The (Shutdown) Weekend That Was

There is growing optimism that the Senate will be able to muster the votes necessary to advance a three-week funding measure to reopen the federal government, Republican and Democratic aides and lawmakers say.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spurned President Trump’s $20 billion request for a border wall, suggesting Democrats in the lower chamber would oppose that figure even if it ensured a deal to protect recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Sen. Bernie Sanders said if Congress fails to come up with a solution for the young immigrants known as “Dreamers” deporting them would be “one of the ugliest stains” in US history.

Speaking at s military facility near the Syrian border, Vice President Mike Pence told US service members that immigration talks between lawmakers and the White House couldn’t proceed until the government reopens.

Trump urged Republicans to use the “Nuclear Option” to reach a long-term solution to the shutdown.

Thirteen hours into the government shutdown, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made a flagrant attempt to peel Trump away from his Republican colleagues and White House aides, saying: “Negotiating with this White House is like negotiating with jello, it is next to impossible.”

Schumer said that he agreed to discuss the U.S.-Mexico border wall as part of negotiations with Trump, but wasn’t able to win him over.

With much of the federal government shut down, the House and Senate reconvened for a rare Saturday session, hoping to find a way to restart the flow of funds at least temporarily.

Republicans and Democrats simultaneously blamed each other for the crisis, which unfolded one year to the day after President Trump’s inauguration.

Trump on Saturday took a swing at Democrats who blocked a last-minute measure to fund government operations, calling their near-uniform opposition an attempt to give him a “nice present” to commemorate his first anniversary as president.

He also accused the Democrats “of holding our military hostage” over their demand that a short-term spending bill include protection for illegal immigrants brought to the country as children.

Schumer came close to an agreement to avert a government shutdown over a cheeseburger lunch on Friday. But their consensus broke down later in the day when the president and his chief of staff demanded more concessions on immigration.

Unless lawmakers quickly agree to a deal, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed. Services that protect “life or human property” will continue.

Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney described his role as being in charge of the shutdown “kind of cool.”

Thousands of New Yorkers filled Manhattan streets Saturday to protest Trump and his agenda on the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. They wore knitted pink-eared “pussy” hats and held an eclectic mix of colorful handmade signs.

By mid-morning, people gathered in Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and Raleigh, North Carolina. In Philadelphia, many marchers wore pink cat-ear hats as a show of solidarity, while others carried signs stating opposition to Trump and his policies.

The Manhattan Democratic Party blackballed the nation’s most prominent’s women’s right organization — the National Organization of Women — just days before the Women’s March, rejecting a request to have a NOW representative serve on its panel to screen judicial nominations.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll don’t think Trump is a genius, as he described himself.

The FBI did not retain text messages exchanged by two senior officials involved in the probes of Hillary Clinton and Trump for a five-month period ending the day a special counsel was appointed to investigate possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to a new congressional letter.

Rep. Patrick Meehan, a Pennsylvania Republican, was pulled from the House Ethics Committee Saturday amid allegations that he used taxpayer funds to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by a former aide.

A fall 2016 application for a secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant targeting a former Trump campaign adviser has become the latest front in the partisan struggle over the investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election.

Cuomo criticized Trump at a breakfast preceding this weekend’s Women’s March in Manhattan, saying he “simply does not respect women.”

The shutdown of the federal government already has an early casualty: the Air Force Academy’s athletic schedule.

Joe Percoco, a longtime confidant of and aide to Cuomo, goes on trial with others accused of misusing and profiting from their state posts Monday. The governor himself is not implicated in any wrongdoing, but his administration will be exposed for how it operates.

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb received his first county Republican committee endorsement – from Yates County – as he seeks the GOP gubernatorial nomination.

Basic medical care could be as easy as a trip to Walmart under a proposal being pushed by Cuomo.

The agency that runs New York City’s troubled subway said it plans to spend close to $4 billion to buy over a thousand new train cars to modernize an aging fleet, a major investment meant to help remedy the delays and breakdowns that plague the system.

Internal emails obtained by the Daily News show an MTA honcho pushing staff to come up with a higher number of subway delays blamed on power issues, before Cuomo made a public show of citing problems with Con Edison as the single biggest source of disruption for riders.

