Queens Lawmakers On The Move Jan. 27, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Dromm Joins Campaign To Abolish Nuclear Weapons

City Council Member Daniel Dromm

City Councilmember Daniel Dromm D-Jackson Heights, Elmhurst) tomorrow will join Ray Acheson of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), 2017 Nobel Peace Laureate, together with Zia Mian of Princeton University and others in a rally to address the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and how the risk of nuclear war is increasing.

The rally will come before a hearing on the issue in the City Council Chambers. The council has a pending resolution that “calls upon the New York City Comptroller to instruct the pension funds of public employees in New York City to divest from and avoid any financial exposure to companies involved in the production and maintenance of nuclear weapons and reaffirms New York City as a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone.”

“Our divestment from nuclear weapon producers will send a clear signal to financial institutions and corporations around the world that hard-working New Yorkers refuse to profit from the sordid and arguably illegal industry that maintains weapons of mass destruction, the very same that target our city and endanger our first responders,” said Dromm, chair of the council’s Finance Committee.

“Through this progressive legislation on nuclear disarmament, we are aligning our city’s financial power with our progressive values,” he added.

The rally is slated for 11 a.m., tomorrow, Jan. 28 on the steps of city hall and the council hearing is at 1 p.m. at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

Meng Introduces Resolution To Recognize Lunar New Year

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) on Friday introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives that seeks to recognize the cultural and historical significance of the holiday in 2020.

The resolution comes as the Asian American community began celebrating the Lunar New Year on Saturday, 

“Lunar New Year is the most significant time of the year for the Asian American community,” said Meng. “It is observed by millions of Asian Americans and the number of people and communities in the U.S. that mark the celebration only continues to grow. Given its enormous increase in popularity, and the fact that Asian Americans are the fastest-growing population in the United States, I believe it is time for the House to formally appreciate this annual observance; passing my resolution would go a long way towards providing Lunar New Year with the Congressional recognition it deserves. I look forward to shepherding this measure through the House, and I‘m pleased to send my warmest wishes for good fortune, health, success, and happiness to all who ring in the Year of the Rat – here in Queens and across the nation.”  

In addition to recognizing the cultural and historical significance of Lunar New Year, Meng’s resolution would express the deepest respect for Asian Americans and all individuals throughout the world who celebrate the holiday. The measure, which details the history and customs of Lunar New Year, would also wish Asian Americans and everybody who observes the Lunar celebration a happy and prosperous new year.

Schumer Wants ‘Rapid Response Dollars’ To fight Fatal Coronavirus

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) yesterday revealed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cannot access a special federal funding account known as the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund until the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), led by Secretary Alex Azar, officially declares a “public health emergency” related to the coronavirus. 

Schumer noted that the potentially fatal coronavirus, which started in China, has already been confirmed in three cases domestically. Schumer made the case to affirm this emergency declaration and further revealed that in the recent budget deal he just negotiated, he was able to increase the very account relevant to combatting the coronavirus from $50 million to $85 million.

“If we have learned anything from the risks that new viruses pose to public health it is that a ‘stitch in time saves nine,’ and the more we can do to be proactive, the better off the public will be,” said Schumer. 

“The CDC has been doing a tremendous job so far at being proactive and working around the clock to protect public health, but if we are going to make sure they can sustain this pace and remain at-the-ready should the outbreak get worse, they will need immediate access to critical federal funds that at the present time they remain unable to access. That is why, today, I am urging HHS to follow the CDC’s proactive lead: declare a formal public health emergency for the coronavirus. In doing so, HHS will unlock tens of millions for the CDC to access,” he added.

The novel coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV” by CDC) can cause a wide range of symptoms, from those similar to the common cold to more severe respiratory illness that can be fatal. There is currently no direct cure-all, but a vaccine is currently under development at the National Institutes of Health. 

HUD Secretary Carson Announces Nationwide Bus Tour Focussed On Affordable Housing

President Donald Trump

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson this weekend announced that the Department will lead a bus tour across the nation focused on removing barriers to affordable housing stock. 

The Driving Affordable Housing Across America tour will kick off in Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday, Jan. 29 and make stops in various local communities for events and discussions focused on the need for increased affordable housing.  

“In our efforts to alleviate the unnecessary regulatory barriers to housing construction and development, it’s important that we get out into local communities and hear directly from our fellow citizens who are grappling with rising housing prices and learn more about best practices to address them,” said Carson. “Families, businesses and all levels of government have concerns about the rising cost of housing, and this is an opportunity to bring those parties to the table for a discussion about how we can work together to fix the problem.”

This bus tour is a part of the work Secretary Carson is undertaking as the Chair of the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing. The Council’s eight Federal member agencies are engaging with governments at all levels—State, local, and Tribal—and other private-sector and non-profit stakeholders on ways to increase the housing supply so more Americans have access to affordable housing.

President Trump signed Executive Order 13878, “Establishing a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing,” due to the fact that, for many Americans, the supply of available housing has not kept pace with the demand for housing by prospective renters and homebuyers, driving up housing costs. 

Regulations are often necessary to protect the health and safety of American citizens, such as clean air, water or disaster mitigation practices. However, outdated and overly burdensome, time-consuming, and costly regulatory requirements and restrictions prolong the completion of new housing supply and those costs are shifted to the consumer, particularly in tight markets, according to the Trump Administration.

For more information and details about tour stops, visit www.hud.gov/drivingaffordablehousing. 

More from Around New York