Brooklyn Lawmakers On The Move Feb. 13, 2017

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Schumer Vows To Fight For Medicaid Tooth & Nail

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) yesterday vowed to fight against what he called an inexorable attack on Medicare, and to ensure the program is protected for current and future generations.

Schumer warned that the newly confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, along with some Members of Congress, has proposed to turn Medicare into a voucher-based, privatized system, which would effectively gut Medicare, a program that provides affordable healthcare to countless New York seniors.

“Every senior and every American should hear this loudly and clearly: I will fight with every fiber of my being to beat back these harsh efforts to weaken, wound and destroy Medicare,” said Schumer. “Medicare is enormously popular because it works, it delivers affordable and vital healthcare to our seniors and it needs to be strengthened, not put on the chopping block. Millions of seniors and people with disabilities in New York rely on their Medicare benefits to lead decent, independent and healthy lives. After paying into the system throughout their working lives, it is unconscionable that right wing extremists and ideologues seek to pull the rug out from under millions who depend on these modest, earned benefits for dignity and health security. Our country must keep its promise to seniors by ensuring they have access to health care and economic security in their aging years.”

Schumer promised to use his new role as Senate Democratic Leader to block the forces in Congress who seek to gut Medicare as we know it. Schumer said the opponents of Medicare seek to pull the rug out from under seniors and vulnerable populations by voucherizing Medicare and cutting Medicaid. The Senator warned out how in Congress Tom Price led the House Budget Committee, and as Chairman, authored budget proposals that sought to convert Medicare from an open-ended entitlement to a fixed amount voucher. 

Schumer argued that Medicare is one of the greatest policy innovations of the past century. Schumer said this program has raised countless older Americans out of poverty, and profoundly changed for the better the way the U.S. treats its seniors. Schumer said this critical program provides dignity and a higher quality of life to millions, and it must not only be preserved, but strengthened.

Weakening this program, Schumer said, would be disastrous for New York State residents. Schumer insisted that turning Medicare, a program that protects millions of New Yorkers, into a partisan voucher-based program would devastate many seniors who have spent years paying into this essential program. As such, Schumer said he would use his new leadership role in Washington to fight such privatization proposals.

There are about 1,089,935 seniors in New York City enrolled in Medicare, including 311,582 seniors in Brooklyn.


Brooklyn Lawmakers & IDC Call For MOre Money To Prevent Foreclosures

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton
Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein

Sounding the alarm on the need for additional funds to address New York’s foreclosure crisis, the State Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) including its two Brooklyn members Senators Jesse Hamilton (D-Central Brooklyn) and Diane Savino (D-Coney Island, Staten Island) along with Brooklyn Assembly Members Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn), Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) and Jo Anne Simon (D-Brooklyn) will join Foreclosure Prevention Network Organizations today to release to release a white paper and call for $30 million over two years for foreclosure prevention legal services.

Sen. Diane Savino

The call for more money to prevent foreclosures, comes after Weinstein and IDC Chair Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Westchester/Bronx) in 2016 passed landmark legislation that addressed record foreclosure rates and zombie properties through, among other reforms, enhanced settlement conferences and consumer protections that helped New Yorkers stay in their homes.

In conjunction with these reforms, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman established a foreclosure prevention program that relies on funding that will soon be depleted. This additional funding is critical to continuing efforts to prevent further suffering in communities throughout the state.

The press conference releasing the white paper and calling for money is slated for 12:30 p.m., today, Feb 13  in the New York State Capitol Room 124 in Albany.


Adams Goes To Bat For Oakley

Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams today will address the media following a meeting with New York Knicks owner James Dolan regarding an incident involving former player Charles Oakley during and subsequent to a home game last Wednesday night, which resulted in the retired power forward being forcefully ejected from the arena as well as arrested and charged with three counts of assault and one count of trespassing.

Accounts of the events surrounding the purported interaction between Oakley and Dolan that supposedly sparked the altercation are in dispute, though the team owner’s contentious relationship with him have been widely acknowledged. Dolan has since gone public in announcing an indefinite ban of Oakley from Madison Square Garden, as well as alleging issues of abuse and alcoholism.

Adams meeting with Dolan comes after he joined a coalition of black professional men, including attorneys, educators, and law enforcement veterans, outside Madison Square Garden to address the handling of the conflict. Dolan and the Knicks organization subsequently reached out to Adams to ask the group to meet with them for a discussion of these concerns.

The media availability is slated for 2:45 p.m., today, Feb 13 on Joe Louis Plaza in front of Madison Square Garden, on the corner of west 33rd Street and Seventh Avenue in Manhattan.


Deutsch Celebrates Reopening of Brighton Beach Library

City Councilman Chaim Deutsch

City Council Member Chaim Deutsch (D-Sheepshead Bay/Manhattan Beach/Brighton Beach) today will join Assembly Member Pamela Harris (D-Coney Island/Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights) and Brooklyn Public Library officials to celebrate the reopening of the Brighton Beach branch, which closed in early 2016 for the installation of a new HVAC system, energy-efficient lighting, shelving, furniture, wired computer tables and signage.

During the closure, Deutsch worked with the library to open a computer lab next door to the branch, at the Shorefront Jewish Community Council. A BPL Bookmobile visited the area twice per week, and staff continued to host programs locally at schools, senior centers, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Brighton Beach is one of Brooklyn’s busiest public libraries, with Russian-language materials in particularly high demand at the branch.

The reopening is slated for 11 a.m., today, Feb. 13 at the Brighton Beach Library, 16 Brighton 1st Road in Brighton Beach.


Williams Lauds De Blasio For Funding Lawyers For Tenants Fighting Eviction  

City Councilmember Jumaane Williams

City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Flatbush, East FLatbush, Midwood) yesterday lauded Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement earlier in the day that the City will fully fund ‘Right to Counsel’ for tenants facing eviction proceedings and that the administration will invest an additional $1.9 billion to create 10,000 apartments for New York families earning less than $40,000 per year.

“It is one thing to talk about the battle that may be impending with the Trump Administration, it is another to prepare for it with tools and resources. As chair of the Committee on Housing and Buildings, I commend the Mayor on the announcement made today. It moves our city dramatically forward in helping keep New Yorkers in their homes,” said Williams.

“The lack of preservation of affordable units and insufficient investment in low-income construction are prime drivers of our record homelessness. Today, with the historic Right to Counsel being funded, and the addition of 10,000 units being steered to low and extremely low income, we will help push back on flippant evictions and take a big step toward providing units of housing for those who need it most. No longer will low-income New Yorkers have to face the prospect of showing up to court with inadequate legal representation, just because of a financial burden.

“And as I and many others have argued for, deeper affordability has taken up more space in the Mayor’s housing plan. In addition to thanking the Mayor, kudos on the leadership of my colleagues, Council Member Mark Levine, who championed the Right to Counsel bill, and Council Member Vanessa Gibson, the co-sponsor. Today is a historic day for housing in this City. Lets keep the fight going.”

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