Cuomo denied any involvement in driving up stats for subway delays blamed on power failures, before he made a public show of citing problems with Con Ed as the biggest source of disruption for riders.

The U.S. Justice Department announced it intends to retry Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey, two months after a jury deadlocked on federal corruption charges against him. The move means Mr. Menendez will have to defend himself again in a year when he is up for re-election.

The state, not the city itself, will decide whether to set up congestion pricing to drive into Midtown Manhattan. Here’s why.

New Yorkers have paid more than $10 million over the last nine years to settle 88 cases of sexual harassment, discrimination, and related cases in state government, almost all of which were brought by women reporting groping, come-ons and demeaning treatment.

Cuomo reportedly will be in Utah for the Sundance premier of the documentary about the cancer fight of his girlfriend, Sandra Lee.

A former lieutenant at Brooklyn’s federal jail was convicted of repeatedly raping a female inmate entrusted to his care.

A former corrections officer turned North Country assemblyman, Democrat Billy Jones, says he knows how to make prisons in New York safer.

Perennial candidate and Kemore attorney Kevin Stocker says there’s a “50-50 chance” he runs for state Senate again, but this time, he would challenge Republican Sen. Chris Jacobs as a Democrat, because he has switched parties.

Two months after omitting municipalities in Monroe and Cayuga counties from its Lake Ontario flooding disaster area, federal officials have amended the declaration to make them eligible.

New York officials last February announced that Long Island would be the starting point for a plan to test groundwater at all state Superfund sites for the possible carcinogen 1,4-dioxane, but at the end of 2017 less than 20 percent of the hazardous-waste sites in Nassau and Suffolk counties had been screened.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen’s reelection campaign has raised $107,028 in the two months since her election as the town’s first Democratic supervisor in more than a century, new campaign finance reports show.

Smithtown opposition is hardening against a proposed Long Island Sound crossing that would link Kings Park to Connecticut.

Islip Town Board member Trish Bergin Weichbrodt apologized after facing harsh criticism for a Facebook post that some are calling racist, in which she suggested she would take her children to three countries that Trump reportedly referred to with a vulgarity last week.

National Grid proposed a rate settlement that would increase average residential electric rates about $2.20 a month this year and $8.50 per month over three years if state regulators approve. The proposal also would raise typical natural gas rates $1.20 a month this year and about $7.50 a month over three years.

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s wild-child niece has finally coughed up the $100,000 she owed from a 2016 stolen-credit-card binge at a posh Greenwich Village pharmacy.

Paul Bocuse, the master chef who defined French cuisine for nearly half a century and put it on tables around the world, a man who raised the profile of top chefs from invisible kitchen artists to international celebrities, has died at 91, French officials announced.

James Comey, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director who was fired last year by Trump, will teach a course on ethical leadership at the College of William & Mary in Virginia, the school said.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Newsweek probe is focusing on alleged money laundering – a possible “money trail” linking San Francisco’s Olivet University and former executives at Newsweek Media Group, the magazine’s parent.

Newsday Media Group’s unionized employees approved a new contract Saturday, paving the way for the newspaper to move to a new location and have another company handle production, officials said.

The Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Baltimore has closed permanently after just two years in operation.

New York Will Pay To Keep Statue Of Liberty Open

New York state will foot the $65,000-a-day bill to keep the Statue of Liberty open amid the ongoing federal government shutdown, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said.

“The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom and opportunity for all, and it is a gross injustice that this administration’s dysfunction caused it to shut down. When this administration tries to deport immigrants, when they close down the Statue of Liberty, they are attacking who we are,” Cuomo said.

The agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior keeps both the park and the monument open as well as nearby Ellis Island. A similar agreement was reached during the most recent federal government shuttering in 2013, with the state using tourism money to keep the monument open.

This time, there is added symbolism given the broader fight in Washington over the status of the undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as children, known as Dreamers.

At the same time, Cuomo has railed against the dysfunction in Washington, comparing it to the relatively smoother functioning in Albany in recent years.

