Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cuomo: 'My Thoughts and Prayers Are with Those Who Have Been Impacted....'


Governor Andrew Cuomo on the Explosion in Brooklyn

"Earlier today, an explosion took place at a building in the Borough Park neighborhood in Brooklyn. This explosion is the latest in a disturbing trend of incidents that occurred in Harlem and the East Village. In light of this, I am directing the State Department of Public Service to undertake an investigation into the cause of this incident. That investigation is ongoing, and updates will be provided to the public as soon as they are available.

"On behalf of all New Yorkers, my thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by today's explosion, especially the friends and family of those lost or injured."

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

1 Dead, 3 Hurt After Major Gas Explosion in Brooklyn


BOROUGH PARK, Brooklyn — FDNY is on the scene of a major gas explosion at 13 Avenue and 43 Street in Borough Park.

Shortly after 3 p.m., FDNY announced the blaze had grown to a four alarm fire.The explosion was at a multiple dwelling, three-story building.

FDNY reports one person was killed in the blast, and three people were injured.

Click here for the full article and photos.

Source: PIX11 News

Weekly Address: Congress Should Do its Job and Pass a Serious Budget

The President Remarks on Secret Service

From the South Lawn, President Obama thanks the Secret Service for their work over the last few weeks protecting the Pope, Chinese President Xi, and other world leaders.

West Wing Week: 10/2/15

This Week, the President welcomed President Xi of China to the White House, and traveled to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Meanwhile, First Lady Michelle Obama participated in the naming of a Panda at the National Zoo and launched a campaign to ensure girls, worldwide, have access to education.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Address to the U.N.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly. He speaks out against the Iran nuclear agreement, saying the deal “makes war more likely”.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

U.S. Role and Strategy in the Middle East

The presidents of Refugees International, The U.S. Institute of Peace, and the International Rescue Committee testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about Middle East policy and the ongoing Syrian refugee and migrant crisis.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Washington Journal: Public Trust in Automakers

Detroit News Washington Bureau Chief David Shepardson discusses how events such as Volkswagen’s emissions-testing scandal and accusations of death and injury underreporting by Fiat affect the public’s trust in auto manufacturers.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Washington Journal: The Discovery of Water on Mars

John Logsdon, with the Planetary Society, discusses NASA’s announcement that liquid water has been discovered on Mars and how that breakthrough could assist in further exploration of the Red Planet.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

The President Comments on the 50th Anniversary of the Immigration and Nationality Act


Fifty years ago, at the foot of the Statute of Liberty, President Johnson signed the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The new, bipartisan law ended an unfair quota system, prohibited discrimination based on country of origin, and officially recognized our immigration system's role in reuniting families and attracting skilled workers, all of whom help fuel our economy. The Republicans and Democrats who came together to pass the INA were driven by a desire to expand opportunity for all, and to live up to our heritage as a nation of immigrants. They understood that immigration contributes to our economic growth by allowing hard-working, entrepreneurial individuals from around the world to pursue the American dream.  

As we mark the 50th anniversary of this transformational law, we honor the courage of those who fought to make our system better.  We celebrate the generations of immigrants who have shaped this country and helped make America great. And we recommit ourselves to fighting for commonsense, comprehensive immigration reform legislation that meets the needs of the 21st century, grows the economy for everybody, and lives up to our highest ideals.
Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Friday, October 2, 2015

Update on New York Storm Preparations

Governor Andrew Cuomo today provided an update on the State’s preparation for severe weather related to Hurricane Joaquin. Additional resources and personnel from various state agencies are being deployed to assist state and local crews with both preparing for and responding to the possible impact of the storm.

“The latest weather reports have good news for New York, with Hurricane Joaquin expected to veer off into the Atlantic – but we are continuing to prepare for every possible outcome in order to keep people safe,” said Governor Cuomo. “We’ve seen what Mother Nature can do, and we are not taking anything for granted with this storm. I encourage all New Yorkers to take appropriate precautions and to stay informed as the weather develops.

New Yorkers are encouraged to sign up for NY-Alert in order to receive immediate notifications on flood warnings and severe storms, as well as follow @NYGovCuomo and @NYGov on Twitter for official updates.

