Andrew Cuomo

Cuomo, Trump Battle Over NRA

As the National Rifle Association’s leadership is roiled by a leadership crisis amid allegations of financial mismanagement, President Donald Trump and Gov. Andrew Cuomo traded barbs over who is to blame.

Trump in a tweet on Monday morning blamed Cuomo and Attorney General Letitia James for the NRA’s legal woes. Cuomo is suing the gun-rights group over a type of insurance the organization offers. James’s office is investigating the NRA’s finances, a probe the reportedly touched off a leadership battle within the group and led to Oliver North not seeking another term as its president.

“The NRA is under siege by Cuomo and the New York State A.G., who are illegally using the State’s legal apparatus to take down and destroy this very important organization, & others,” Trump posted to Twitter. “It must get its act together quickly, stop the internal fighting, & get back to GREATNESS – FAST!”

Cuomo in a statement in response pointed to the mass shootings in the U.S. since 2012 and knocked the president on the issue.

“President Trump: Since December 2012 there have been 2,029 mass shootings in the United States. 74,600 Americans have died from gun violence since you were elected. You have done nothing but tweet about it,” Cuomo said.

“The scourge of gun violence is a national crisis plaguing our country and killing our children. It demands action. And action, Mr. President, requires true leadership.”

Cuomo has embraced gun control legislation, ranging from the SAFE Act to a bill approved earlier this year that is meant to take guns away from those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

“The only thing illegal is the gun lobby’s insurance scheme. Unlike you, President Trump, New York is not afraid to stand up to the NRA. I will continue to fight for the children of this state,” Cuomo said. “As for the NRA, we’ll remember them in our thoughts and prayers.”

Post-Budget Session Issues To Watch

From the Morning Memo:

The post-budget portion of the legislative session is officially upon Albany, as lawmakers return today from a two-week break after the passage of the $175.5 billion spending plan.

The first three months of the session was unusual, considering that it was front-loaded with so many issues that passed following the Democratic takeover of the state Senate — gun control, abortion rights, LGBTQ protections among them.

In the budget, lawmakers approved criminal justice law changes such as limiting cash bail and setting in motion a ban on plastic bags.

But there’s a lot more for lamwakers to consider between now and June.

1. Marijuana legalization

It’s unfinished business from the state budget, but the issues remain myriad as well as complicated. Gov. Andrew Cuomo included marijuana legalization in his budget proposal, along with a plan that would create a new regulatory plan for retail sale as well as pledges to have the proceeds benefit communities affected by prior drug laws. Cuomo also wanted to use some of the sales tax revenue to help raise capital for the MTA.

But lawmakers had different ideas. One legislative proposal would allow New Yorkers to grow small amounts of marijuana themselves. Other lawmakers continue to work about traffic safety considerations surrounding legalization. Despite agreement over the same goal, the impasse may be difficult to break in the post-budget session.

2. Rent control extension and expansion

With rent control for New York City and the surrounding area up for renewal, lawmakers want to expand the current laws. First up will likely include vacancy decontrol and, potentially, expanding rent control outside of New York City pending local government approval and opt-in. Democrats get to control the process entirely this time, but that could still yield complications as affordable housing advocates will pressure lawmakers even more so to expand the existing laws.

3. Aid in dying

It’s a contentious social issue that has stalled in Albany over the years: Should terminally ill patients have the right to end their own lives? Supporters of the legislation plan to press their case in the coming weeks for the measure, which has been opposed by the Catholic Church as well as some disability rights groups. But Cuomo this month signaled his support for the bill, pledging to sign it if passed.

4. Charter schools

Cuomo’s office signaled to The New York Post earlier this month he would support raising the cap on charter schools in order to accommodate the long waiting list for students. It’s an issue that’s almost certainly dead-on-arrival for the Democratic-controlled state Assembly. Charter schools and education policy writ large have taken a back seat in recent years after several contentious negotiations over teacher evaluation changes as well as efforts meant to strengthen charter schools as backed by Cuomo.

5. Immigration

A push to extend access to driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants living in New York is already underway. Dovetailing with that will be a plan to make New York a formal “sanctuary” state to codify limiting assistance state law enforcement can provide to federal immigration enforcement. Once again, suburban lawmakers will be the legislators to watch in this debate.

6. Wild card

As ever, Albany remains an unpredictable place. A range of issues could still pop up between now and the end of June. Will progressives press forward with stronger campaign finance law changes that are not up to a commission? How will the fight over online rental sites like Airbnb shape up?

The governor and the Legislature are on more equal footing outside of the budget process. Still, Cuomo has been able to find points of leverage to get the Legislature to do what he wants.

