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Daily Briefing – 332

Post: Jun. 28, 2021

Politico: Messy Budget Fight Could Upend Infrastructure Deal

President Joe Biden and Senate negotiators took their first big step toward an infrastructure deal last week. Now comes the real monster: approval of the budget that makes it all happen.

To secure the votes for a bipartisan accord, Democrats must achieve total Senate unity while walking a political tightrope in the House — where internal spats are already unfolding on immigration, climate and the debt as the party shapes a second spending bill designed to pass alongside the infrastructure compromise. 

Read more at Politico

Infrastructure Spending Promises Boost for Construction Companies, Suppliers

Plans to pump money into rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges and other infrastructure could give companies with ties to the construction industry a solid foundation for growth.

Companies such as Caterpillar, with its heavy machinery, and construction materials company Vulcan Materials could see years of additional business as roads and bridges are rebuilt and buildings are modernized. Makers of cranes, bulldozers and other machinery are still only part of the bigger picture. Companies that make asphalt, concrete and other road and building materials are in a good position with any future infrastructure spending. Vulcan Materials and Martin Marietta Materials are among the biggest makers of aggregates in the U.S.

Read more at the AP

What We Know About the Origins of Covid-19

It is among the world’s most consequential mysteries: Where did the coronavirus that killed millions of people and shattered the global economy come from?

The Wall Street Journal has covered the global quest for answers, tracking the World Health Organization, doctors and scientists in China and around the world, the U.S. intelligence community and the vast network of disease specialists, all struggling to piece together a puzzling set of disparate clues.

Here are some of the Journal’s key findings:

Natural Gas Prices Jump To 29-Month High On Extreme Weather

U.S. natural gas prices jumped last week and early on Monday amid a tight natural gas market and expectations of high demand for electricity in hotter than usual weather in many parts of the United States. On Thursday last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported net injections into storage of 55 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending June 18, lower than analysts had expected. The median estimate was 62 Bcf injection into storage of natural gas stocks. The lower-than-expected stockpiles of natural gas signaled a tighter market just as the Pacific Northwest is scorching in a heatwave and high temperatures are expected to continue into July in many parts of the U.S.  

As of 8:19 a.m. EDT on Monday, the U.S. benchmark natural gas price at the Henry Hub was trading at above $3.50 per million British thermal units (MMBtu)—at $3.549, up by 1.52 percent. This was the highest price for the prompt futures in 29 months.  

Read more at OilPrice.com

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Monday morning:

One Vaccine Dose

  • 59.7% of all New Yorkers – 11,476,717 (plus 11,623 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,219,517 (plus 992) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 53.7% of all New Yorkers – 10,455,656 are fully vaccinated (Plus 14,603)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,101,482 (plus 1,531) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday June 27th.   There were 3 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,964. 


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 346

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 0.39%
  • Mid-Hudson: 0.34%

Useful Websites:

US COVID Update – Delta Variant May Cause “Very Dense Outbreaks’

The Delta variant, a strain of Covid-19 believed to be more transmissible and dangerous than others, is likely to break out in some US communities, a health expert told CBS’s Face the Nation. “It’s not going to be as pervasive,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, told the station Sunday. “It’s going to hyper-regionalized.”
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 46.1% of the total US population has been vaccinated against Covid-19. Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Wyoming are among the states with the lowest vaccination rates, with less than 35% of their population fully vaccinated.

Read more at CNN

Americans Seek Mental-Health Support as Covid-19 Crisis Ebbs

In the pandemic, a wave of mental-health crises has grown into a tsunami, flooding an already taxed system of care. As the U.S. appears to be emerging from the worst of the Covid-19 crisis, emergency departments say they are overwhelmed by patients.

Doctors say it could be years before we see the full impact of the pandemic on mental health, but a host of studies indicate how strained the system has become. Emergency visits for patients seeking help for overdoses and suicide attempts rose 36% and 26%, respectively, between mid-March and mid-October of last year, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in March. And U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveys have found that 38% of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety or depression between April of last year and February, up from about 11% in 2019.