Audio of the Governor’s latest briefing available here

Basil Seggos To Be Nominated as DEC Commissioner

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced that Basil Seggos will be nominated to serve as Commissioner for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

"Basil is an exceptional public servant, a strong advocate for the environment, and is dedicated to serving the public both as a member of my administration and as a member of the U.S. military," Governor Cuomo said. "I am proud to nominate him as Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, where he will continue to advance the agency’s critically important mission of protecting New York's natural beauty and resources."

Seggos joined the administration in 2012 and has served as Governor Cuomo’s Deputy Secretary for the Environment since 2013. He is also a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve and currently serves at a JAG unit in Schenectady.

“It is a great honor to continue to serve Governor Cuomo and the people of New York State in this new and exciting capacity,” Seggos said. "Governor Cuomo has established one of the strongest environmental records in the nation, doing so while returning the state to a prosperous economic path. As we continue to confront significant environmental challenges, I look forward to building on this record, hand-in-hand with the Department’s dedicated and talented staff.”

Previously, Seggos served as Vice President of Business Development at the Hugo Neu Corporation, a private equity company with a focus on recycling and sustainable industry. Prior to that, he served as Riverkeeper’s Chief Investigator, attorney, and Hudson River Program Director. Seggos also previously held positions at the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Council on Environmental Quality in the White House.

Seggos holds a J.D. and Environmental Law Certificate from Pace University and a B.A. from Trinity College. He lives in Voorheesville with his wife and three daughters.

Marc Gerstman will continue in his role as Executive Deputy Commissioner of the agency. 

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 

Note: The following was submitted to From The G-Man shortly after the aforementioned report was published. 

Statement Regarding the Nomination of DEC Commissioner

“We congratulate Basil Seggos on his nomination – as commissioner he will have a lot on his plate, and we will be happy to partner with him to do what’s best for our environment and public health. There is nothing more important than for the Cuomo administration to implement a Climate Action Plan. Virtually every decision that is currently, and will come, before the DEC impacts our climate, as do the decisions made throughout state government. A plan will ensure everyone is rowing in the same direction. Following the Pope’s visit and call for action, as well as Governor Cuomo’s own promise to move away from all fossil fuels by 2050 and generate half of all energy from clean renewable sources within 15 years, the first orders of business must be the implementation of a Plan, as well as the enshrinement into law of the Governor’s goals. As the head of DEC, Mr. Seggos will play a critical role in delivering on those commitments.”

Peter Iwanowicz, Executive Director, Environmental Advocates of New York

Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Walid Muallem Address to the U.N. General Assembly

Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem delivers an address to the United Nations General Assembly.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Roundtable on Income and Health Insurance

Jennifer Cheeseman Day, with the U.S. Census Bureau, and Washington Post Economic Policy Correspondent Jim Tankersley discuss the Census Bureau’s annual report on income, poverty, and health insurance coverage in the U.S.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Washington Journal: Jeffrey Passel on Immigration Trends

Jeffrey Passel, with the Pew Hispanic Center, discusses his organization’s new report on how modern immigration laws have affected the U.S. He also talks about future immigration trends.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

GOP Presidential Candidates' Tax Proposals

Kyle Pomerleau, economist with the Tax Foundation, discusses the tax proposals put forth by several of the candidates seeking the Republican nomination in the 2016 presidential election.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

Governor Cuomo Discusses Hurricane Joaquin, Umpqua Shooting on NY1

This morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo called into NY1 News to discuss the state’s preparations for Hurricane Joaquin, yesterday’s shooting at Umpqua Community College, and the MTA Capital Plan. Audio of that interview is available here.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew Cuomo

Obama: 'Their Willingness to Serve So Selflessly Will Not Be Forgotten'

