Political Odds & Ends, Dec. 7, 2021


Meng Backs Keeping Paid Leave in Build Back Better Act

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens) yesterday joined local advocates to highlight the importance of keeping paid leave in the House-passed Build Back Better Act.

The Congresswoman joined Reshma Saujani, Founder of the Marshall Plan for Moms and Girls Who Code, PL+US (Paid Leave for the U.S.) Executive Director Molly Day, and many other advocates and advocacy organizations at a press conference in front of City Hall to underscore how critical it is to ensure that paid leave remains in the bill. 

The Build Back Better Act, a nearly $2 trillion spending bill that seeks to assist families and boost the nation’s economy as the country works to rebound from the coronavirus crisis, passed the House on November 19, and is now pending before the Senate. However, there are some Senators who want to remove the provision from the legislation.

“Paid leave would greatly help so many working families here in Queens and across New York and the nation,” said Meng. “Attempts to strip it from the House-passed Build Back Better Act are unconscionable and unacceptable. The Build Back Better Act is an historic and monumental piece of legislation that I was proud to help pass in the House, and among the crucial items in the measure is four weeks of paid leave, a provision that we fought hard to secure. As the working mom of two young kids, I know how important paid leave is.”

Cymbrowitz Joins Hochul in Announcing NY’s Homeowner Assistance Fund

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee, joined Governor Kathy Hochul at a press conference yesterday to announce that New York has become the first state in the nation to receive U.S. Department of the Treasury approval to launch its Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF).

The program will provide up to $539 million to help eligible homeowners avert mortgage delinquency, default, foreclosure, and displacement. The application period will open on Monday, January 3, 2022, and close on Friday, February 4, 2022.

“Since the start of the pandemic, many of our small homeowners have been struggling under the weight of financial loss and, through no fault of their own, have found themselves unable to meet their mortgages and other monthly expenses. I believe that the NYS Homeowner Assistance Fund program will be the lifeline that will help restore financial security to many of our low- and moderate-income homeowners who’ve been hurt by the pandemic,” said Cymbrowitz.

“By helping these homeowners, the program will also help restore stability to entire communities that have been left vulnerable by the economic devastation of the last 21 months. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program and Landlord Rental Assistance Program were crucial elements in our arsenal to get people back on track, but the Homeowner Assistance Fund is desperately needed right now to avoid the nightmares of mortgage delinquency, foreclosure, and displacement,” the lawmaker added.

Also announced was the launch of the NYS HAF program website nyhomeownerfund.org, and an information call center at 1-844-77-NYHAF – open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and a multilingual marketing campaign that will help educate homeowners about the program and ensure all New Yorkers, especially those in non-English speaking households, are ready to apply when the application window opens on January 3.

Addabbo’s Retired Racehorse Aftercare Bill Signed Into Law

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Sen. Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. (D-Queens) last week saw his legislation (S.1442B) prohibiting the inhumane slaughter of retired racehorses and breeding stock signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul.

The new law further ensures any funding generated by enforcement will be dedicated to the aftercare of retired racehorses. 

“After several years of collaborating with advocates, colleagues and partners representing different interests in the horse racing community, we have finally enacted a law that will improve the racing industry, add a key level of integrity to the sport, and protect the future fate of horses,” stated Addabbo. 

“As Chair of the Senate Racing, Gaming, and Wagering Committee, I am grateful for all the advocates who contributed to creating this important legislation, as well as my colleagues, Leader Stewart-Cousins and Governor Hochul for understanding the importance of aftercare for racehorses in the racing industry by making it a priority in 2021,” added Addabbo.  

This innovative law makes New York a national leader in protecting retired racehorses by requiring microchipping of all racehorses so they can be tracked, preventing New York’s horses from being sent to slaughter facilities and kill pens, promoting accredited horse retirement and rescue programs in NY, and establishing a tax check-off on individual and corporate franchise returns that will bring much-needed awareness and funding for retired racehorses.  

Espaillat, AOC, Meng Demanding Action to Protect Undocumented Communities

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

U.S. Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan/Bronx), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Queens/Bronx) and Grace Meng (D-Queens) will join other congress members and leading immigration advocates from around the nation today at a press conference to urge the Senate to secure a pathway to citizenship in the final negotiations and eventual passage of the Build Back Better Act.

Earlier this month, the Members led 91 of their colleagues in a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-IL) to reinstate a pathway to citizenship in the Build Back Better Act. 

The press conference is slated for 1:30 p.m., today, Dec. 7 at the House Triangle part of the U.S. Capital Building in Washington, DC. The press conference will also be live streamed on Twitter. 

Queens BP Richards, Queens Borough Cabinet to Get Snow Removal Plan Briefing

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards

The Queens Borough Cabinet, chaired by Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., today will get a briefing from the City’s City Department of Sanitation on its boroughwide snow removal plan for the 2021-22 winter season. 

The Department will discuss its pre-winter planning process, plow routes, storm response, snow removal priority, staffing and more ahead of the upcoming winter months.

The meeting will also include a presentation from the utility company National Grid on its efforts to promote energy efficiency.

This virtual meeting is slated for 9:30 a.m., today, Dec. 7, and live-streamed to the public on the Borough President’s website at www.queensbp.org.