NY Lawmakers on the Move, Aug. 16, 2022

Lawmakers on the Move

Espaillat vows to protect social security on its 87th anniversary

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) yesterday commemorated the 87th Anniversary of Social Security by vowing to protect this critical program in the face of attacks from extreme MAGA Republicans who plan to end Social Security in five years.

“For generations, Social Security has been a sacred promise to our workers who have earned their retirement through decades of hard work. I know how much our seniors and their families rely on this program, which is why I am committed to protecting Social Security,” said Espaillat. “That means standing up to extreme MAGA Republicans who have proposed ending Social Security and Medicare in five years. I’m proud to be putting People Over Politics and fighting for our seniors in Congress.”

While more than 111,000 constituents in New York’s 13th congressional district rely on Social Security programs, Republicans have unveiled a plan to end Social Security and Medicare in five years. They have also proposed raising taxes on middle class families, which would make it even harder for New Yorkers to prepare for retirement, said Espaillat..

“When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935, it was a promise to support older Americans. It started off as old-age insurance for individuals, but has grown into a cornerstone of American life, providing comprehensive benefits for retirees and persons with disabilities and their families. As a Member of Congress, I will continue to fight for the belief that every American deserves comprehensive, reliable health care,” the lawmaker added.

Lander, Williams call on AG Garland to implement stronger oversight of the Metropolitan Detention Center

NYC Comptroller Brad Lander
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

City Comptroller Brad Lander and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams today will call on Attorney General Merrick Garland and Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Director Colette Peters to make immediate reforms to the federal Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn.

The MDC is located in Sunset Park Brooklyn and is home to the largest federal pre-trial detention center in the United States.  Systematic dysfunction at MDC-Brooklyn has resulted in years of unacceptable conditions of confinement for detainees, denial of basic necessities, and inadequate access to counsel and legal materials, Lander and Williams say 

Lander and Williams along with Congressional candidates Dan Goldman, Mondaire Jones, Yuh-Line Niou, and Carlina Rivera have all signed an urgent letter addressed to the DOJ and the BOP demanding that elected officials and federal judges be authorized to make unscheduled visits to MDC Brooklyn to ensure transparency and accountability. 

Other demands include every staff member entering the facility undergo a thorough screen for drugs, weapons and cell phones; medical staffing be increased to meet the needs of this population and the length of time detained, and that the BOP collaborate with a local medical school or non-profit to increase the quality of providers, as the NY Department of Corrections did successfully on Rikers Island.

The call to action is slated for 10 a.m. today, Aug. 16 at the MDC-Brooklyn, 80 29th St., Brooklyn.

CM Brewer and NYCHA Tenant Leaders Call for Action on E-bikes

City Council Member Gale Brewer

City Council Member Gale Brewer (D-Manhattan) yesterday joined leadership and neighbors from NYCHA for a press conference focused on lithium ion battery safety. 

The purpose of the press conference was to call for increased education and enforcement efforts, and higher standards in the market. Tenant leadership also call on NYCHA to create a plan that can accommodate working people who depend on e-bikes and similar mobility devices, while protecting residents. 

Brewer has been engaged for months with FDNY, stakeholder advocates, academics, and more to identify legislative and policy solutions. The Council Member has a number of bills being drafted on the issue and is arranging an industry working group to gather information and amplify efforts. 

According to the Fire Department, in 2021 there were 106 fires caused by lithium-ion batteries, which injured 79 people and killed 4. From Jan. 1 to Aug. 1, 2022 there were 120 fires, injuring 62 people and killing two — on pace to double the number of battery-caused fires compared to 2021.

“E-bikes are here to stay, and have become an important component of life in the city. Los Deliveristas Unidos found that there are over 65,000 delivery workers that rely on e-bikes for work. Many people also use e-bikes as a convenient way to get around, and diversifying transit options is critical in the fight against climate change and pollution,” said Brewer. “It is critical that NYCHA and relevant City agencies come up with regulations that can accommodate working people while protecting life.”  

Meng, Velázquez host U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng
U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D-Queens) and Nydia Velázquez (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn) today will host U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona as he visits summer learning programs in Queens and Brooklyn to highlight investments in academic and mental health recovery from the pandemic.

Secretary Cardona will kick off the morning at 10 a.m. with Meng in Elmhurst, Queens where they will visit a Summer Rising learning program at PS 007. They will tour the facility and participate in a roundtable conversation with students and parents regarding the benefits of summer learning and best practices to improve student mental health. 

Afterwards, Secretary Cardona will join Velázquez in Brooklyn where they will visit PS 089 and speak to parents and teachers to learn more about the ways that the community schools have helped the community recover from the pandemic.

The Biden-Harris Administration has invested significantly in expanding summer programs for students and families across the nation to help drive recovery. Through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP), states and districts received $122 billion to help schools reopen and help students catch up academically and access mental health supports, including by increasing summer programming.