Statement by the President on the U.S.
Military Plane Crash in Afghanistan

Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families of the six U.S. Airmen and five contractors who lost their lives in a military plane crash in Jalalabad, Afghanistan yesterday.  In addition to the Americans we mourn, we also are saddened that Afghan civilians lost their lives in this incident.  As we mark this terrible loss of life, we are reminded of the sacrifice brave Americans and our Afghan partners make each and every day in the name of freedom and security.  Their willingness to serve so selflessly will not be forgotten.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and loved ones during this difficult hour.  May God bless their souls.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz Statement about President Obama and Christian Persecution

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York 

Senator Rev. Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) released the following statement one day after the Massacre of Christians at Oregon Community College:
“Last night, I watched President Barack Obama speak on national television about the massacre at Oregon’s Umpwua Community College. I was seriously disappointed that our President did not even mention that the victims of that slaughter were singled out and killed because they were Christians.
"News reports have shared the story that while the gunman was reloading his handgun, he ordered students to stand up if they were Christian, and when they did he told them that they were going to see God in just about one minute. Then he killed them – right here in the United States of America.
"President Obama overlooked the opportunity to highlight the fact that the growing persecution of Christianity is now also part of the fabric of our country. Christians throughout the world are being persecuted, imprisoned and exiled.  This is deplorable and should get proper attention.
"We continue to pray for the Christian refugees in Syria and Iraq, and for Christians in Sudan, China, and in many other nations who are being persecuted for their faith.  We also pray for the Christians who are being persecuted here in America.  

"How can it be that when other groups are targeted, they get the attention of the President of the United States, but when the victims are Christians, that fact is not even mentioned in his speech?
"Ladies and gentlemen, 13 people were killed yesterday in Oregon. Christian persecution exists all over the world. Lets join together in prayer for the families of these victims, for the end of violence among human beings and for the end of the Christian persecution.

I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.” 

Oval Office Chat: PM Malcolm Turnbull of Australia

President Obama spoke by phone with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia yesterday primarily to discuss the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to concluding TPP soon. President Obama also thanked Prime Minister Turnbull for Australia’s support to the counter-ISIL coalition, and they agreed to stay closely coordinated as issues develop in Syria.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

The Employment Situation in September

WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in September.

The economy added 142,000 jobs in September, extending the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record.

The economy added jobs in September at a pace below that seen earlier in the year, as slowing growth abroad and global financial turmoil have weighed on economic activity. Overall, however, the unemployment rate remains at its lowest level since early 2008 and the private sector has added 13.2 million jobs over 67 straight months of job growth—the longest streak on record. Given the increased uncertainty around the world, it is imperative that the United States not further exacerbate that uncertainty with unnecessary brinksmanship and austerity. Instead, we must take steps to continue the domestic momentum that the U.S. economy has enjoyed in the last several years. That includes passing a budget that reverses the sequester and makes critical investments that help our economy continue to grow, reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank so that our businesses can compete on a level-playing field abroad, and increasing investments in infrastructure.


1. Today we learned that private-sector employment rose by 118,000 in September, below the pace observed earlier in the year. However, September was the 67th straight month of private sector job growth, extending the longest streak on record. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.1 percent, its lowest level since early 2008, while the labor force participation rate decreased. Wages were largely unchanged over the month, with nominal average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers up 2.2 percent over the past year. Payroll employment growth in July and August were revised downward.

(Click on the graphs to increase their size.) 
2. The underemployment rate declined 0.3 percentage point to 10.0 percent in September, its lowest level since May 2008. While the headline unemployment rate (U-3) measures only unemployed persons, the underemployment rate (U-6) also includes those who are “marginally attached” to the labor force but not actively looking for a job, and those employed part-time who would prefer to work full-time. Although the headline unemployment rate was unchanged in September, the underemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage point as the share of the labor force working part-time for economic reasons fell from 4.1 percent to 3.9 percent. Over the last year, the underemployment rate declined 1.7 percentage points, compared with a 0.8 percentage point decline for the official unemployment rate. Despite this recent progress, part-time employment for economic reasons remains elevated, and the underemployment rate has not fully returned to its pre-crisis average.

