Live: FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies on 2020 budget requests

Live: FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies on 2020 budget requests

Happening Now: FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on “Federal Bureau of Investigation Budget Request for FY2020.

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State Budget Fallout & More: The Week Ahead in New York Politics, April 1


New York City Hall
New York City Hall

What to watch for this week in New York politics:

This week will be dominated by dissection of and fallout from the new state budget, a $175.5 billion spending and policy plan agreed to by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature over the weekend. The budget, which takes effect to start the new fiscal year on Monday, April 1, makes a wide variety of spending decisions, including on the always-important topic of education aid to localities, which comprises a large portion of the budget, and a number of new policy changes, including on criminal justice. Items like a new congestion pricing plan for New York City and making permanent the 2 percent annual property tax cap for all areas outside the city span both fiscal and policy areas.

Governor Cuomo will likely speak to the new budget earlier, but on Thursday he is set to address a Manhattan audience at length. The Legislature is due to be in session three days this week, but it’s not clear the two houses will have much of an agenda.

The City Council has a quieter week after just having wrapped up an intense month of hearings on Mayor de Blasio’s $92 billion preliminary budget. The Council will soon issue its formal preliminary budget response. The mayor’s executive budget, which will take into account the Council hearings and response, as well as the new state budget, and more, is due toward the end of this month.

There are some City Council hearings this week, plus other events around the city — see our day-by-day rundown below.

***Do you have events or topics for us to include in an upcoming Week Ahead in New York Politics?
e-mail Gotham Gazette editor Ben Max:***

The run of the week in detail:

At 8:15 a.m. Monday, NYC Health + Hospitals President Mitchell Katz will speak to the Citizens Budget Commission at the Yale Club. Katz will discuss the “transformation of H+H, the largest municipal health system in the United States, and give an update on progress on…

Betsy DeVos Proposal To Cut Special Olympics Funding Sparks Outrage | Rachel l Maddow | MSNBC

Betsy DeVos Proposal To Cut Special Olympics Funding Sparks Outrage | Rachel l Maddow | MSNBC

Rep. Mark Pocan talks with Rachel Maddow about his confrontation of Trump Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her proposed elimination of federal funding for the Special Olympics.
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Betsy DeVos Proposal To Cut Special Olympics Funding Sparks Outrage | Rachel l Maddow | MSNBC

The Week Ahead in Education Politics: DeVos and Democrats Expected to Clash as Ed Secretary Testifies on Budget; Committees Look at Child Abuse Prevention, Apprenticeships & More

THIS WEEK IN EDUCATION POLITICS publishes most Saturdays. (See previous editions here.) You can get the preview delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for The 74 Newsletter; for rolling updates on federal education policy, follow Carolyn Phenicie on Twitter @cphenicie.

INBOX: DEVOS TO THE HILL — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will testify on the administration’s budget request before both the House and Senate this week.

She’s clashed with Democrats in these hearings before. A brief rundown:

—In 2017, she battled with House Democrats over civil rights protections for students participating in a proposed voucher program. In the Senate, she similarly faced questions on civil rights protections, particularly for LGBT students, and on ESSA implementation.

—Last year was more of the same. She again went several rounds with members of the House Appropriations committee on protections for LGBT students and battled with them on school safety issues, while a hearing at the Education Committee turned to vouchers for military families and immigration enforcement at schools.

This year should be no different, with Democrats having already panned the administration’s budget requests. The proposal, like the administration’s last two, seeks deep cuts to long-standing Education Department programs and expansion of school choice initiatives. DeVos is set to appear at a House Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday, and one in the Senate on Thursday.

ICYMI: WHITE HOUSE ON HIGHER ED — The White House put forward its priorities for the ongoing rewrite of the Higher Education Act, focusing on workforce needs.

Additionally, President Trump signed an executive order that will require…

Politics Trump Policy Once Again in Budget Debate

The Trump administration just delivered a massive budget to Congress. A look at the numbers and the talking points drafted to defend it confirms that budgets favor politics over policy. This also confirms that it really doesn’t really matter who is in the White House. Big spenders will spend and then dissemble to cover up their fiscal irresponsibility.

The fiscal year 2020 budget proposes spending $4.7 trillion. That’s up from $4.5 trillion last year and $4.1 trillion in FY 2018. Meanwhile, assuming that the tax cuts set to expire in 2025 do not expire, tax revenue will grow to $3.6 trillion in FY 2020, up from $3.4 trillion last year and $3.3 trillion in FY 2018. Spending between FY 2020 and FY 2029 will grow by 40 percent, and thanks to projected GDP growth averaging 3 percent over the next decade, revenue may grow by 72 percent during that time.

Despite a growing economy, relative peace in the world and no recent national emergencies, the annual deficit will reach $1.1 trillion in FY 2020. Also, $2 trillion have been added to the debt during the last two years. While the deficit is projected to be cut in half over the next decade and the debt may stabilize, as we shall see, these numbers carry little credibility.