Read more at the WSJ

Sydney and Darwin in Lockdown as COVID-19 Cases Pop up Across Australia

Australia’s states closed their borders as new clusters of covid-19 emerged across the country. Around 80% of Australians are now living under restrictions and their “travel bubble” with New Zealand has been suspended. Infections had been kept in check and lockdowns limited, throughout the pandemic. But the delta variant moves fast and the country’s vaccination program has been slow.

“I would rather regret us going too hard, too early than go too easy and risk it all,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said at a news briefing after imposing an immediate 48-hour hard lockdown on Darwin and some surrounding areas.

Read more at Reuters

Hudson Valley Airport, DCC Open New Educational Facility

A plethora of officials from all levels of government gathered on the tarmac of the Hudson Valley Regional Airport, formerly known as the Dutchess County Airport, as the $16 million state-of-the-art aviation education facility was formally introduced to the community.

DCC’s Acting President Ellen Gambino hosted the opening of the “DCC@HVR” just a few weeks before the arrival of the new president at the college. “The DCC@HVR Airport facility represents our commitment to broadening aviation education in the region, said Gambino. “…with the addition of our new aviation maintenance technician programs and this outstanding education center, we are even more strategically positioned to meet the workforce needs of the aviation industry, now and in the years to come. Students who finish their training with us will be on a pathway to great jobs and successful careers.”

Read more at Mid-Hudson News

Dr. Peter Grant Jordan Appointed as President of Dutchess Community College

Dr. Peter Grant Jordan has been appointed by the State University of New York Board of Trustees to serve as DCC’s new president, effective August 2, 2021. He will succeed Dr. Pamela R. Edington, who retired in July 2020. Jordan currently serves as president of Tarrant County College-South Campus in Texas. He has a passion for the mission of community colleges, as well as being committed to access, diversity, academic quality, planning, innovation and student success.

Jordan’s appointment is the culmination of a comprehensive national search process to recruit, in the words of the chair of the DCC Board of Trustees, Michael Dupree, “a leader who will listen to all our key campus constituencies and build a vision of what that will look like. Then, to also create it. “Dr. Jordan has been at the forefront of anticipating such changes in his last role,” said Dupree. “We are fortunate to have his experience at this challenging but potentially transformative juncture.”

Read the College’s press release

DiNapoli Statement on Former Orange County IDA Officials Guilty Plea

“Industrial Development Agencies exist to economically benefit their communities, not the officials running them. The defendants corrupted the Orange County IDA through a web of conflicts of interest, false statements and pay-offs,” said DiNapoli. “Although their scheme was complex, their motives were simple: greed. We must have zero tolerance for public corruption. Thanks to our partnership with Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler and the New Windsor Police, we were able to bring their crimes to light and recover their ill-gotten gains.”

Read more at the Comptroller’s website

EEO-1 Filing Deadline Extended until August 23, 2021

Associate member Jackson Lewis Reports that the EEOC has announced the deadline for filing EEO-1 Reports has been extended.  The new filing deadline is NOW Monday, August 23, 2021.

As a reminder this year’s reporting is for both the 2019 and 2020 EEO-1 Component 1 forms.

Read more at Jackson Lewis

DiNapoli Report: Albany’s Balanced Budget a Gimmick

It seems a distant memory that the Governor’s January budget contemplated significant spending cuts. Since then, an avalanche of Federal aid and a gusher of unanticipated tax revenue—most recently a $4 billion upside surprise in May’s tax receipts—put the budget outlook back in the black. A report issued by Comptroller DiNapoli last Thursday, however, flashes trouble ahead.

Extending the budget window—as does a chart on page nine of the Comptroller’s report, shown below—reveals large, yawning budget gaps growing from nearly $8 billion in 2026 to nearly $20 billion by the end of the decade. The dual expiration of American Rescue Plan funds in 2026 and a temporary hike in the PIT in 2027 sends the budget deep into the red.

Read more at the Empire Center