3. The rise in employment since early 2010 is more than fully accounted for by the increase in full-time employment, with part-time employment holding steady. The economy has added 11 million full-time jobs since February 2010, according to a separate survey of households that measures full-time and part-time status. Part-time employment has fallen slightly over this period. While 75 percent of part-time workers do so for family, health, and other reasons, the fraction of the labor force working part-time for economic reasons declined in September. This shift drove the reduction in the underemployment rate to its lowest level since May 2008.

4. Manufacturing job growth has been stronger in this recovery than in previous expansions. American manufacturers have created 865,000 jobs since February 2010, including net gains in 2015 despite decreases during the last two months. This recovery from the depths of the recession is especially notable when compared with previous business cycles. In fact, manufacturing employment declined over the decade leading up to the financial crisis, even during the 2001-2007 economic expansion. Manufacturing employment fell 12.5 percent over that period, despite the 18.0 percent increase in gross domestic product. The trend has reversed in this recovery, with manufacturing employment currently 5.6 percent above its level when the recession ended in 2009. The 1991-2001 expansion did see manufacturing employment growth, but at a considerably slower pace—at the corresponding point in that expansion, manufacturing employment was only 1.7 percent higher than the business cycle trough. Notwithstanding the outsized progress in this expansion compared with previous expansions, manufacturing has not yet fully recovered the losses in incurred during the Great Recession.

5. The distribution of job growth across industries in September generally followed recent trends, with this month’s slower growth affecting a number of industries. Despite the overall pace of job growth, above-average gains relative to the past year were seen in information services (+12,000) and State and local government (+26,000). September was an especially weak month in wholesale trade (-4,000), utilities (-1,000), and financial activities (unchanged). Across the 17 industries shown below, the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last twelve months remained essentially unchanged at 0.94.

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

OGS Wins Award from National Trade Association

RoAnn M. Destito, Commissioner of the New York State Office of General Services, today announced that OGS was awarded a bronze George Cronin Award for Procurement Excellence for its online Vehicle Marketplace by the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO). The award was presented this week at the association’s annual conference in Virginia.

“Two of Governor Cuomo’s priorities are reducing government costs and making it easier for companies to do business with New York State, and the Vehicle Marketplace accomplishes both,” Commissioner Destito said. “Both buyers and sellers of vehicles asked us for an easier way to use our contract, and the OGS team responded with a modern, user-friendly online tool. I am very proud that NASPO has recognized their accomplishment.”

Implemented in November 2014, the Vehicle Marketplace introduced an online system for state agencies, local governments, and other users of OGS contracts to buy light-duty vehicles, including cars, vans, and, pickup trucks. The web portal is set up so that contract users can post mini-bids for the exact vehicles they want to buy and then auto dealers can respond with pricing. Currently there are 21 dealerships statewide participating in the Vehicle Marketplace, and 998 mini-bids for 2,854 vehicles have been submitted.

The George Cronin Award for Procurement Excellence, named for the founder of NASPO, is recognized as a premier achievement for innovative public procurement, honoring ground-breaking state programs. OGS last won a Cronin Award in 2013 for its Hourly Based IT Services (HBITS) contract.

NASPO is a non-profit association dedicated to strengthening the procurement community through education, research, and communication. It is made up of the directors of the central purchasing offices in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the territories of the United States. 

Source: New York State Office of General Services

SUNY SA President on the Shooting at Umpqua Community College

Thomas Mastro, SUNY SA President

“The thoughts and prayers of SUNY students go out to everyone at Umpqua Community College in the wake of yesterday's tragic shooting. We all share in the responsibility of making the learning, living, and working environment of our campuses safe. No student should ever have to fear that pursuing an education could mean risking their life.”

About the Student Assembly of the State University of New York: The Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) is an organization comprised of student leaders elected by their peers from across SUNY’s 64 campuses. Empowering students throughout the state, the SUNY SA is committed to student life and ensuring the representation of its members on the state and national level as well as throughout the SUNY system.

Trailblazers in Black History: Charley Pride

Merle Haggard is very proud to induct Charley Pride into the Country Music Hall of Fame at the 34th Country Music Association awards in 2000.

Today in History: October 2nd

Meet Police Offers Trained to Respond to Mental Illness Calls

The San Antonio police have plainclothes officers who are experts in what is called Crisis Intervention Training.