Cuomo Says Security Near Houses Of Worship Will Be Boosted

New York will increase security at houses of worship after a deadly shooting at a synagogue in California, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said.

Cuomo in a statement said the State Police will increase its security presence at synagogues and houses of worship as a result of the attack near San Diego, which killed one person and wounded several others.

“New York grieves for the family of the victim and those wounded in the horrific shooting at Chabad of Poway in California,” Cuomo said.

“Six months to the day after the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in our nation’s history, and on the final day of Passover, we are confronted with another devastating attack in a synagogue, a holy place of worship. New York stands shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community and people of all faiths.”

Officials are calling the attack a hate crime and it followings attacks on churches, synagogues and houses of worship across the country and the globe.

“We must come together during this troubling time to root out hate in all its forms and show the nation we will never be divided by these despicable acts of violence,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo Blasts Potential Scale Back In ACA For Transgender Patients

A potential rule change by President Donald Trump’s administration repealing anti-discrimination language for transgender people was blasted on Friday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The change would effect a provision in the Affordable Care Act provides for protections for transgender patients against discrimination.

“The Trump administration’s latest scheme to overturn an Obama-era rule under the Affordable Care Act that provided anti-discrimination protections for transgender Americans is repugnant and unacceptable,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“While this federal administration works to roll back healthcare, in New York we are doing the opposite. We took action in this year’s state budget to ensure all New Yorkers are protected from insurance discrimination by enshrining these critical protections from the Affordable Care Act into state law.”

The Department of Health in New York has already issued a directive that transgender patients cannot be discriminated against, while insurance regulators at the Department of Financial Services have issued rules that would expand the range of protections.

“My message to transgender and gender nonconforming New Yorkers is simple: We have your back. Your healthcare will not be jeopardized because of this proposed rule,” Cuomo said. “And we will not stop fighting to ensure equal protections for every New Yorker regardless of their gender identify.”

Cuomo Calls Political Division ‘Frightening’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a radio interview on Friday morning said he found the current divisive political environment “frightening” and fretted over the lack of unity in the country.

“This country is more divided, more angry, less unified than I’ve ever seen it and it’s frightening,” Cuomo said in an interview on 1010 WINS in New York City.

Cuomo is supporting the presidential candidacy of former Vice President Joe Biden, who announced his third campaign for the White House this week.

Cuomo said the Democratic primary will be a “robust discussion.”

“Joe Biden I’ve worked with for many decades,” he said. “He’s been very good to New York. He’s been a progressive in the truest sense and he’s a progressive who can get things actually done. I think this race is going to be about the values we hold as New Yorkers and Americans. I think it’s more fundamental then debating the policy specifics of a proposal.”

Cuomo Touts Early Progress On L Train

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a pair of radio interviews on Friday morning touted the early progress made on renovating the L train line in New York City, which he said is now ahead of schedule.

“Right now they are ahead of schedule, I’m nervous saying that because with construction it can wind up late,” Cuomo said in an interview on 1010 WINS. “It’s going better than planned and it is a better plan.”

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority had initially considered an 18-month closure of the line for major renovations following damage due to Hurricane Sandy.

Cuomo earlier this year announced a different plan that would close the line on nights and weekends, but keep it open, while still being able to do construction work. The new plan will take about a year to complete.

“It would have been a traffic nightmare on top of what is normally a traffic nightmare,” Cuomo said.

Meanwhile, Cuomo also addressed the back-and-forth with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy over congestion pricing, an agreed-upon plan in the state budget that will lead to tolling to cars entering Manhattan below 60th Street. Cuomo indicated there is not a deal in place to have New Jersey drivers avoid “double tolling” on both bridges as well as entering the city.

At the same time, Cuomo noted the specifics of congestion pricing will be up to a commission.

“There would be some double tolling or you won’t accomplish anything and you won’t raise any revenue,” Cuomo said

Making Sense Of The Cuomo-Biden Tie Up

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is not running for president. But he is involved in who is seeking the Democratic nomination.

Cuomo’s preferred candidate is former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s candidacy the governor has been taking up in public since Jan. 2. Biden formally entered the nominating contest on Thursday and, as CNBC reported, Cuomo is providing access to his considerable fundraising network.

But why play Ned Stark to Biden’s Robert Baratheon?

Here are some possible reasons why:

Generational Appreciation

President Trump’s election in 2016 not only re-organized the Republican Party, it began a reformation of the Democrats as well. Very broadly, what once was a party with defined Clintonite and populist-progressive wings is shifting. The wings are now divided between consensus-driven Democrats and progressives. Cuomo is firmly in the consensus camp, making Biden a more comfortable selection for him.