The prediction of 72 percent growth in revenue is propped up by very unrealistic economic growth rates and should put to bed the notion that economic growth rates alone (even fallacious ones) can get us out of this fiscal mess we are in. That’s because this deficit is not driven by a lack of economic growth…

Political Cornflakes: Take a look at the winners and losers in President Trump’s budget

Political Cornflakes: Take a look at the winners and losers in President Trump’s budget
Office of Management and Budget staff delivers President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget outline to the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, March 11, 2019. Trump’s new budget calls for billions more for his border wall, with steep cuts in domestic programs but increases for military spending. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Happy Tuesday! President Donald Trump’s budget was unveiled yesterday and there were some clear winners and losers: Soldiers did well, as did advocates of a border wall and new parents. But health programs, farmers and food stamp recipients didn’t fare as well. Here’s a look at who makes out better and who doesn’t. [Politico]

-> A bill dubbed “Lauren’s Law” in honor of murdered University of Utah student Lauren McCluskey failed in committee Monday. The bill would have penalized people who loaned their guns out negligently. The man who murdered McCluskey had borrowed the weapon from a friend. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [ABC4] [KSL]

-> President Donald Trump’s budget would cut the Interior Department’s spending by 14 percent, speed up oil and gas exploration and slash money to preserve new land. Democrats say the bill is dead on arrival. [Trib]

-> From @HuntsmanAbby: “I will always be a proud moderate. If it’s “meh” to listen to other points of view, champion compromise, and be more nuanced in my thinking, I’ll wear that badge proudly…behind many of our great presidents who put the better of this country before an extreme ideology.”

In other news: Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, one of the two lawmakers who spearheaded the effort to gut a bill that would have banned the practice of conversion therapy on minors, apologized to other members of the Legislature for creating “tension.” The debate escalated last week when someone dug up old comments on her Facebook page that suggested she believed a “homosexual lifestyle” may cause some to attempt suicide. [Trib]

-> Tensions are rippling throughout the Utah House and Senate over what will become of the tax reform proposal that disintegrated last week. Now House Republicans are proposing a new plan that would dramatically change what had been originally talked about. The plan has been dubbed a “skinny budget.” [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [KSL]

-> A fluoride pump that malfunctioned and pooled into the water system last month in Sandy set off a chain of adverse events and launched several investigations into what happened and why. Records obtained by The Tribune now show residents filed more than…

Warning signs for Trump loom as he unveils budget

Kudlow: Border security theme is essential for Trump

(CNN)Early warning signs are flashing for President Donald Trump on some of his core arguments on immigration, the economy and North Korea that are central to his 2020 re-election message.

Complications on each of those policy areas threaten to undermine the narrative of unprecedented success that the President has weaved around his first two years in office and are driving political debate as the administration unveils its budget on Monday.

A poorer than expected monthly jobs report Friday fed concern that strong economic growth that anchors Trump’s best argument for a second term is ebbing — something that should worry the President since it’s a critical reelection metric.

Trump has often claimed that he is presiding over the “greatest economy in the history of our country.” But his foundational political promise to eliminate the US trade deficit suffered a blow with new figures showing that the gap between imports and the amount of goods and services that the US sells abroad has grown $100 billion since Trump took office, despite two years of his “America First” tariff policies intended to reinvigorate American manufacturing.

Signs that North Korea could be preparing a missile or satellite launch and its continued expansion of an atomic arsenal undercut the President’s claims that his daring outreach to the isolated state has ended its nuclear threat.

And a rise in crossings across the southern border — while playing into Trump’s claims of a crisis in the short term, contradict his wider argument that hardline enforcement policies are the best way to manage immigration and suggest his totemic political plan for a border wall may be ignoring the real problem.

Trump appears sensitive to the weak points of his political pitch, and spent the weekend tweeting out glowing testimonials about the economy from allies and accusing journalists of distorting the successes of his presidency.

“Despite the most hostile and corrupt media in the history of American politics, the Trump Administration has accomplished more in its first two years than any other Administration. Judges, biggest Tax & Regulation Cuts, V.A. Choice, Best Economy, Lowest Unemployment & much more!” Trump wrote.

“More people are working today in the United States, 158,000,000, than at any time in our Country’s history. That is a Big Deal!”

The good news for Trump is that the election — though it seems increasingly to be on his mind — is 20 months away, and none of the emerging complications are certain to cement themselves in the unpredictable political period ahead. And at their root, presidential elections unfold as a clash between two competing political visions and personalities as much as a contest between rival policy platforms. One of the big questions of the Democratic presidential race is how the eventual nominee will handle the President’s willingness to embrace scorched earth campaigning.

Yet the challenges to Trump’s re-election message are not happening in a vacuum. He has plenty of other looming political problems as well as he faces an unprecedented multi-front battle with House Democrats who have launched investigations into almost every aspect of Trump’s life, political career and business.

The way Trump has positioned his presidency — premising his political viability on the fervent support of his base — means he is insulated to some extent from reversals of fortune. But an eroding re-election argument could also threaten his efforts to win back more moderate voters in swing districts who helped Democrats win the midterm elections last year.

