Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heading to Washington, D.C. today to lobby for the $42 billion in federal disaster aid he’s seeking to help the state recover from Sandy and prepare for future storms.

This is the governor’s first big trip to Capitol Hill since he took office in January 2011. His tentative schedule is as follows:

1:45 p.m., meet with Appropriations Committee Chairman and Vice-Chairman Senator Daniel Inouye and Senator Thad Cochran, Hart Senate Office Building (Room SH-722).

3:00 p.m., meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. U.S. Capitol Building (Room S-221).

4 p.m., meet with House Speaker John Boehner. U.S. Capitol Building (Room H-232).

4:30 p.m., meet with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. U.S. Capitol Building (Room H-204).

5 p.m., meet with members of New York’s congressional delegation and hold media availability. Capital Visitor’s Center (Room 202).

All these meetings, save the last, are closed to members of the press. Cuomo will be joined during his first two get-togethers by US Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Reps. Pete King, Michael Grimm and Bob Turner – downstate Republicans, all – will join the governor during his sit down with Boehner.

Also happening today…

Patients will join Reps. Charles Rangel, Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney and members of the Associated Medical Schools of NY to urge Congress to reject a nearly 10 percent cut to National Institutes of Health funding that is slated to take effect in January. 10:45 a.m., Columbia University Medical Center, Hammer Health Sciences Center, 701 West 168 St., Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., the same trio of House members will join city Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh to call for FEMA to extend deadlines for small businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy to apply for grants and loans. City Hall steps, Lower Manhattan.

The Rockefeller Institute of Government and the League of Women Voters of New York State are co-hosting a forum on campaign finance reform. 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Rockefeller Institute, 411 State St., Albany.

At 6:30 p.m., the Citizens Crime Commission of NYC will hold its annual fundraiser at 320 Park Ave (50th Street), featuring a conversation on criminal justice issues with three 2013 NYC mayoral contenders: Christine Quinn, Bill de Blasio and John Liu.

A judge in Montgomery County will hear arguments today from attorneys representing the 46th SD contenders – GOP Assemblyman George Amedore and Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk. At issue: The residency of second home owners/voters in Ulster County.


As Cuomo heads to D.C., word is out that the White House is expected to issue its supplemental spending request for Sandy-related aid early this week, but it won’t likely include all of the $80 billion sought by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Schumer acknowledged the fiscal cliff battle in Washington makes it harder to make the case for New York to get all the aid it’s seeking, but he’s “hopeful.”

The recommendation by Bloomberg, under advice from aides to himself on Cuomo, that thousands of elderly, disabled and mentally ill residents remain in more than 40 nursing homes and adult homes in flood-prone areas of New York City had calamitous consequences.

LIPA’s $6.9 billion debt load, long portrayed as a hindrance to rate relief and new energy projects, also stands in the way of efforts to protect the Long Island grid from the impact of the next major storm.

The Senate Republicans have a “top-secret plan” (revealed on CapTon last week by Sen. Mike Gianaris) to delay the two yet-unresolved races into the new year so they have more members than the Democrats for the majority leader vote.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani says his one-time deputy, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota, will likely announce by Christmas whether he will leave his post to run for mayor himself in 2013.

Giuliani also said responding to Sandy “will be a feather” in the caps of Cuomo and Christie – both potential 2016 presidential contenders – adding: “They can check the box off that says they can handle an emergency.”

Attending a NYC Independence Party awards ceremony, Council Speaker Quinn said she has been independent “for a long time.” (She didn’t get an award, but her potential 2013 mayoral rival, Sen. Malcolm Smith, did).

A Rochester school district is one of 10 in five states that will add up to 300 hours to their calendars starting next fall as part of an effort coordinated by state officials and nonprofit education reform organizations.

The Watertown Times writes: “Maybe New Yorkers so adamantly opposed to fracking should stand by their principle and purchase higher priced natural gas from sources they find more suitable to them.”

As energy companies show diminished interest in high-volume hydraulic fracturing in New York, the Tompkins County Courthouse is being flooded with paperwork showing a rapid increase in expiring gas leases.

Under a series of new contracts arranged by the Office of General Services, temporary state employees will see their wages fall as much as 42 percent. The savings should reach $12 million a year.

Some top Senate Democrats and members of the allied Working Families Party have recently spoken critically of the four-member IDC’s power-sharing plan, making an alliance with the GOP seem more attractive to them.

New Yorker editor David Remnick believes Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016.

President Obama is facing increasing pressure to determine the fate of the $7 billion Keystone XL project now that the 2012 election is safely behind him.

Conklin Town Supervisor Jim Finch laments the state’s delay in making a fracking decision, saying it’s costing jobs for his town, which sits one mile from the three most productive gas wells in Susquehanna County, Penn.

The New York Road Runners club and its insurers have been waging a pitched battle the past four weeks over how much money race organizers will be able to reclaim in the wake of last month’s canceled New York City Marathon. Superintendent for Financial Services Ben Lawsky has stepped in to mediate.

Amid concerns it will be forced by the state to merge or close, a financially troubled hospital serving a largely African-American and Caribbean niche of central Brooklyn is planning to declare bankruptcy this week.

Rye Town Supervisor Joe Carvin sings the praises of Rockland GOP Chairman Vincent Reda.

EJ McMahon details how a fiscal cliff deal might impact New York negatively.

More than 90 percent of the school districts in New York (some 633 of the nearly 700) had submitted teacher evaluation plans to Albany as of Friday – the soft deadline that state Education Department officials had set if schools did not want to jeopardize any of their state aid. Fewer than half the submitted plans have been approved.

State health advisers to Cuomo will approve a plan later this week pushing for an increase on “sin” taxes on booze, limiting the numbers of new bars and liquor stores, and restricting the hours of gin joints.

Pope Benedict XVI will start tweeting in six languages from his own personal handle @Pontifex on Dec. 12.