But it may also be more complicated than that. Cuomo likely sees few peers in the battle for the Democratic nomination who have been in politics as long as he has and who have the experience that he has other than someone like Biden. Cuomo in recent weeks has shown he is confounded by the current political climate that he thinks has a poor reward system. Instead of producing accomplishments, it’s producing retweets.

Biden was born 10 years after Cuomo’s late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, and is 15 years older than the governor. But in a rapidly changing and diversifying party, Biden, like for many voters, represents a version of comfort food for Cuomo.

They’ve Worked Together

Cuomo tagged onto to Biden early on. He’s spoken of working with Biden’s late son, Beau, while both sat in attorneys general offices in New York and Delaware.

While vice president, Biden traveled to Albany to talk — at length — with Cuomo about infrastructure. They held similar events subsequently, with the same guffaws about Biden’s assessment that LaGuardia Airport is like a “third world country.” Cuomo takes this to be Bidenistic wisdom about the need to upgrade the airport. Biden’s provided political support for Cuomo as well.

He appeared at the state Democratic Convention in 2018, along with Hillary Clinton and DNC Chairman Tom Perez, to lend establishment support to a governor facing a primary challenge to his left flank by Cynthia Nixon, an actress and public education advocate. Biden later appeared in a TV ad for Cuomo’s re-election as well.

Cuomo has had ties to the other 2020 contenders. He, of course, worked with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at HUD. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders helped defuse tensions within the New York delegation — which included a number of his supporters — at the 2016 national convention by appearing at a breakfast event.

Sanders later provided a helpful progressive endorsement for Cuomo on his college tuition plan that expands state assistance and the boosting of the minimum wage in the state. Progressives in New York have pointed out that the details of both fall short (college tuition, broadly is not “free” in New York, but provides last-mile assistance up to a certain income level, while the minimum wage will hit $15 in the New York City area, but at an undefined time upstate).

Cuomo Thinks Biden Can Win

He’s said it himself. And it would not be surprising if Cuomo has polling that susses this out as well, along with questions about what trait Democratic voters care about most in a nominee: electability.

But Why Biden?

The Democratic Party is changing. There are more women and people of color seeking the Democratic nomination than ever before. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg would be the first openly gay man to serve as president. Biden would be the oldest man ever elected and the first white man nominated by the party since John Kerry in 2004.

But Cuomo may have reason to trust his political instincts. This time last year, Nixon’s campaign was getting underway. On paper, Cuomo had the advantages of labor support, western New York, and a vice grip on suburban voters. Then Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez won her primary against incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley and conventional political wisdom seemed like it could take a loss as well. But ultimately Cuomo, with his campaign war chest providing scale in a big, expensive state to run in and a coalition of voters prevailed later in September.

For Cuomo the lesson learned in the third term campaign as an affirmation: What he’s doing politically, works.

A Biden-Cuomo ticket is almost absurd on its face, aside from the lack for gender, age and racial balance. It’s almost impossible think of Cuomo playing second string as vice president, a job that is only as powerful and potent as a sitting president wants. Some who have worked with him think he may be interested in a cabinet post like Homeland Security secretary, a job that allows him to command a massive bureaucracy, something he’s shown he enjoys overseeing and reshaping in New York’s state government.

Cuomo, however, has insisted he loves his current job. And he’s fundraising this spring to keep it.

Enviros Hope Cuomo Will Focus On Renewable Energy In Post-Budget Session

From the Morning Memo:

After a state budget that curtailed the proliferation of single-use plastic bags in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t expect to tackle environmental issues of that scale as the legislative session concludes.

Cuomo in an interview this week with WAMC said he did not “see anything specific for the rest of the session” on the issue.

“We’re proud of our record on the environment including major wins in the budget, the launch of the Green New Deal, and real actions to significantly expand our portfolio of renewables toward a clean energy economy,” said Jordan Levine, a spokesman for Cuomo. “We have and will continue to engage with the legislature on meaningful environmental policy proposals to build upon this nation-leading progress.”

Environmental groups, including entities that are pushing efforts to switch the state to renewable energy sources, are hopeful Cuomo will reconsider.

“Gov. Cuomo has been a national leader in driving New York to adopt clean energy initiatives and address climate change, which is why we were surprised and disappointed this week to hear him say he doesn’t see anything specific for the rest of the legislative session when it comes to outstanding environmental issues,” said Sean Garren, the northeast senior director of the group Vote Solar.

“After removing most of the governor’s Green New Deal from the budget, the Legislature is expected to soon move forward with a package of climate and clean energy measures.”

