Bill de Blasio

DiNapoli: No Special Needed If Congress Reverses Health Care Cuts

From the Morning Memo:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week raised the specter of a special session before the year ends to address the deficit caused by federal health care cuts – both already realized and potentially pending.

But state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, New York’s chief bean counter, said during a CapTon interview last night that he doesn’t believe state lawmakers will be forced to return to the Capitol prior to the January start of the 2018 session if Congress reaches a deal in the coming weeks on averting reductions to the Disproportionate Share Hospital payments and Children’s Health Insurance Plan.

“The DSH cuts have been on the table for a long period of time, they keep getting pushed off though,” DiNapoli said. “We’ve heard from some of our Senate leaders, and (Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer) is cautiously optimistic, that Washington they will in fact come to some agreement, if not all, to put off some of these cuts again. So, I think part of what we need to do is to wait and see what gets sorted out in Washington.”

Cuomo has been sounding the alarm about the damage that will be done to New York’s bottom line – a loss of several billion dollars over the next several years alone – if Congress does not reverse funding cuts to safety net hospitals, which took effect Oct. 1. The SHP cuts have been scheduled for some time as part of the Affordable Care Act, but Congress has repeatedly pushed them back.

Congress also failed to reauthorize the program that provides coverage for some 330,000 low-income kids across the state who aren’t eligible for Medicaid. That program, known as CHIP, technically ran its course at the end of September as a result of federal inaction, and New York stands to lose $1.1 billion if it is not reauthorized, the governor said.

And the situation will be even worse, the governor has warned, if the tax reform plan currently under negotiation on Capitol Hill eradicates New Yorkers’ long-standing ability to deduct their state and local taxes, helping to take the sting out of the fact that they live in the state with the nation’s highest property tax burden. (Thanks to pushback on both sides of the aisle, it now appears Republicans are backing down from an outright repeal, though some changes are still under consideration).

What’s more, New York also stands to lose a big chunk of its federal Medicaid funding if Congress ever manages to get a deal on repeal and replacement of Obamacare, with the most recent proposal – Cassidy-Graham – calling for block granting those funds, in a move that would hurt New York more than any other state, Cuomo said.

DiNapoli declined to pick sides in the latest fight between Cuomo and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio over funding for NYC Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest municipal public hospital system and New York’s largest provider of safety-net care.

“No one has a crystal ball, but I think we’ll see some, my hope is, we’ll see some federal action on this sooner or later, so some of what’s being discussed is a dire consequence, having a special session, some of the things we’re talking about, probably, hopefully will not come to pass,” DiNapoli said when asked if the mayor should, as the governor maintains, pick up the tab for H+H funding, or, as the mayor insists, the state should pony up the $380 million it is currently withholding from the system.

The comptroller did say that he believes the Republican members of New York’s congressional delegation need to “step up to the plate and say to their leadership: this is really going to hurt us.”

“We already know there’s going to be many competitive House races in the state,” DiNapoli said. If anything like what’s being proposed goes through, I think people are going to be outraged – as well they should be.”

“…It’s very important that New York push back. What the governor is saying, what the mayor is saying, all of that is accurate, because if we don’t win some of these battles in Washington, then we’re going to be back home fighting each other over a diminished pot.”

“That’s going to be very hard for the Legislature at the state level to then have to figure out how we’re going to keep all these local governments from going over the edge in terms of providing services versus raising taxes to keep providing the services that New Yorkers expect.”

Governor Says He’ll Support DeBlasio in NYC General Election

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio a lukewarm endorsement Monday during an appearance on the Brian Lehrer Show.

“The mayor won the democratic primary, I am a democrat, I support democrats and I will support Mayor de Blasio in the general,” Cuomo said.

The host prodded the governor, asking if he is only supporting DeBlasio because they’re in the same party.

“Nothing more enthusiastic than that?” Lehrer asked.

“No I think in this contest; life is options they say, right?” Cuomo responded. ” I think in this contest, he is the better person to serve the city of New York as mayor, period.”