“New York will always stand up for the core values that make our nation truly great,” Cuomo said. “New York State will not allow the vitriol of Washington to close the Statue of Liberty. Today I am proud to announce that New York State will keep the Statue of Liberty open. The Federal government’s dysfunction has tried to close it down symbolically. We will keep it open literally.”

The move was backed by both legislative leaders, Republican Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Democratic Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

“The Statue of Liberty is an international symbol and a beacon of hope, and it serves as one of our state and nation’s premiere tourist attractions,” Flanagan said.

“Democrats and Republicans here in New York agree that it should stay open and continue to welcome tourists and others regardless of any political differences that may exist at the federal level. I thank my partners in state government for working together to make this a reality.”

Heastie added, “Lady Liberty shines as a beacon of hope and opportunity to people around the world and is a symbol of our enduring democracy. We must stand up to President Trump’s hateful policies during this government shutdown and I am proud that here in New York we will do our part to ensure that our voices are heard and the Statue of Liberty remains open.”


With a potential government shutdown looming, Trump cancelled a scheduled trip to his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met in a closed-door meeting with Trump at the White House, but failed to reach a deal to avert a shutdown.

Mick Mulvaney, who heads the White House Office of Management and Budget, said the Trump administration is preparing for “what we’re calling the ‘Schumer shutdown.'”

The Trump administration accelerated its timetable for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, weighing a plan to retrofit the existing consulate there by the end of 2019 in order to fulfill a key campaign pledge by the president.

Trump — who has repeatedly slammed NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem — may skip the traditional Super Bowl pre-game interview.

US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor suffered “symptoms of low blood sugar” and paramedics were called to her home today. The 63-year-old associate judge was treated and returned to work.

A conservative watchdog group released 78 pages of new Hillary Clinton emails –three of which contained classified information and others that revealed the former secretary of state knew about potential security issues with her private email server.

Have you ever wondered how CNN anchor and gubernatorial brother Chris Cuomo spends his day and stays so buff? Now you know.

Every year, NYC hires 200 “decoys” to act as if they live on the street during the Homeless Outreach Population Estimate, the city’s annual census of unsheltered homeless people, as a way gauging the count’s accuracy.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s congestion pricing panel released its long-awaited plan and, as expected, it’s heavily reliant on cooperation from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, with whom the governor maintains a chilly relationship.

Wegmans and Publix are America’s favorite grocery stores, according to a survey of 12,774 shoppers conducted by Market Force Information, a retail consulting firm.

Only weeks after she lost the Syracuse mayor’s race, House Democrats started recruiting Juanita Perez Williams to challenge GOP Rep. John Katko in this year’s mid-term election. But after two months of flirting with the idea, Perez Williams says she won’t take the plunge.

The water main break that flooded the basement at the Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Springs has shuttered the hotel for at least another four weeks and has forced the temporary layoff of 70 employees.

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is out with a report that rips the state Commission on Corrections for the job it is doing with its oversight on state jails, lockups and prisons. One of the big lapses is with the review of complaints and problems coming out of the state prison system.

The Syracuse Regional Airport Authority created a new, $90,000-a-year job late last year and gave it to Bill Ryan, the chief of staff to former mayor Stephanie Miner.

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, a Queens Democrat, introduced legislation last week that would require officials who appoint board members of the state’s public corporations to nominate women and men in similar numbers.

Some Elmont and Floral Park civic leaders are raising concerns that a development group led by the New York Islanders is paying a Manhattan-based consulting firm to conduct an environmental review before the team constructs an 18,000-seat arena at Belmont Park.

Good luck in your new endeavor, Matt Hamilton.

Cuomo Calls Potential Shutdown A ‘Violation Of The Public Trust’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a NY1 interview on Friday said a shutdown of the federal government would be a “violation” of the trust voters have placed in elected officials.

“It’s just a violation of the public trust with the voters of this country, not just of New York, but the voters of this country,” he said.

Still, it’s unlikely the state would be directly impacted by a shutdown, he said.

“The federal facilities are effected, the federal-state interchange is effect,” Cuomo said. “But I don’t believe it’s going to have a dramatic effect on this state.”