Potential road bumps for Trump’s re-election message also help to explain the relish with which Republicans have seized on the growing pains of the new House Democratic majority — giving a glimpse of the searing attacks that will complement the 2020 narrative of Trump success. Many Republican strategists…

What to expect after Governor’s budget address: a “political showdown”

MADISON (WKOW) — Governor Tony Evers will lay out his priorities for the next state budget Thursday, but he’ll face several roadblocks.

Republican leadership has criticized almost all of Evers’ proposals he’s released prior to his speech.

The governor’s budget is due July 1st, but several lawmakers have doubts it will pass on time with the anticipation of political showdowns and pressure to reach a deal.

The nonpartisan group Wisconsin Policy Forum said it’s possible the state could experience a budget stalemate, but it also wouldn’t be the first time. In 2017, former governor Scott Walker’s budget was stalled for two months over a debate on how to fund transportation.


UK hospital admissions for addiction soar as treatment budgets fall

Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health secretary

More than half of the local authorities in England have cut their budgets for alcohol and drug treatment, even though admissions to hospital for problems related to addiction are soaring, say MPs.

Liam Byrne, the chair of the cross-party parliamentary group for children of alcoholics, and Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, have both spoken of the trauma of growing up with an alcoholic father. They are among the MPs campaigning against the cuts.

The data comes from a freedom of information (FoI) request by Byrne to local authorities, which are responsible for drug and alcohol treatment in their areas but are struggling with huge demands on their limited public health budgets.

“Every child of an alcoholic comes to learn the brutal hard way that we can’t change things for our parents, but we can change things for our children,” said Byrne.

“But frankly that’s harder if addiction treatment budgets are being cut left, right and centre. What this year’s data shows is that it’s simply a false economy. We’re spending money dealing with A&E admissions when we should be trying to tackle the addiction that lands people in hospital in the first place.”

The FoI data shows that alcohol-related hospital admissions are up by 13%, with 39,000 more last year than in 2009, while alcohol treatment budgets have been cut by 4%.

The average budget cut for alcohol and drug treatment services last year was £155,000, but some were much higher. The largest absolute cut was by Birmingham city council at £3,846,000, which is 19% of…

Will the politics of Modinomics work in Lok Sabha elections?

Budget 2019 laid out a vision of India in 2030, promising the moon and more. But it missed a trick in not using the exercise to outline the government’s plans for the next five years. (Illustration: Nilanjan Das)

Soon after Vladimir Putin took over as president of Russia in 2000, he was confronted with the Kursk submarine disaster that resulted in the death of 118 navy personnel. Putin was vacationing outside Moscow and handled the crisis from there. But he was criticised for not cutting short his trip and being in office. Putin confessed to this writer that he had learnt his first big lesson in politics: a leader must not only take action but the public must see him doing so. Putin never made that mistake again and has ruled Russia unchallenged since then.

Narendra Modi made a similar mistake in his first year as prime minister. He faced his first big farmers’ crisis in March 2015 when unseasonal rains damaged farmers’ crops in Punjab and Haryana leading many of them to commit suicide. Modi ensured that the afflicted farmers got a higher compensation and that all the grain they produced was procured at the Minimum Support Price (MSP). But he was criticised for not personally visiting the affected areas and sympathising with the farmers. An exasperated Modi told this writer: Tell me if a Congress leader has visited a farm in the past 10 years. Were there no farming calamities then? As chief minister, I used to regularly visit farmers. My job now as prime minister is to collect information, take decisions, mobilise the machinery.

Yet it is only at the fag-end of his tenure that Modi seems to have realised that more than action, it is perception that matters, especially while dealing with farmers. The india today Mood of the Nation poll conducted this January showed that 78 per cent of those surveyed felt that the condition of farmers had remained the same or even deteriorated under the Modi government. Modi himself believes that his government has done plenty to alleviate the plight of farmers. It prepared soil health cards for 170 million individual farm holdings to improve their productivity. It provided more water through completing irrigation projects. It ensured power connections to pump the water. It brought quality fertilisers by having them neem-coated to prevent adulteration. Modi kicked off the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, an insurance scheme for farmers, to compensate them for crops lost to natural calamities. He raised the MSP for grains and pulses. In 2016, he promised to double farmers’ income by 2022 though it met with much scepticism from experts.

Yet both Modi and BJP president Amit Shah seemed to have underestimated the extent of the agrarian distress across the country. A huge mistake, as farmers, farm workers and their families are the single largest voting bloc in the country, accounting for over 50 per cent of the eligible voters. In the three Hindi heartland statesMadhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarha key reason why the BJP lost to the Congress in the December assembly elections was that farmers seemed upset with the inability of the state governments to deal with their woes. The Congress lured farmers away from the BJP by promising to waive their loans if they came to power. What also turned the tide against the BJP was the widespread disruption caused by demonetisation, particularly for small businesses and unorganised labourers who were dependent on cash payments. Not to mention the perceived drying up of job opportunities across the country.

Budget 2019 was the…