This Week’s Headlines: New York rushes to Puerto Rico's aid

Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, which knocked out power to the entire island.

This Week’s Headlines: New York rushes to Puerto Rico's aid

This Week’s Headlines: New York rushes to Puerto Rico's aid
September 22, 2017

New York officials were looking beyond the state’s borders this week, with Washington politicians making yet another attempt to pull the plug on Obamacare while yet another hurricane rampaged through the Caribbean.

Closer to home, New York City officials celebrated a new office that will be dedicated to promoting the city’s nightlife, while the repercussions of the September primaries continued to shake out in New York City, on Long Island and in Albany.

Senator Lindsey Graham(Albert H. Teich/Shutterstock)

Obamacare repeal lives again

Like the Terminator, the Obamacare repeal fight is back. Republican U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy brought forward a new bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which may come to a vote this week – although Sen. John McCain made waves by coming out against it. If passed, the bill could have devastating effects in New York, as it would repeal federal subsidies for states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare and continue to shrink federal funding for state health care. Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized the bill, saying it would be “mathematically impossible” to make up the $18.9 billion cut to the state. “If I was as flexible as a Gumby doll,” Cuomo said of the potential cost, “we could not fund our health care system.” 

Night mayor club(hurricanehank/Shutterstock)

A new day for nightclubs

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio went to House of Yes, a Brooklyn nightclub, on Tuesday night to sign a bill creating a new Office of Nightlife. Established by a law sponsored by City Councilman Rafael Espinal, the new office will use its $407,000 budget to encourage growth in the city’s nightlife industry, and balance the needs of nightclubs that never sleep with the communities that wish they would.

Cuomo Virgin Islands trip(Don Pollard/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Controversy over Cuomo’s caribbean trip

Cuomo visited the U.S. Virgin Islands last Friday to see the devastation left by Hurricane Irma after an invitation by Gov. Kenneth Mapp, a former NYPD officer, and announced that 130 New York National Guard and state police personnel would help with reconstruction. But Republicans accused Cuomo of using the trip as a photo-op. He also used a private plane provided by Manhattan billionaire John Catsimatidis, who recently benefited from a biofuels mandate signed by Cuomo, although JCOPE saw no issue with the travel arrangements.

Cuomo Puerto Rico trip

(Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo) 

Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico this week, further damaging the U.S. territory still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Irma, and caused the entire island to lose power. Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled there on Friday with Rep. Nydia Velazquez and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, two politicians of Puerto Rican descent, in a plane stocked with relief supplies. Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose mother lives in Puerto Rico, announced that New York City will send NYPD officers and firefighters as well as an Office of Emergency Management team to assist in the recovery.

Senate chamber Albany(Mike Groll for City & State)

Ch-ch-ch-changes in Albany

The state Legislature saw some shuffling around this week, with some members unexpectedly staying put and others moving on to new positions. Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez, who was running for the New York City Council, conceded on Wednesday to Diana Ayala. State Sen. Phil Boyle will also head back to Albany in January, as the Suffolk County Democratic Party will not endorse him for sheriff after he lost on the Republican primary. Meanwhile, Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh will likely be headed to the state Senate after receiving an endorsement from the Manhattan and Brooklyn Democratic Party committees through some questionable dealings, and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein became the first woman to chair the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

Grace Segers
is City & State’s digital reporter. She writes daily content on New York City and New York state politics.
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