DeBlasio faces Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis, current a state Assembly member, and Independent candidate Bo Dietl. He won the Democratic primary last week with nearly 75 percent of the vote.

Cuomo chose to stay out of the primary, telling reporters, as a Westchester resident, he wouldn’t vote in the election so he wasn’t offering an endorsement. The governor did, however, endorse several candidates in primaries for New York City Council.

The tenuous relationship between Cuomo and DeBlasio is long-running and well-documented. Most recently, the two have feuded over the city’s subway issues.

De Blasio Endorses Ayala For NYC Council

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday endorsed Diana Ayala for an open city Council seat that includes parts of the South Bronx and East Harlem.

The district is being vacated by outgoing Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is seeking a district leader post.

“I am truly humbled to have the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Now more than ever, strong progressive leaders must take a stand to defend the rights of all New Yorkers,” Ayala said.

“From starting universal Pre-K to making our city safer to building housing that is truly affordable for working families, we have been building a fairer and more just City with the Mayor’s progressive leadership. I am excited to continue delivering for my neighbors as the next Councilwoman for East Harlem and the South Bronx.”

In giving his endorsement, de Blasio pointed to Ayala’s resume on housing issues.

“Diana Ayala is the best candidate to carry on the legacy of Melissa Mark-Viverito and be a forceful advocate for NYCHA residents and increased affordable housing. Her personal story of overcoming adversity to provide for her family and community, and her proud roots in NYCHA and city public schools, have formed a true backbone to take on powerful interests and deliver for El Barrio and the South Bronx,” de Blasio said in a statement.

“We need progressive leaders like Diana who will be tireless champions for working families and vocal antagonists to Trump extremism which threatens our very core. I am proud to endorse her, and look forward to working with her on the City Council.”

Nurses Association Endorses NYC Incumbents

The New York State Nurses Association on Wednesday endorsed the three city-wide incumbents seeking re-election this fall: Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James and Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“These candidates have a proven history of fighting to protect NYC Health + Hospitals against the onslaught of budget cuts coming from Washington. That’s why NYSNA is officially making these endorsements today,” said Judith Cutchin, RN, President of the NYSNA NYC Health + Hospitals/Mayoral Agencies Executive Council and a registered nurse at Woodhull Medical Center.

“Every day, they stand up and fight for New York City residents, they fight to keep our public hospitals open and serving our most vulnerable patients and on behalf of the thousands of nurses in NYC and the thousands that serve within our public hospital system, we applaud and enthusiastically support these candidates who stand with our patients and communities.”

The group represents nearly 40,000 registered nurses in New York state.

The mayor and his Democratic primary opponent, Sal Albanese, face each other in a debate this evening.

“As Mayor, my administration has made improving the physical and mental health of all our residents a top priority, but in order to effectively do this, we must ensure that our medical infrastructure is properly staffed with high-quality health care professionals — especially nurses,” de Blasio said.

“NYSNA has been on the front lines of some of the biggest health challenges facing our great city. It’s a true honor to stand by their side and receive their endorsement here today. Together, I know we can continue to build a better, healthier future for all New Yorkers.”

De Blasio Campaign Compares Malliottakis To Trump, Again

The re-election campaign of Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday once again compared his GOP opponent, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, to President Trump.

At issue is Malliotakis’s response to the unrest in Virginia that led to the death of a counter protester and two State Police officers following a rally and demonstration by groups of white supremacists.

In the email, which urges supporters to add their names to a petition, the de Blasio campaign quotes Malliotakis’s response: “We shouldn’t be looking in any way to pit communities against each other, what we have to do is send the message that all lives matter.”

The email says Malliotakis’s echoed Trump’s “many sides” comment.

“This is not about pitting communities against each other. Only one community marched with Confederate and Nazi flags,” the email states. “Only one person drove a car into dozens of people. Assembly Member Malliotakis may be counting on the support, enthusiasm, and donations from those who propelled Trump to the presidency, but her refusal to simply condemn Trump’s “many sides” comment makes her unfit to lead the largest and most diverse city in America.”

This isn’t the first time de Blasio’s campaign has compared Malliotakis to Trump, who holds low approval ratings in Democratic heavy New York City.

