Law & Order
Blast From The Past
“I didn’t get up in the morning ready to go to jail,” Charlie Rangel told Politicker today.
“I went to speak to the throngs of people and to give them encouragement,” he said. “Some people recognized me and asked me if I would get arrested with them: ‘Why won’t you, are you with us?’ I thought there’d be enough younger people getting arrested rather than me but I couldn’t walk away.”
Taxation and Representation
Today’s front-page New York Times story detailing Anthony Weiner’s lack of congressional accomplishments hadn’t been published yet, but last night, Mr. Weiner suddenly found himself defending his record.
It was at a Latino-focused forum and the topic was immigration. And, as he’s done before, the former congressman blamed Republicans for the lack of movement on the issue.
“Unfortunately, every member of the Democratic caucus, you can say, didn’t get much done during the Bush years while I was on immigration committee,” the slender-framed Democrat said, pivoting to a joke. “When I got on that committee, I was six-four, 290 pounds. This is all that is left of me.”
City Republicans–and Adolfo Carrion Jr.–slammed proposed city legislation that would allow non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections, calling the idea offensive, illegal and just plain dumb.
The City Council held a hearing earlier today on a bill that would allow any resident legally living in the city for six months or longer to vote in municipal elections. The bill, which is opposed by the mayor, has wide support on the council, with 34 sponsors–a veto-proof majority.
It’s not just conservatives who are critiquing Sen. Chuck Schumer and the rest of the so-called “Gang of Eight” for their immigration bill.
Freshman Congresswoman Grace Meng, a steady liberal hand, is also urging to re-assess the latest version of the proposed federal immigration overhaul. But her warnings come with a unique twist: potential damage to Asian-American immigrant families.
In her first such letter to lawmakers on a major piece of legislation, Ms. Meng, New York’s first Asian-American Congresswoman, told Mr. Schumer, New York’s most politically powerful voice in Washington, that she has concerns about certain provisions of the sweeping reform bill, which is set to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.
King of the Hill
Later this morning, Reshma Saujani will officially launch her public advocate campaign, an ambitious bid for one of two competitive citywide races this year. But as she lays out her agenda, it won’t be the same Reshma Saujani politicos remember from her 2010 primary against Upper East Side Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. In that campaign, she embraced her “Pro-Wall Street Democrat” label, but now, Ms. Saujani says she’s focused on a whole new slate of issues.
“Oh my God, so much!” she told Politicker when asked if she’s learned from her experiences since then, including a stint in the public advocate’s office. “Since 2010, I have a record–a progressive record–of accomplishment. There are people in the city who I have helped put on a path of economic prosperity, that are in college because I fought for them. There are people in jobs because I fought for them … In 2010, that was harder to demonstrate, right? Because I was working as a lawyer in the private sector.”
Land of Rand
With the news that two of the suspected terrorists from last Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing have roots in the Russia’s Muslim-dominated Chechnyan region, Long Island Congressman Pete King says the United States “can’t afford to be politically correct” with its immigration policies anymore.
“I do believe that whether it’s Chechnya or whether it’s really any countries from areas where there is fighting going on–particularly terrorist fighting–that we have to be extra careful, extra scrupulous,” Mr. King argued during a PIX 11 interview earlier this afternoon. “That would include, to me, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Somalia [and] obviously …. somebody of a Chechnyan background. All of that, to me, we can’t afford to be politically correct and say that somebody coming from a country where there’s a Muslim war going on is the same as somebody … from Switzerland, for instance. There’s a difference.”
Earlier this week, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul reportedly endorsed a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. And although Mr. Paul disputes that exact phrasing to describe his speech, it was a notable announcement from the Tea Party conservative as the U.S. Congress debates the issue. Indeed, New York’s own Senator Chuck Schumer, part of a bipartisan octet negotiating a comprehensive immigration bill, praised the move last night.
“I think the bottom line is having Rand Paul come out for something not that far away from our group of eight is really helpful,” Mr. Schumer said on Inside City Hall. “After all, he’s the hard right. He’s the Tea Party. And if he can be for it, so can most Republicans. And that gives me a lot of hope we can pass a bill in both the Senate and the House. And the House will be even tougher than the Senate.”
In his State of the Union address this evening, President Barack Obama addressed several hot-button political issues including climate change, immigration reform and gun control. Overall, the president’s speech struck a populist tone, but when bringing up his proposals to address some of these more controversial issues, he characterized them as making good business sense.
Former Mayor Ed Koch is very upset with The New York Times at the moment.
The cause? An editorial on immigration, where the the publication of record saw a new opportunity to push for reform in the wake of Republican election losses this year. But Mr. Koch, in one of his regular missives typically containing movie reviews, instead used the space to accuse The Times of overreaching in its rhetoric.
State Senator Adriano Espaillat would really prefer if Mitt Romney would stop beating immigrant communities with a stick so that candy will come out, figuratively, of course. Thus, on the eve of the second debate between Mr. Romney and the incumbent, President Barack Obama, Mr. Espaillat gathered with Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and immigration advocates to “call out” Mr. Romney and push him into changing his tune on immigration.
“Mitt Romney has committed to the most extreme, xenophobic positions on immigration, including the promise that he will veto the Dream Act,” Mr. Espaillat said in a statement to explain his protest, which took place in front of Hofstra University where tomorrow’s debate will be held.