Springing ahead

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Daily Point

Fighting back on health care bill

For many congressional Republicans, the recent recess was a chance to get an ear load — or avoid an ear load — about the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, particularly those in relatively mixed districts.

One of those Republicans was Dan Donovan. He represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn, and is the target of a new video released by the liberal group Fight Back Bay Ridge ahead of a showdown on health care Thursday.

The five-minute video is meant to bring constituent stories of Obamacare support to Donovan because he has not held a full town hall meeting this year. He did, however, hold a roundtable on health care in Brooklyn, and he or staffers met with some members of Fight Back Bay Ridge.

According to analysis from acasignups.net, a blog that tracks Obamacare information, some 23 percent of the district could be at risk of losing coverage.

In an email, a Donovan spokeswoman said the congressman has “deep and serious concerns about the current bill” and is undecided on how he will vote. He tweeted Monday afternoon that he will be meeting with the president to discuss the bill and his concerns Tuesday.

Either way, Fight Back Bay Ridge is planning its own town hall with or without Donovan for late April — the next congressional recess.

Mark Chiusano

Talking Point

Testing the Regents

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie continues to add teachers-union allies to the New York State Board of Regents. To replace James R. Tallon Jr., who declined to seek another term, the speaker has nominated Susan Mittler. She led the Ithaca teachers union for 18 years until 2012 and is a visiting lecturer at Cornell University.

The 17-member board sets education policy for the state. Some Regents represent a specific district, and others are elected at large. Mittler has been nominated to fill the Southern Tier seat that Tallon occupied for three five-year terms. Regents are elected by a joint session of the State Legislature, and because of their overwhelming majority, Assembly Democrats control the vote.

With Mittler, Heastie will have named eight new Regents, who are slowing the reforms that Merryl Tisch oversaw until she stepped down as chancellor a year ago and was succeeded by Betty Rosa of the Bronx, a Regent since 2008.

However, Tallon also was a Rosa ally, so the weight of the anti-reform group won’t change much. Tallon formerly represented the Binghamton area in the State Assembly, where he was Democratic majority leader.

Anne Michaud

Pencil Point

Silencing

Quick Points

Digging graves

— Showtime’s “The Circus,” which chronicled the 2016 presidential campaign, returned Sunday for its second season. The actual circus never went off the air.

— The Trump administration has slowed the granting of special visas to foreign doctors who provide critical health care in many rural areas. That’s OK, a lot of rural residents apparently soon won’t have health insurance to pay the doctors, anyway.

— Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stressed the need to bring North Korea “to a different place.” A place no one has yet been able to find or define.

— In California, a waiter refused to serve four Latinas until they showed proof of residency. They did so, but he’d already proved who in that exchange was un-American.

— White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said the only way to have true universal health care is to throw people in jail if they don’t get it. Pretty sure that’s not how they do it in every other developed nation, all of which have universal health care.

— Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) says President Donald Trump should apologize to former President Barack Obama for the wiretapping allegation, saying, “It never hurts to say you’re sorry.” Now there’s a doctor who doesn’t know his patient.

— The world has cast ballots for the new Monopoly game pieces and the top two vote-getters were the dog (a loyal Scottish terrier) and T. rex (a voracious meat-eating dinosaur with the strongest bite ever) — one vote for all times and the other for our times.

— RIP, Jimmy Breslin. May you have a gravedigger for whom it is an honor.

Michael Dobie


This is The Point, the editorial board’s daily newsletter about New York politics. Click here to subscribe.

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