What Schumer’s Rise to Senate Majority Leader Means for New York


There has by no means been a Senate majority leader from New York, not to mention one from Brooklyn.

However after Democrats claimed razor-thin wins in a pair of Georgia runoffs, Senator Chuck Schumer will quickly be taking cost of the legislative agenda in Washington’s higher chamber, and — by extension — place New York in line to reap the advantages.

The state, in idea, ought to have already been in that place, however President Trump not often adopted stances that benefited his former residence state. That’s anticipated to alter with Mr. Schumer, with Democrats throughout New York thrilled to have a direct line to a person accountable for vitally wanted federal support and different help.

“It’s a vibrant sunny day within the State of New York,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo mentioned in Albany on Wednesday morning. “The metaphorical solar is shining.”

Mr. Schumer’s looming ascension was overshadowed when pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, leaving the senator to cope with the fallout from the outgoing president somewhat than the promise of his successor.

Loads. There’s a lengthy bipartisan custom of majority leaders serving to their residence states out, whether or not it’s by way of direct funding of tasks, similar to water crops in Mississippi, below the management of Trent Lott, a Republican, or extra just lately, the advocacy of Harry Reid, a Democrat, to dump public lands and permit Nevada to use the profits for enhancements.

In Washington, Senator Mitch McConnell, a Republican, is primarily recognized for his uncanny capability to maintain his convention in line and on schedule, delivering main victories for Mr. Trump on tax reform, the affirmation of three Supreme Courtroom justices, and, after all, the president’s acquittal on impeachment expenses final 12 months.

However the outgoing majority chief was additionally recognized for bringing cash to his residence state of Kentucky, which recurrently ranks as one of many high “taker states” within the nation — which means that it receives far more federal assistance than it supplies in tax income.

In late 2019, Mr. McConnell claimed to have introduced $1 billion to Kentucky as a part of two end-of-year spending payments, with cash for every little thing from a veterans hospital in Louisville to a “forage animal production lab” dedicated to horses and cattle on the College of Kentucky.

Mr. Schumer, a diligent practitioner of old school politics, appears completely suited to hold on this custom. He makes a behavior of touring to the entire state’s 62 counties yearly and asserting ample servings of pork: $8 million for a Cornell lab, $81.5 million for the Rochester Institute of Technology, $14 million for Covid-19 efforts. And that was simply since New Yr’s Day.

“I at all times combat for New York and at all times have,” Mr. Schumer mentioned in an interview on Thursday night. “It’s simply in my bones.”

With billions of {dollars} in finances deficits, Mr. Cuomo has been verbally battling for months with Mr. McConnell, who had urged that he was not concerned with providing a “blue state bailout.”

Now, with Democrats in cost in Washington, these bailouts needs to be a lot simpler to rearrange, together with the all-important subject of direct state and native support, which was neglected of the recent stimulus package. How a lot support that will probably be stays to be seen, however in Albany, something will assist.

The state may additionally get some aid from a private bugbear of Mr. Cuomo’s: the cap on the federal deduction on state and native earnings taxes, which was handed as a part of Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax reform invoice. New York has a few of the highest property tax charges within the nation, and the cap restricted how a lot could possibly be written off.

Mr. Cuomo has railed towards the “S.A.L.T. cap” so typically that it has turn into one thing of a operating joke among the many reporters who cowl him, however Mr. Schumer has been equally opposed, saying that he needs it “dead, gone and buried.”

He echoed that on Thursday, calling it a “nasty provision within the tax invoice,” and calling its repeal “a really excessive precedence.”

Coupled with the victory of President-elect Joseph Biden, Mr. Schumer’s ascension could sign each new affect for New York on the nationwide stage, in addition to a brand new dynamic within the state’s inside energy construction.

Mr. Biden, for example, is thought to be pleasant with Mr. Cuomo, although the connection between the governor and Mr. Schumer is extra fraught. Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat now in his eleventh 12 months in workplace, has lengthy been probably the most highly effective chief within the state; Mr. Schumer could now lay declare to that title.

Regardless of the rating, the rivalry periodically flares up, together with earlier this 12 months, when Mr. Cuomo — on the top of the primary wave of the coronavirus surge within the state — took swipes at Mr. Schumer for what he felt was lackluster federal help.

“It will be good if he handed a bit of laws that truly helped the State of New York,” the governor told reporters throughout one in all his many Purple Room information conferences.

