Political Roundup

[Content warning: This article discusses sexual assault]

In this week’s headlines…

The White House is considering decreasing the number of refugees admitted to the United States over the next year from 110,000 to below 50,000, which would be the lowest quota since at least 1980 (The New York Times, “White House Weighs Lowering Refugee Quota to Below 50,000,” 09.12.17).

The Islamic State took responsibility for the bomb that exploded in the London Underground on Sept. 15, injuring 29 in Britain’s fifth terrorist attack of the year (The New York Times, “‘Bucket Bomb’ Strikes London’s Vulnerable Underground,” 09.15.17).

North Korea fired another ballistic missile over Japan on Sept. 15, reacting to new U.N. sanctions intended to force the country to halt its missile tests and enter negotiations. Neither the United States nor Japan attempted to shoot down the missile, which American officials say was intended to demonstrate that North Korea could easily hit Guam (The New York Times, “North Korea Launches Another Missile, Escalating Crisis,” 09.14.17).

President Trump convenes with world leaders and diplomats in New York for the the United Nations General Assembly this week. Hot-button issues include how to move forward with North Korea, Trump’s nationalist “America First” agenda and how it fits into the mission of the U.N., the reported ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and the future of the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran (The New York Times, “The Big Question as the U.N. Gathers: What to Make of Trump?,” 09.16.17).

In a conversation with Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) on Sept. 14, Trump stood by his claim that violence in Charlottesville was caused by “pretty bad dudes” on the left as well as the right. That evening, Scott signed a congressional resolution that called on him to condemn hate groups (The New York Times, “Trump Resurrects His Claim That Both Sides Share Blame in Charlottesville Violence,” 09.14.17).

In our backyard…

Hudson River Housing, which has provided outreach services for homeless and at-risk Dutchess County residents since 1984, may lose its program serving homeless veteran families by the end of the month. This year, the program was denied the approximately $500,000 Support Services for Veteran Families grant, which has been its singular source of funding for its work with more than 458 veteran families since 2012. It currently has 30 open cases of homeless veteran families, and last year’s grant money is expected to run out by Sept. 30 (Poughkeepsie Journal, “Hudson River Housing lose federal funding for homeless veteran program,” 09.14.17).

The Dutchess County Legislature may censure Legislator Joe Incoronato (R-Wappinger) after an email exchange between Incoronato and a county resident over comments about sexual assault he made during a June 2016 legislature meeting, when he stated that women become more susceptible to assault when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He defended his point in the email exchange—which was initiated on Sept. 12 by Staatsburg resident Robert Dorn—writing, “[T]o the extent a woman is thereby incapacitated, it should even be apparent to you that she is making herself susceptible to potential rapists.” Incoronato apologized for his remarks after they were condemned by Legislature Chairman Dale Borchert (D-Lagrange) (Poughkeepsie Journal, “Legislature may consider censure after Incoronato’s sexual assault remarks,” 09.15.17).

The City of Poughkeepsie announced the start of a federally funded parking study of the downtown area, to be conducted in conjunction with the Dutchess County Transportation Council. The effort will seek to ensure that the parking system is being managed effectively by assessing parking supply and demand and prioritizing improvements to parking facility operations and maintenance. The first step of public outreach is an online parking survey, which can be found on the City of Poughkeepsie website (City of Poughkeepsie, “City of Poughkeepsie Announces Start of Parking Study, Seeks Public Input,” 09.14.17).

Keeping up with 2020 hopefuls…

On Sept. 16, California lawmakers voted to move the state’s 2020 presidential primary up to March in order to exert greater influence on the nomination; the proposed date places the primary right after those of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. If approved by Governor Jerry Brown, the decision could aid presidential prospects Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, while endangering candidates who would have trouble raising enough funds to campaign in the state’s highly priced media markets (Politico, “California lawmakers greenlight early primary in 2020,” 09.16.17).

The annual legislative conference for the Congressional Black Caucus began on Sept. 20; Senators and 2020 Presidential prospects Harris and Cory Booker (D-NJ) are both CBC members (CNN, “#2020Vision: Going back to Cali; Biden blasts Trump; Harris backs Feinstein despite left’s grumbles,” 09.15.17).

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) revealed his single-payer healthcare bill with support from 16 Democratic co-sponsors. Senators who did not sign on included Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Chris Murphy (D-CT), who is working on an alternative healthcare bill (CNN, “#2020Vision: Going back to Cali; Biden blasts Trump; Harris backs Feinstein despite left’s grumbles,” 09.15.17).

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