Breast Cancer 2015 by the Numbers

The stats that impact more than 3.1. million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

Experian Says Info from 15 Million T-Mobile Records Hacked

Credit reporting agency Experian said Thursday that hackers accessed the Social Security numbers, birthdates and other personal information belonging to about 15 million people who applied for T-Mobile wireless services.

T-Mobile uses Experian to check the credit of its customers and prospective customers.

Experian said consumers who applied for T-Mobile wireless service between Sept. 1, 2013, and Sept. 16, 2015, may have had their information stolen.

Click here for the full article and related video. 

Source: NBC News

East Coast Rains and Threat of Hurricane Joaquin Force Evacuations

The Outer Banks of North Carolina are under mandatory evacuation order, with ferries working through the night. Jonathan Rodriguez of WNCN reports.

Oregon Shooting: Umpqua Community College Gunman Talked Religion

At least 10 people were killed and seven others were injured when a gunman who demanded to know his victims' religions opened fire Thursday on a campus in southwest Oregon, witnesses and authorities said.

The gunman was killed in a firefight with Douglas County sheriff's deputies at Umpqua Community College, Sheriff John Hanlin said. Multiple law enforcement sources identified him to NBC News as Chris Harper Mercer, 26, but the sheriff wouldn't confirm that identity, saying he didn't want to "glorify" the man's actions.

"You will never hear us mention his name," Hanlin said Thursday night, because "he in no way deserves it." 

Click here for the full article and video.

Source: NBC News

Refugees Unprepared for Rainy, Cold Winter in Western Balkans, Red Cross Warns

Reuters, 02/10 14:23 CET

By Joseph D’Urso

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Vulnerable migrants and refugees arriving in the Western Balkans are facing the onset of heavy rains and cold weather, with many unprepared for bitter winter conditions, the Red Cross has warned.

Sea crossings to Greece’s shores have fallen this week because cooler, windier weather is making the journey more dangerous, though numbers could pick up again if conditions improve, the United Nations’ refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday.

Average temperatures in winter months in the region frequently fall below freezing, posing health risks for people who have already travelled thousands of miles, often with limited access to food and basic necessities.

“The arrival of winter will push people’s coping skills to their limits,” Simon Missiri, acting director for Europe of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said in a statement on Thursday.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Russia Bombs Syria for Third Day, Mainly Avoiding Islamic State

Reuters, 02/10 13:45 CET

By Lidia Kelly and Tom Perry

MOSCOW/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Russia bombed Syria for a third day on Friday, mainly hitting areas held by rival insurgent groups rather than the Islamic State fighters it said it was targeting.

Washington, which is leading its own air campaign against Islamic State, says Moscow has been using its campaign as a pretext to hit other groups opposed to Russia’s ally, President Bashar al-Assad.

Some of the groups that have been hit are supported by countries which oppose both Assad and Islamic State, including at least one group that received training from the CIA.

Moscow said on Friday its latest strikes had hit 12 Islamic State targets, but most of the areas it described were in parts of the country where the militant group has little or no sway.

Click here for the full article.

Source: Euronews

Turkey and US-Led Coalition Urge Russia to Stop Air Strikes on Syrian Opposition

Source: Euronews

U.S. Military Plane Crashes in Afghanistan, Killing 11

Source: Euronews

Discrimination on the Rise in Europe

More Europeans believe racism is a problem in society, according to an EU report.

The views of twenty eight thousand people formed the basis of the survey.

It found that sixty four percent of those quizzed believe discrimination based on ethnic origin is widespread.

That is eight percentage points higher than when the same study was conducted in 2012.

So is Europe becoming more intolerant?

“It is always more intolerant when there is a crisis. It’s part of our history and we must learn from this history and be aware of this intolerance. We must combat intolerance because the survival of Europe’s society depends on our ability to live together with different cultures and different religions.” said Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of EU Commission.

The same survey found only 61% of respondents said they would be fully comfortable with a colleague at work being Muslim.

Click here for video.