Cuomo once again, however, assailed the passage of a tax bill last month that caps state and local tax deductions at $10,000. In response to the law, Cuomo is pushing an overhaul of New York’s tax structure that could include the introduction of an employer-based payroll tax.

“Now, what we’re using is in their new tax bill, they eliminated the deductibility for individuals, but not for businesses,” he said. “So the business can fully deduct the tax they pay. It costs them nothing. On the other hand, if you receive the income, you pay state income tax and then they tax the state income tax. So yes, it is a complicated detailed transaction.”

Cuomo indicated a menu of options — contained in a 37-page Tax and Finance-released report this week — remain on the table.

“Our challenge is to design a new structure that addresses all the different sources of income that you just went through,” Cuomo said.

“You’re right, the wage tax only would include people who get paid wages, wage income. We have another proposal that’s called the UBT, unincorporated business tax, which would take care of people who get paid through an LLC or passive income. But the daunting challenge is anyone who receives income in the state of New York just got a 25 percent increase, how can we go back and restructure the code so those sources of income are taxed and get to deduct it rather than raising the income tax?”

NYSUT Will Have Presence At Women’s March

The New York State United Teachers union on Saturday plans to have a presence at events across the state as part of the national Women’s March.

The union plans to be in force around New York, including a presence at the Albany march. The effort is being led by NYSUT Vice President Jolene DiBrango. The vast majority of the union’s membership is women, about three-quarters.

SD-37: Mayer Endorsed By Building And Construction Trades

Democratic state Senate candidate Shelley Mayer on Friday was endorsed by the Building and Construction Trades Council of Westchester and Putnam Counties, her campaign said.

“I grew up in Westchester, and I know that the hardworking women and men of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Westchester and Putnam Counties are the people who built this county and created the opportunities we all enjoy,” said Mayer. “The keys to keeping our economy growing are to keep investing in infrastructure, so we have a better climate for job growth, and to make sure workers all get safe working conditions and a wage they can live on. I’m running because we need a State Senate ready to invest in our communities, from Bedford to the Sound Shore to Yonkers. We need new leadership, and a new direction. It’s time for real change.”

Mayer, a state assemblywoman from Yonkers, is running to fill the seat vacated in the chamber by Westchester County Executive George Latimer and secured the party’s nomination earlier this month.

Republicans Sarmad Khojasteh and Dan Schorr are vying for the GOP nomination for the district that is a key part of a plan to unite the Independent Democratic Conference and the mainline conference of Democrats in the Senate.

“Good jobs for American workers are under attack every day, and we need tough, smart leaders like Shelley Mayer in the State Senate to fight for us, create jobs and grow our economy. Shelley has always stood with us to make sure that our families earn a fair wage in a safe workplace, and we’re going to stand 100% with her to make sure she wins this critical special election,” said Eddie Doyle, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Westchester and Putnam Counties.

Rozic Seeks Gender Balance At Port Authority Board

Assemblywoman Nily Rozic is working with fellow state lawmakers in New Jersey to boost the number of women on the Port Authority’s board of commissioners, she said Friday in a statement.

At the same time, the Queens Democrat is backing legislation that aims to provide for greater gender balance on public authorities, IDAs and local development corporations.

The issue comes after the state Council on Women Girls released an agenda that includes increasing the number of women on state boards.

“Following stories about the lack of diversity on the Port Authority’s Board of Commissioners in 2016, I decided to take an in depth look into women’s leadership positions across state boards,” said Assemblywoman Rozic. “Since then, three women have been appointed to PANYNJ’s board but New York has a long way to go in closing the gender leadership gap,” Rozic said. “I applaud Governor Cuomo for including this issue among his priorities this year and look forward to increased diversity on our public boards.”

The 12-member Port Authority Board of Commissioners has three women and no public state board in New York is composed of a majority of women.

Monroe and Cayuga Counties Added To Lake Ontario Disaster Declaration

The federal government has added Monroe and Cayuga counties to the list of counties along the Lake Ontario and Saint Lawrence River shoreline that are eligible for disaster assistance. The White House initially approved the declaration for six counties in November.