The campaign earlier this summer released an email criticizing Malliotakis for meeting with Trump before he became president and a second one knocked her support from the Trump-supporting Mercer family.

De Blasio Campaign Emails For MTA Tax Plan

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s re-election campaign circulated an email petition on Wednesday urging supporters to push Albany to back his plan to tax upper income earners to bolster mass transit.

“Sign my petition calling on Albany to pass a millionaire’s tax to upgrade New York City’s subways, buses, and the Staten Island Railway, and to provide half priced MetroCards for low-income New Yorkers,” the email states.

De Blasio this week proposed a new tax to shore up the MTA and provide another revenue source for the struggling subway system. But the plan is considered a non-starter for Senate Republicans. The mayor had lunch on Tuesday with Republican Majority Leader John Flanagan, but his position remains unchanged.

“When the working people of this city get on subways and buses to get to their jobs, the people who own those companies do well,” de Blasio said. “When customers use public transportation to go to their stores and businesses, they do well.”

The first-term Democrat is expected to face Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.

De Blasio Admin Reacts To End Of Fundraising Probe

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office on Thursday reacted to the decision by federal and city prosecutors to not bring any charges in multiple investigations into fundraising and political activities.

In a statement, de Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips indicated the city administration was happy to turn the page.

“We have been confident from the moment these reviews began that the actions of the Mayor and our Administration have always been within the law,” Phillips said. “The United States Attorney and Manhattan District Attorney have now put to rest any suggestion otherwise. We thank these prosecutors’ offices for conducting what were clearly diligent and exhaustive reviews – and for making public the conclusions of these probes. New Yorkers deserve honest, progressive government. With this Mayor, they will always get it.”

Republican Paul Massey, one of de Blasio’s GOP rivals this year, insisted the story shouldn’t end here, however, pointing to the criticism by prosecutors of the mayor’s fundraising efforts.

“The US Attorney confirmed this highly corrupt activity where ‘Mayor de Blasio and others acting on his behalf solicited donations from individuals who sought official favors from the City,’ and the Manhattan District Attorney called de Blasio’s behavior ‘contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws that impose candidate contribution limits, laws which are meant to prevent ‘corruption and the appearance of corruption’ in the campaign financing process,’ Massey said in a statement released by his campaign.

“Indeed, the Manhattan District Attorney affirmed that their ‘determination does not foreclose the BOE or others from pursuing any civil or regulatory action that they determine might be warranted by these facts.’

He called on the state Board of Elections “other appropriate agencies to pursue civil action” against the mayor.

De Blasio Cleared In Fundraising Probes

No charges will be brought following an extensive investigation of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his political associates, the U.S. attorney’s office on Thursday announced.

The investigation stemmed into de Blasio’s efforts to help elect Democrats to the state Senate in 2014 using county Democratic committees to aid candidates running in key swing districts outside of New York City including the Hudson Valley and in Monroe County.

Investigators also probed whether de Blasio’s donors sought favors in exchange for contributions to his political efforts, including the Campaign for One New York, conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s office.

“After careful deliberation, given the totality of the circumstances here and absent additional evidence, we do not intend to bring federal criminal charges against the Mayor or those acting on his behalf relating to the fundraising efforts in question,” said Joon Kim, the acting U.S. attorney.

“Although it is rare that we issue a public statement about the status of an investigation, we believe it appropriate in this case at this time, in order not to unduly influence the upcoming campaign and Mayoral election.”

In a separate letter to the state Board of Elections, Vance, too, determined no charges would be brought by his office even as he was critical of the fundraising efforts.

“This conclusion is not an endorsement of the conduct at issue,” he wrote. “Indeed, the transactions appear contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws that impose candidate contribution limits, laws which are meant to prevent ‘corruption and the appearance of corruption’ in the campaign finance process.”

The federal investigation had looked into whether de Blasio or his allies had skirted campaign finance laws by donating to county committees, which in turn aided the campaigns of Sens. Terry Gipson of the Poughkeepsie area and Ted O’Brien of Rochester, as well as candidate Justin Wagner in the Hudson Valley.