Source: Euronews

Thursday, October 1, 2015

White House Press Briefing

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded to reporters' questions on a variety of topics.

Click here for video.

Source: C-Span

President Obama's Address on Oregon Shooting

In a news conference on Thursday, President Barack Obama addressed today's deadly mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg Oregon.

NBC Special Report: Oregon Gov.: Shooter Was A 20-Year-Old Male

Politics in Action: H.R. 2029

H.R. 2029 – Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016
(Sen. Cochran, R-MS)

The Administration strongly opposes Senate passage of H.R. 2029, making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes.  The bill fails to fully fund critical priorities, including veterans' medical care and military construction.  Furthermore, the legislation includes a highly problematic ideological rider that would constrain the President's ability to protect our national security.  If the President were presented with H.R. 2029, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.

Enacting H.R. 2029, while adhering to the congressional Republican budget's overall spending limits for fiscal year (FY) 2016 would hurt our economy and shortchange investments in middle-class priorities.  Sequestration was never intended to take effect:  rather, it was supposed to threaten such drastic cuts to both defense and non-defense funding that policymakers would be motivated to come to the table and reduce the deficit through smart, balanced reforms.  The Republican framework would bring base discretionary funding for both nondefense and defense to the lowest real levels in a decade.  Compared to the President's Budget, the cuts would result in tens of thousands of the Nation's most vulnerable children losing access to Head Start, millions fewer workers receiving job training and employment services, and drastic cuts to scientific research awards and grants, along with other impacts that would hurt the economy, the middle class, and Americans working hard to reach the middle class.

Maintaining sequestration would also negatively impact programs that provide important services to our Nation's veterans and are funded in appropriations bills where Republicans propose to make even deeper cuts relative to the President's Budget than in H.R. 2029.  For example, American Job Centers serve 1.2 million veterans annually, including 300,000 who receive intensive employment services.  Transition assistance provides 200,000 service members each year with employment guidance and information as they prepare to enter the civilian workforce.  And hundreds of thousands of veterans rely on a wide range of Department of Housing and Urban Development programs for housing support and homeless assistance each year.

Sequestration funding levels would also put our national security at unnecessary risk, not only through pressures on defense spending, but also through pressures on State, USAID, Homeland Security, and other non-defense programs that help keep us safe.  More broadly, the strength of our economy and the security of our Nation are linked.  That is why the President has been clear that he is not willing to lock in sequestration going forward, nor will he accept fixes to defense without also fixing non-defense.

The President's senior advisors would recommend that he veto H.R. 2029 and any other legislation that implements the current Republican budget framework, which blocks the investments needed for our economy to compete in the future.  The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to reverse sequestration for defense and non-defense priorities and offset the cost with commonsense spending and tax expenditure cuts, as Members of Congress from both parties have urged.

The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee's version of the bill.

Veterans Affairs Medical Care.  The Administration appreciates the Committee's support for the Nation's veterans; however the Administration objects to the Committee's overall $470 million reduction to the FY 2016 Budget request for Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Care.  If enacted, this reduction would negatively impact medical care services for tens of thousands of veterans and reduce VA's ability to activate new and replacement facilities with sufficient staff and equipment and to adequately maintain facility infrastructure.

Military Construction.  The Administration objects to the Committee's $355 million reduction to military construction compared to the FY 2016 Budget request, which would delay or defer projects that serve critical needs for members of our Armed Forces and their families.  The projects requested in the FY 2016 Budget reflect the highest priority projects for the Department of Defense, and the Administration requests full funding for each project.

Veterans Affairs Construction.  The Administration objects to the Committee's $117 million reduction to the FY 2016 Budget request for VA major construction.  This reduction would prevent building upgrades and renovations, including necessary expansions to medical facilities and national cemeteries that would improve services to veterans.  The funding level provided in the bill would constrain VA's ability to make progress on its highest priority capital projects.

Detainee Matters.  The Administration strongly objects to section 410 of the bill, which prohibits the use of funds to construct, renovate, or expand any facility in the United States to house individuals held in the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.  This provision would constrain the flexibility that the Executive Branch needs to be able to determine the appropriate disposition of detainees, based on the facts and circumstances of each case and our national security interests.

