ALBANY – New York leaders are hoping former Vice President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election Saturday will mean the start of a more collegial relationship with the White House, which has been at odds with the Empire State on issues big and small over the last four years.
New York City residents flocked to the streets Saturday after Biden’s pickup of Pennsylvania pushed him over the 270 electoral votes necessary to become president-elect, though President Donald Trump, the New York native, has not conceded and has vowed to fight the results in the courts.
What’s it all mean for New York?
It means you could see a federal government that’s more amenable to New York’s infrastructure needs, including a key rail tunnel project between New York and New Jersey that has languished during Trump’s presidency.
“This is a historic day. After the darkness, division and hate of the past four years, America has spoken and rejected more of the same,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has had a close relationship with Biden, said in a statement Saturday.
It’s also possible some New York Democrats could find themselves with a job in the Biden administration, which could trigger vacancies in elected office here.
Here are five potential impacts Biden’s win could have on New York:
Will any NYers get jobs in a Biden administration?
It happens every time a new federal administration takes over: Federal, state and local politicians of the new president’s party get their resumes in order and angle for a job in the cabinet.
Might some New York Democrats get a look at Biden’s cabinet? It’s certainly possible.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, for example, was one of the many Democratic presidential hopefuls who participated in the early 2020 primary races.
One-time presidential candidates are often at the top of the list for cabinet positions or ambassadorships once the dust settles on the election.
It wouldn’t be the first time a New York senator was picked for a cabinet position: Barack Obama tapped Hillary Clinton as his secretary of state in 2008. That allowed then-Gov. David Paterson to pick Clinton’s replacement as senator: Gillibrand.
On Saturday, Gillibrand congratulated both Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris — her Senate colleague — on their victory.
“This country faces many big challenges, and I know that (Joe Biden) will rise to meet them with decency and compassion, and do the necessary work to heal our nation,” Gillibrand wrote on Twitter.
One person who says he does not want a job in the Biden cabinet is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has repeatedly said he intends to remain governor.
“I have no agenda but being New York governor and I’m going to stay here and finish the job,” Cuomo said Friday on NY1.
NY hoping for a boost in federal money
For months, Cuomo has been banking on the federal government to come through with a new stimulus package that would provide state and local governments with billions of dollars to plug their COVID-fueled budget holes.
House Democrats have so far been unable to strike a deal with Senate Republicans and Trump. But Biden is supportive of direct state and local aid, and Cuomo is optimistic it could get done even if the Senate remains in Republican hands after a pair of Georgia runoffs.
“I believe Joe Biden, he will get a stimulus bill,” Cuomo said recently. “He campaigned on it. He knows how necessary it is.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, said Wednesday that Congress would soon resume stimulus negotiations and suggested a deal could come before the end of the year, before Biden even takes office.
He said it is “possible” a new stimulus package could include funding for state and local governments.
The money is critical for New York and its local governments and schools: The state has at least $13 billion budget gap for the coming year.
New plans for battling COVID
Cuomo has battled with Trump since COVID hit the U.S. in March, and New York was the first to be most impacted, with nearly 26,000 deaths — still the most in the nation.
But with Biden in the White House, New York would have a new ally in fighting the virus as the state tries to stave off a surge in cases and deaths.
New York went from having the highest infection rates in the nation to among the lowest.
“This is their politics that is overwhelming science,” Cuomo said Friday of the White House’s strategy. “I think the Republican governors get it, but not until Trump is out the door, which isn’t until January 21, don’t forget.”
What a shift in course on COVID might mean in New York is uncertain. Biden has promoted mask wearing and has talked about a national plan to address the virus’ spread.
Cuomo has also called for a stronger national policy and a better strategy on the purchase of supplies, such as ventilators and masks.
Aid for the unemployed
Any stimulus package might also include more unemployment assistance for out-of-work New Yorkers.
Biden has talked about another stimulus package and more help to the unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are plenty of New Yorkers who could use it.
The state this fall finished doling out six weeks of $300 a week payments to unemployed New Yorkers from Aug. 2 through Sept. 6. It went to 2.4 million people.
The money, called the Lost Wages Assistance Program, was part of $44 billion in federal unemployment aid made available unilaterally Aug. 8 by Trump amid gridlock in Washington.
New York applied for a seventh week of $300 aid after $600 a week payments ended in July, but was denied.
Now Biden may seek another round of unemployment aid when he takes office.
Ending gridlock over infrastructure projects
In 2014, Biden memorably likened LaGuardia Airport to a “Third World country.”
But now Biden might be able to use the power of the White House to address long stalled projects in New York.
“The greatest city in the world — and New York is, it’s not hyperbole — needs and deserves the greatest infrastructure in the world,” Biden said in 2016 alongside Cuomo at a $4 billion redevelopment project at LaGuardia in Queens.
Now, Cuomo is hoping to get federal approval for an elevated train from LaGuardia Airport in Queens that would link to the city’s transit system.
Officials from New York and New Jersey will also have renewed hope that Biden could bring in funding for a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, called the Gateway tunnel.
The $13 billion project was not championed by Trump
“The president also, as has been admitted by people around him, uses New York as a campaign ploy to say New York is doing poorly: That’s what happens when Democrats control something, and he tries to make New York a negative stereotype to fuel his politics and fire up his base,” Cuomo charged last month.
Jon Campbell is a New York state government reporter for the USA TODAY Network. He can be reached at JCAMPBELL1@Gannett.com or on Twitter at @JonCampbellGAN.
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