Congressman Jerrold Nadler discussed last week’s Republican budget proposal and State Senate redistricting in a rare appearance at a Community Board 7 meeting Tuesday night.
Nadler, CC ’69, who represents much of Manhattan’s West Side and parts of Brooklyn, took a hard line against Republicans in Washington, D.C. and Albany. CB7 halted its meeting for Nadler, who spoke to about 75 mostly supportive attendees and board members.
Nadler criticized the budget proposal which Republicans in the House of Representatives passed last week with no Democratic votes as “huge tax cuts not balanced by unspecified loopholes.”
“What you haven’t read is that the degree of cutting spending is incredible,” Nadler said. “When I say cutting spending, I mean everything you can think of.”
“This budget, over a couple of decades—I mean this is the blueprint—would reduce the federal discretionary budget to about 3.5 percent of the GDP. It’s now 12.5 percent,” he added. “If we pass anything like it, it will drastically reduce what people depend on from government.”
Nadler also attacked the Republicans’ proposed multi-year transportation funding bill. Nadler called the bill—which includes a 35 percent reduction in transportation funding, and which he said chips away at environmental impact regulations—very partisan.
Last week, Congress passed a stopgap bill that extended transportation funding for 90 days due to deadlock on the multi-year bill.
“Transportation was always the one bipartisan area in Congress,” Nadler said. “That was true whether the Republicans or Democrats were in control.”
But Nadler predicted that House Republicans would need Democratic support for their final transportation bill because some Republicans have opposed any federal transportation funding, arguing that it should be left entirely to the states.
“That’s a debate that was held between Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay in the 1830s,” Nadler said. “And Henry Clay won that debate.”
Turning his attention from Washington to Albany, Nadler also attacked the new lines for State Senate districts that the body passed last month, calling them “absurd.”
“They’re very artfully gerrymandered by Republicans for Republican purposes,” Nadler said. “Some of the gerrymanders don’t have a real purpose—they just make it difficult for anyone to represent the district.”
The Manhattan Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit later this week, with plaintiffs alleging that the Senate lines are unconstitutional.
“From a legal point of view, this is very interesting,” Nadler said. “There’s a reasonable chance the Senate lines will be thrown out and the court will redraw them.”
As a result of national Congressional redistricting last month, Nadler’s district gained more of the Upper West Side and Morningside Heights. Nadler, who was first elected as a democratic district leader on the northern end of the Upper West Side and later represented the neighborhood in the State Assembly, said he was “glad to be getting back to the 90s and higher.”