In the interim, Federal Emergency Management Agency and state Homeland Security and Emergency Services staff worked with the two counties to approve additional damage claims so they could reach the threshold for assistance. Money will now be available not only to municipalities in the region but also businesses, homeowners and non-profits.

“This year, many communities experienced severe and repetitive flooding along the shores of Lake Ontario due to historically high water levels and New York has been fighting all year to ensure the federal government provide appropriate support to help counties get back on their feet,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-NY, said. “With this amendment, Monroe and Cayuga Counties will not only be able to make critical repairs to facilities and infrastructure, but improve their resiliency as well.”

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo released a statement Friday afternoon, thanking Congressman Chris Collins, R-NY-27, and Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, for working with stakeholders.

“I am grateful that FEMA today included Monroe County in a Disaster Declaration that will help local governments receive fair funding for costs incurred as a result of significant flooding along Lake Ontario last year. Monroe County worked diligently with our federal, state, and local partners to ensure that our community was ultimately included in this vital declaration and today’s approval is welcome news,” she said.

With the declaration, the federal government will cover 75 percent of costs for emergency management and permanent restoration with non-federal sources, including state and local governments, taking on the remainder.

Cuomo Seeks To Reassure Outer Borough Residents With Congestion Pricing

Repeatedly in an interview on NY1 on Friday did Gov. Andrew Cuomo remind viewers that he’s from Queens.

“I’m a Queens boy,” he said, while discussing the proposals for congestion pricing that could result in tolls charged for driving into Manhattan below 60th Street during peak times. “When you are an outer borough person, you have a different perspective on life than those who are gifted to live in Manhattan.”

The plan, released by the Fix NY commission, would charge drivers $11.52. Cuomo noted only about 5 percent of outer borough residents drive into Manhattan, with the vast majority of commuters taking mass transit.

Nevertheless, Cuomo said a congestion pricing is necessary in order to stem choking traffic and bolster funding for the ailing MTA subway system, Cuomo said.

Cuomo will still have to convince lawmakers from outside of Manhattan who represent New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. Sen. Andrew Lanza, a Republican from Staten Island, said he would oppose any congestion pricing plan he deems to be unfair to his constituents. He prefers an equalized toll plan on bridges into Manhattan.

The congestion pricing plan as envisioned by Fix NY would charge fares around zones in Manhattan. Congestion pricing has died multiple deaths in public policy debates, most recently 10 years ago when the Assembly declined to take a vote on a plan backed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Still, one potential critic on Friday appeared to surprisingly warm to the idea. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in an interview on WNYC earlier Friday said he still preferred his plan to tax the rich to further subsidize the subway.

He called what he had seen of the congestion pricing plan “a step in the right direction.”

“I believe the millionaires tax is still the best, most reliable, most verifiable way to get that permanent funding for the MTA, especially because our vision for the millionaires tax includes the Fair Fares concept, meaning half price Metrocards for low-income New Yorkers as a matter of equity and fairness and creating opportunity,” he said. “So I think, although I see some good elements in this new plan, I still think the millionaires tax should be the leading edge of how we solve the larger MTA problem.”

Cuomo Responds To Potential Nixon Primary

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday appeared unconcerned with a potential primary challenge from actress and advocate Cynthia Nixon, saying he’s ready to put his record before voters as he seeks a third term.

In a NY1 interview, Cuomo jokingly suggested political anchor Errol Louis was considering running.

“I think a lot of people are running for governor, maybe,” Cuomo said.

Not really: At this point, only two declared Republicans have jumped into the race, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb and former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra. Democratic former Sen. Terry Gipson is for now the only declared primary opponent.

Nixon, known for her role on “Sex And The City” said Thursday she is “maybe” going to run for governor against Cuomo, staking out a claim to his left. Cuomo remains popular with self-identified liberal voters. A Siena College poll this week found 80 percent of liberal voters hold a favorable view of him.

Cuomo said he has a lot he wants to accomplish in the coming years, citing a series of infrastructure projects, including upgrades to LaGuardia Airport.

“I have produced in my job for the people of New York. I have a lot of projects underway in New York,” he said, adding, “I’m going to run with all my heart and soul and anyone who wants to run I’m ready.”