Cuomo wants to transition the state to carbon-neutral sources of energy by 2040 — primarily relying on wind, hydro and solar power.

Lawmakers return on Monday after a two-week break. The legislative session itself is due to run through June.

“We hope the governor and lawmakers can work together on an environmental package that will include codifying into law the governor’s goal of 6 gigawatts of new solar power over the next five years, enough to power 1 million homes across the state,” Garren said.

“Ending the session in June without a robust environmental package is not an option at a time when the Trump administration refuses to acknowledge the dangers we all face from climate change. It’s time for our state leaders to take the kind of bold clean energy action that our communities want and our climate crisis demands.”

Cuomo Plans Spring Fundraisers, With Big And Small Dollars

The re-election campaign for Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced a spring schedule of fundraising events, with tickets that range in the small-dollar amount to more expensive outings, including one event at Yankee Stadium.

Tickets for a May 8 fundraiser at a Yankees game against the Seattle Mariners in the Bronx fetch $5,000, according to an email invitation obtained by Capital Tonight.

Another event on May 21, LGBTQ for Cuomo Happy Hour in New York City has tickets starting at $25. An additional “happy hour” event in Glen Cove has the ticket price starting at $50.

But there are also large-dollar events scheduled.

On June 2, Cuomo’s campaign will host a Long Island Cocktail Reception in Great Neck, with tickets also starting at $5,000.

The Cuomo campaign also advised an evening dinner reception in New York City, with no date set, with tickets ranging from $1,000 to $10,000.

Cuomo is considered to be a prolific fundraiser, easily outraising and outspending both his main rivals last year, including Republican Marc Molinaro and Democratic primary opponent Cynthia Nixon.

Under scrutiny for what has been a reliance on large donations, Cuomo’s campaign began reaching out to small dollar donors last year.

The budget agreement this year included the creation of a commission that could overhaul the state’s campaign finance laws, including the implementation of a system of publicly funded campaigns.

Cuomo’s Plea For Experience

The rapid pace of change in the world has remade both the political-media industrial complex.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo doesn’t really like what he sees.

Cuomo on Monday night published a Washington Post op/ed in the form of a Socratic conversation: “35 questions Americans should ask themselves this election season.”

The bulk of the questions are really rhetorical laments — “11. When did we lose our confidence?” and “22. When did we decide compromise was a bad word?”

Taken together, it’s a longtime officeholder’s plea to take stock of how the political conversation is conducted in the country. And it’s a plea for elevating experience over flash.

This is both tied in with Cuomo’s support for ex-Vice President Joe Biden — arguably the only forthcoming candidate in the Democratic field the governor considers to be something of a peer — and his criticism of the media.

“He has the experience, he has the personality, he has the values,” Cuomo said in an interview on WAMC. “I think he can bring a sense of confidence. I think they can rely on him and they believe he can rely on him.”

He added, “We’re going to get in an airplane and go for a flight. It would be nice if the pilot actually flew a plane before.”

Cuomo in a radio interview decried the “sad” state of The New York Times, which last week reported New York City Transit President Andy Byford was upset and had considered quitting. Byford is not on the verge of leaving his job, but the two men had not spoken for weeks. Cuomo didn’t think this was news.

“What is that? It’s not even a tabloid story,” Cuomo said in an interview on WAMC.

“I think they have sell newspapers. I think that is the way of the world. I think that is symptomatic of our political system now. You have less public trust in newspapers, in politicians, and I think we have seen the degradation of the political system that is frightening.”

The reward for politicians running for office these days is to say something outrageous and get the attention they crave in the media. And the press obliges — something Cuomo said led to President Trump’s election.

“They need the drama, and they need the clicks, and they need the headline and that fuels the polarization of people and the emotion over intellect,” he said.

Hours earlier, President Trump once again on Twitter blasted The Times as well. But the criticisms from the two Queens natives is seemingly coming from different places. Trump wants fealty. Cuomo probably does, too, but also some acknowledgement of the past as more than just prologue.

The press corps that covers Cuomo has become younger and less experienced over the years as institutional knowledge has been whittled away due to the changing economics of the news business. Only a handful of reporters at the Capitol covered the last three term governor, Republican George Pataki, and very few covered his father, the late Mario Cuomo.

Cuomo is now the nation’s longest serving governor, having first been elected in 2010, a starkly different political environment. He’s been in public life since the 1980s, passing through eras dominated by Reagnomics, Clintonite triangulation and the Democratic wilderness years of the second Bush administration.

In other words, it’s a career that spans multiple political eras. And he’s trying tell the country he’s picked up some info along the way.