblings and children, but not extended family. The decision is causing anxiety in places like Buffalo, which has resettled 15,000 refugees over the past 15 years. Activists who protested the ban at Kennedy Airport earlier this year have their work cut out for them, depending on how the court rules in the fall.