Digital Service Team.  The Administration appreciates that the Congress fully funded the FY 2016 Budget request for the Department of Veterans Affairs to continue support of a digital service team.  This funding will support efforts to manage digital services that have the greatest impact on citizens and businesses.

Constitutional Concerns
Several provisions in the bill raise constitutional concerns.  For instance, section 113 of the bill may interfere with the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief and section 244 may constitute a bill of attainder.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the FY 2016 appropriations process moves forward.

Source: Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget

Senator Diaz: 'Something is Definitely Going Wrong in the City of New York'

By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York

What Are They Hiding From Us?
(Something is Definitely Going Wrong in the City of New York

On September 30, Senator Reverend Ruben Diaz (D-Bronx) released the following statement about the ongoing Legionnaires Disease Breakout:

“On one side of the issue, the City of New York says they have controlled the outburst of Legionnaires Disease – and on the other hand, people are dying.

I have to ask: Why are they keeping what is going on in Brooklyn so quiet? On September 13, 2015 in Woodhull Hospital, 46 year old Andres Martinez died of Legionnaires Disease.  Andres was the son of well-known Bronx community leader, Mr. Gumercindo Martinez.

This week, we have learned that here in the Bronx another person has died from Legionnaires Disease.  I am afraid that the City’s Administration is hiding some vital information about Legionnaires Disease from us as people continue to die.

I pray for the families and friends whose loved ones have died and who continue to suffer from this disease, and for the safety and well-being of everyone who lives and works in New York City.

I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.”   

Briefing with NYS Public Safety Officials on Preparations for Hurricane Joaquin

This morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo held a phone briefing on the state’s preparations for the possible arrival of Hurricane Joaquin later this week. 
The Governor was joined on the call by senior members of his administration, including public safety and transportation officials. 
More information on the State’s preparations is available here.
Audio of the briefing is available here
Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew Cuomo .

Cuomo on Umpqua Community College Shooting


Statement from New York's Governor

“The shooting earlier today at Umpqua Community College is the latest in a series of terrible, heartbreaking tragedies resulting from gun violence. My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of those we lost, and I am praying for the recovery of those who were injured. No one should suffer the pain of losing someone they love to gun violence, although it happens all too often.

“The prevalence of gun violence in this country is a sickness that continues to claim innocent lives and threaten our communities seemingly at random on a daily basis. We have seen too many of these pointless, brutal tragedies, and the sad truth is that, in spite of it all, Washington has done nothing.

“At what point will Congress wake up and pass real, sensible gun control that keeps guns out of the hands of criminals and people who are dangerously mentally ill? How many more families will have to endure this kind of senseless, avoidable tragedy while our elected officials in Washington continue to sit on their hands?

“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences to everyone who has been impacted by today’s tragedy.”

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew Cuomo

New Fellowship and Scholarship Programs Will Honor the Life of Carey Gabay

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced the creation of the “Carey Gabay Fellowship” and the “Carey Gabay Scholarship” to honor his life and work. Gabay, a former assistant counsel in the Governor's Office and First Deputy Counsel to Empire State Development, passed on September 15, 2015, nine days after he was struck by a stray bullet.

“Carey Gabay was an exceptional individual who could have done anything, but chose to enter into public service and give back,” Governor Cuomo said. “His kindness, loyalty and grit made him beloved by family, friends and co-workers and his dedication to making New York a better, fairer and safer place made him an inspiration to all. The Fellowship and Scholarship programs bearing his name will serve as a constant reminder of Carey’s professional accomplishments and exceptional character, and will ensure his legacy is honored for years to come.”

The Carey Gabay Fellowship will be awarded every two years to a mid-career attorney who, like Gabay, is committed to public service, hails from an economically disadvantaged background, and most importantly, embodies the integrity and kind-heartedness that distinguished Gabay personally. The Fellow will serve for two years in the Governor’s Counsel’s office, where Gabay began his career in this administration, and will work on furthering the Governor’s violence prevention initiatives as well as issues of economic equality and development that Gabay championed throughout his career. The fellow will be assigned a mentor in Counsel’s office and the first fellow will lead a major research project on violence prevention in memory of Gabay. Opportunities for the fellow to earn an MPA concurrently with state service will be explored.

