City Councilman James Gennaro, one of Council Speaker Quinn’s most loyal allies and attack dogs, is stepped forward to defend her once again.
The Queens councilman shot back at one of Ms. Quinn’s mayoral rivals, Bill de Blasio, for criticizing the Council’s member item system, after Politicker reported that council members who endorsed Ms. Quinn’s mayoral bid fared especially well in this year’s allocations.
Critics have long accused City Council Speaker and mayoral contender Christine Quinn of using the city budget to reward friends and punish those who’ve crossed her. But, perhaps in light of increased scrutiny and criticism from her rivals, this year’s allocations track closely with last year’s. Still, being a Quinn ally appears to have some definite perks.
An analysis of the 2014 budget numbers, crunched by the Citizens Union Foundation, finds that members who endorsed Ms. Quinn for mayor were especially likely to receive large allocations for their districts–receiving, in essence, the largest slices of the $594 million pie.
Odd Man Out
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who previously declined to slam House Speaker John Boehner over Congress’ stalled Hurricane Sandy aid, took his argument to the next level this morning and suggested federal lawmakers are partially to blame for the delay in the vote on the package because they insert “things that are totally extraneous” into bills such as this. Although Mr. Bloomberg didn’t specify the extraneous problem items, the legislation has been criticized by Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan for being “packed with funding for unrelated items, such as commercial fisheries in American Samoa and roof repair of museums in Washington, D.C.”
“There’s this ‘Christmas Tree effect’ where legislators put in their favorite bills and tack them onto something. The [Obama] administration does that, that’s why you have an omnibus bill–to force everybody to vote for things that would never stand up in the light of day if they were individual,” Mr. Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show with John Gambling. “I’m sympathetic. Yelling and screaming at [Mr. Boehner] is just not my style. It may be effective, it may not be. Everybody’s got to make their own decisions. I think the legislative leaders who criticize and those in the Legislature should stop and think, they do exactly the same thing in terms of ladling on things that are totally extraneous but it’s the only way they get them through.”
House Speaker John Boehner has been blasted by a slew of local elected officials for delaying the vote on the Hurricane Sandy federal aid package, but at least one politician in New York City appreciates the way he handled the situation. Yesterday, all but two of the sitting City Council members joined Council Speaker Christine Quinn in sending a letter to Mr. Boehner calling his decision to delay the vote “heartless and unfair.” However, Councilman Dan Halloran did not sign on and instead sent a letter of his own to Mr. Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in which he expressed his appreciation that the House delayed the Sandy package that was approved by the Senate because it contained too much unrelated pork and his desire for Congress to pass a more “responsible” bill than the one currently on the table.
“As a fiscal conservative and a hawk on reckless government spending, I appreciate the House’s desire to create a responsible bill that will provide the necessary aide [sic] to the affected areas,” Mr. Halloran wrote. “The federal government must act immediately to pass a bill that will address these storm related costs without creating a slush fund of pet projects around the country and around the world.”