Mr. Schumer, a centrist like Mr. Cuomo, dismissed the governor’s critiques, reeling off help he’d introduced residence for small companies, unemployed individuals, mass transit and hospitals. “Is it going to steadiness all of Cuomo’s finances? No. It’ll steadiness greater than half of it,” Mr. Schumer said.

On Wednesday, nevertheless, Mr. Cuomo congratulated Mr. Schumer, saying it “bodes nicely,” earlier than outlining a sequence of issues he’d like the brand new Congress to do. He urged that the Senate had handled the state poorly over the past 4 years and will now “make it proper.”

For anybody who makes use of trains, subways or buses in New York, a Schumer-led Senate could possibly be a godsend.

In late December, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority obtained $4 billion as a part of the stimulus deal to cowl the company’s shortfall by way of the top of 2021. However the M.T.A. nonetheless faces an almost $8 billion deficit from 2022 by way of 2024, and transit officers have proposed slashing service to make up for that shortfall.

Mr. Schumer’s new function — and extra federal funding — could stave off these cuts, in addition to restart the company’s $54 billion plan for badly wanted upgrades to the traditional system.

“Having him as chief of the chamber could be a profit to the hundreds of thousands and hundreds of thousands of individuals in New York and throughout the nation who depend on mass transportation,” mentioned Patrick J. Foye, the M.T.A. chairman.

The Biden administration can also be anticipated to push ahead New York’s congestion pricing scheme to cost drivers for coming into the busiest elements of Manhattan, which is awaiting steering from federal authorities on the environmental evaluation course of required for the plan to maneuver ahead. That plan is anticipated to generate $1 billion yearly that can contribute to upgrades to the system.

On Wednesday, earlier than the mob descended on the Capitol, Mr. Schumer — anticipating the wins in Georgia — mentioned that he supposed to pursue extra direct funds to Individuals.

“One of many first issues that I wish to do when our new senators are seated, is ship the $2,000 checks,” Mr. Schumer said.

On this level, amazingly, he was in alignment with Mr. Trump, who had stalled signing the December stimulus invoice in hopes of getting greater funds included. (The invoice included $600 checks.)

Sure, sure, and sure.

Mr. Schumer has expressed support for decriminalizing marijuana on a federal stage, saying his considering had developed over time.

“Right here you had all these individuals saying, ‘Oh, it’s going to be horrible, it’s going to be horrible,’” the senator recalled in a chat with Consultant Hakeem Jeffries, a fellow New Yorker. “Then a number of states legalized and the parade of horribles by no means occurred.”

On this, Mr. Schumer could possibly be operating on a parallel monitor with Mr. Cuomo, who mentioned on Wednesday that he would suggest legalizing marijuana for leisure use in New York.

Mr. Schumer and Mr. Cuomo will even discover widespread floor on main transportation infrastructure tasks, together with the Gateway Undertaking to repair the deteriorating rail tunnels below the Hudson River, that are anticipated to maneuver ahead below the Biden administration after languishing for years below Mr. Trump.

“It could possibly be crucial 4 years for New York’s transit system that ever existed,” mentioned Nick Sifuentes, the chief director of Tri-State Transportation Marketing campaign, an advocacy group.

Mr. Schumer will even be overseeing the Senate’s distinctive energy to confirm federal judges and Supreme Courtroom justices. Mr. McConnell stuffed three Supreme Courtroom seats and hundreds of vacancies within the federal judiciary, and solely a few dozen stay open. Nonetheless, Mr. Schumer is promising “many extra progressive judges,” in addition to “creating way more variety on the bench.”

Mr. Schumer, 70, is up for re-election in 2022, and hypothesis has been swirling that he may face a critical major problem, maybe even from Consultant Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the occasion’s progressive star.

The precedent is definitely there for a viable problem from the left; Ms. Ocasio-Cortez stunned the political world in June 2018 by defeating Joseph Crowley, then the No. 4 Home Democrat. Final 12 months noticed one other shocker, with the defeat of Eliot L. Engel, the chairman of the Home Overseas Affairs Committee, by a charismatic progressive challenger, Jamaal Bowman.

Regardless of all of the seeming momentum from the progressive finish of the Democratic Social gathering, Mr. Schumer’s new function may tamp down the passion for such a marketing campaign, significantly if he is ready to save New York’s funds by bringing a serious bailout to the state.

“He will probably be ready to convey vital sums of cash at a time when the state and town want it,” mentioned Hank Sheinkopf, a veteran Democratic political marketing consultant, including, “Cash is what’s going to speak within the subsequent couple years in New York.”



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