The announcement coincides days after the departure of former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who had led the investigation into de Blasio as well as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s closure of the Moreland Commission following an agreement on ethics reform changes in the state budget. Bharara announced in 2016 no charges would be brought in the Moreland Commission case.

The investigations had appeared to be winding down for the last several weeks after de Blasio met personally with federal prosecutors to discuss the probe.

De Blasio is running for a second term as mayor this November.

Cuomo: De Blasio and I In ‘Lockstep’ On Bombing Response

Despite the fact that they have held separate press conferences and were on different pages regarding whether this weekend’s Chelsea bombing was actually a terrorist act, Gov. Andrew Cuomo insisted earlier today that he and his political nemesis, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, are in fact “in lockstep” in their response to this incident.

Cuomo, (who, by the way, was appearing without the mayor at Penn Station at at event where he was ostensibly thanking first responders for their work since the blast), said he and de Blasio “agree on all the facts, all the circumstances, all the actions.”

The governor, who has been publicly at odds with the mayor for over a year now, noted he and de Blasio tours the explosion site together yesterday, where they also engaged in a quick hug.

As to the question of why he and de Blasio appeared to disagree on whether this was an act of terrorism, the governor said:

“By definition, terrorism is taking an action that endangers human lives that appears to be intended to cause intimidation…I believe you set off a bomb, you set off a second bomb, that’s an effort to intimidate New Yorkers.”

Cuomo yesterday said there did not appear to be an international connection to this blast – no “hint of connection” to a foreign element’s involvement. Today, however, with the release of the name of a person of interest – Ahmad Khan Rahami, a naturalized United States citizen of Afghan descent, who apparently is in custody in New Jersey after engaging in a shoutout with police – he said there “may well turn out to be” a link to foreign organizations.

The governor said the differences of approach in addressing the incident yesterday was a case of “semantics,” adding:

“Some people call it terrorism, some people said it appeared to be terrorism. I believe that’s all semantics. I also believe you had a little politics going on frankly…Hillary clinton called it this. Donald Trump called it that. The media loves politics in the silly season, and we are in the silly season, which is more like the crazy season this season.”

Cuomo, Generally Speaking, Will Battle Local Incompetence

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s feud with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio shows little signs of slowing down anytime soon.

At a news conference on Tuesday for an update on the state’s response to the Zika virus, Cuomo stood by a statement released by a spokesman last week that suggested de Blasio was an incompetent manager of the city.

“I think the statement is perfectly clear,” Cuomo said. “I represent the people of the city of New York, I represent the people of the city of Buffalo. I represent the entire state.”

It’s his job, Cuomo insisted, to step in when a local government’s mayor is failing to do their job “for one reason or another.”

“If a mayor, any mayor, is not doing his job, for one reason or another, or can’t do their job, for one reason or another, or is playing politics with an issue, for one reason or another, I’m not going to let the people suffer and pay the price,” he said.

Cuomo and de Blasio have been locked an in an increasingly tense public battle over the last year after the mayor slammed the governor in an interview, accusing him of siding with Senate Republicans at the detriment to the city’s well being and his agenda in Albany.

Cuomo, in turn, has seemingly sought to undermine de Blasio ever more so, with the mayor’s team stymied on a variety of issues at the Capitol, including mayoral control of New York City schools.

Last week at the Democratic National Convention, de Blasio left a breakfast held for the New York delegation before he was due to speak after Cuomo spoke for nearly a half hour. Cuomo’s office denied it was an intentional snub of the mayor, who had another event scheduled later in the day.

A Quinnipiac University poll released on Monday found most voters do not believe the feud is a personal one between the two men, despite the apparent animosity.

At the same time, the poll found Cuomo had a higher job approval rating than de Blasio and a plurality of voters sided with the governor over the mayor.

In a tweet, de Blasio’s 2011 campaign adviser Bill Hyers knocked Cuomo’s statement at the news conference, saying the governor should “concentrate” on his own issues, such as the Hoosick Falls water contamination.