Fellowship attorney applications to be accepted starting January 4, 2016 and will require a personal statement, three references, a writing sample and impressive academic and professional credentials. The Gabay Fellow will update the Gabay family periodically as to his or her work and experience. 

The Carey Gabay Scholarship Program will award, annually, full-ride scholarships to five deserving students to attend the State University of New York. These scholarships will cover all costs of attendance, including tuition, room and board, college fees, books and supplies, and transportation and personal expenses. Many grants and scholarships only cover the cost of tuition, requiring students and families to dip into savings or take out student loans to cover these other necessary college expenses. The Carey Gabay full-ride scholarships will truly cover all college costs, allowing the recipients to focus fully on their coursework, and – like Gabay – to go on to make a difference in their chosen field.

The Carey Gabay Scholarship will be available to students at all four-year SUNY colleges, and will be awarded annually beginning in the 2016-17 academic year. These scholarships will be targeted at students from disadvantaged backgrounds who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership and mentoring skills, and a commitment to social justice, along with other application criteria to be developed in coordination with Carey’s family. Applications will be accepted beginning January 11, 2016, and awards will be selected based on an application package including an essay and letters of recommendation from teachers and community members.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew Cuomo 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Power of the Pen: New Bills Signed into Law

Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 23, H.R. 719, H.R. 2051, H.R. 3614, S. 230, S. 501 and S. 2082

On Wednesday, September 30, 2015, the President signed into law:

H.R. 23, the "National Windstorm Impact Reduction Act Reauthorization of 2015," which reauthorizes the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program through FY 2017, and makes modifications to the Program;

H.R. 719, the "Continuing Appropriations Act, 2016" which provides fiscal year 2016 appropriations for continuing projects and activities of the Federal Government through, Friday, December 11, 2015; requires the Transportation Security Administration to implement changes to come into compliance with existing Federal law concerning criminal investigator positions; and requires the Department of Homeland Security to provide a variety of security-related updates and reports to the Congress;

H.R. 2051, the "Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015," which extends the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999; reauthorizes certain authorities of the United States Grain Standards Act; and authorizes appropriations for the National Forest Foundation;

H.R. 3614, the "Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2015," which extends authorization for Federal Aviation Administration programs and related revenue authorities for six months, through March 31, 2016;

S. 230, which transfers to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation a specified parcel of Federal land in Bethel, Alaska, by warranty deed;

S. 501, the "New Mexico Navajo Water Settlement Technical Corrections Act," which modifies and makes technical corrections to current law relating to the Navajo water rights settlement in the State of New Mexico; and

S. 2082, the "Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2015," which extends certain expiring authorities affecting veterans and their families, including:  health care; benefits; homelessness; and miscellaneous authorities; and amends various VA authorities related to medical facilities projects.

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

White House Press Briefing

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest responded to reporters' questions on a variety of topics.

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Source: C-Span

Secretary of State John Kerry and Sergey Lavrov on Russian Air Strikes in Syria

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Source: C-Span

Senator McCain on President Obama and Russian Airs Strikes in Syria

Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain (R-AZ) calls on President Obama to take action against Russia’s bombing of Syrian rebels. 

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Source: C-Span

Capital for a Day: Central New York

Syracuse - Governor Cuomo holds a cabinet meeting as part of “Capital for a Day” in the Central New York region, a day-long series of meetings between the Governor, senior state officials and local leaders designed to advance local priorities for growth and facilitate improvements in the community.

The President Speaks at a U.N. Luncheon

President Obama offered remarks at a luncheon hosted by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

The President Meets with the Prime Minister of India at the U.N.

President Obama delivered remarks after a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi of India at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

United Nations General Assembly Morning Session

The leaders of the Palestinian Authority and Turkey are among the speakers to address the morning session of the United Nations General Assembly. English translation is unavailable for the first 15 minutes of this event.

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Source: C-Span