Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) is stepping down.
Right. Last week, calls for Cuomo to resign reached a fever pitch after an investigation found that the governor sexually harassed at least 11 current and former state employees. Lindsey Boylan – a former aide – was the first to publicly come forward. Several others followed suit. And NY AG Letitia James' (D) office began a probe. Amid all of it, the three-term governor denied wrongdoing. But the probe's findings crumbled his house of cards. President Biden called for his resignation. The New York State Assembly said 'take your pick: step down or impeachment.' Now, Cuomo's resigning in two weeks. But he's not admitting any guilt.
Cuomo maintains he never "crossed the line with anyone." And that generational and cultural differences had "redrawn" the line of what was acceptable. The governor apologized to his accusers. But dismissed the entire investigation as "politically motivated." And said he was leaving office for the good of New Yorkers. Boylan, who's planning to sue Cuomo, said all she wanted was for him to "stop his abusive behavior." But that instead he attacked and blamed the victims while many watched from the sidelines. Meanwhile, Republicans are still calling for impeachment, which could prevent him from running for future office. TBD on what the State Assembly decides. Cuomo could still face misdemeanor charges even once he leaves office.
Get to know Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY). She'll succeed Cuomo, becoming NY's first female governor. The Buffalo-area native has two terms as the state's no. 2 under her belt. And will be serving out Cuomo's term until the 2022 midterms. On her to-do list: tackling things like COVID-19 and rising gun violence. And Hochul's not the only one stepping up. New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins will take on the active duties of lieutenant governor. Meaning two women will be holding the highest offices in New York.
Cuomo's four-decade career in politics continued a family dynasty. And his tenure as governor led to some landmark policies and earned him national praise. Now, his fall from grace is ending with the same stain that's brought down many powerful men.
The Senate. Yesterday, in a 69-30 vote, the Senate passed the long-awaited $1 trillion bill – after months of negotiating. And early this morning, senators passed a $3.5 trillion spending package in a 50-49 vote. The Senate's passage of these two major bills are key parts of President Biden's economic agenda. Now, the infrastructure bill includes $550 billion in new funding for things like transportation, broadband, replacing lead pipes, and addressing racial inequities (like reconnecting Black communities divided by highways). If passed, the spending package will expand Medicare and establish universal pre-K. But the bills are 'still under construction.' Both pieces of legislation face an uphill battle in the House (which returns the week of August 23). Centrists are worried about the spending package's large price tag.
Paying up: Last week, the Congressional Budget Office said the $1 trillion legislation would add $256 billion to the deficit in the next ten years. Even as the bill's negotiators say the whole thing will be fully paid for.
Texas. The state's been seeing its highest number of new COVID-19 cases since February. Hospitals are running out of ICU beds (yes, delta's to blame). And less than half of Texans are fully vaccinated. Gov. Greg Abbott's (R-TX) asked hospitals to voluntarily postpone elective medical procedures. And is pleading for out-of-state help from health care workers to fight the rise in infections. But it's got many thinking this could all have been avoided. For months, Abbott's refused to follow CDC guidelines, fully reopening the state and even banning local govs and state agencies from mandating vaccines or masks.
Court orders: Local officials sued Abbott over his 'no mask mandate' EO and a judge ruled in their favor. Meanwhile, the Dallas and Austin Independent School Districts are already dismissing Abbott's EO and telling people to mask up.
Twitter. This week, a grad student proved the social media company's algorithm prefers younger, thinner faces with lighter skin. After getting pushback that its cropping algorithm was biased (some even called it racist), Twitter offered a $3,500 prize for anyone who could prove it. (Was its QA dept on vacation or...?) Well, the student figured it out – by using artificially generated faces with different features. Now, Twitter's apparently saying it's clear they've got "more analysis to do." No sh-tweet.*
The meteor shower tonight.
Skimm’d by Rashaan Ayesh, Maria del Carmen Corpus, Maria McCallen, Kamini Ramdeen, Clem Robineau, and Julie Shain
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