If it’s Sunday, it’s Chuck Schumer meeting the press.
And yesterday was no exception, as Schumer summoned reporters to an 11 a.m. event in his East Midtown office to announce one of his achievable, inarguable policy goals–calling on the Federal Aviation Administration not to dilute its standards for measuring pilot fatigue.
But if the original idea for the Sunday soiree was to have the Monday news cycle to himself, well, it seems Schumer is getting squeezed by his own success.
Two hours after Schumer’s press conference, and just a block down Third Avenue, Kirsten Gillibrand–the junior senator whom Schumer has made a point to mentor–was debuting a new Chuck-like setup inside her own Senate office.
There was the blue cloth blackdrop, and the flags on either side of a podium that proudly displayed the Senate seal.
And while Schumer often speaks of the Baileys–the fictional middle-class family from Long Island that drives his agenda in Washington–on this day, Gillibrand did him one better. She strode into her office with the Lavelles, an actual middle-class family from Staten Island, who praised her bill to allow federal deductions of state property taxes.
“I’ve seen hard-working New Yorkers pushed to the brink of tears as they talk about how they are going to pay their bills and particularly these rising taxes,” said Gillibrand, while the younger of the two Lavelle boys finished a peanut butter and jelly sandwich next to the podium.
The conference got a few television spots, a quick hit in the Daily News and a longer look in Newsday.
An hour earlier, Congressman Anthony Weiner–who served as an aide to Schumer in the 1980s–held his own Sunday presser on the steps of City Hall, with the kind of local angle the senior senator could surely appreciate. Weiner railed against the House Republicans’ proposed budget cuts, displaying a handy chart of the millions that would be unfairly stripped from New York City.
“The Republican Congress really does cut the Big Apple to the core when it comes to many of the budget programs we count on,” Weiner said. The Post gave it a few inches at the top of page nine.
But the most direct challenge to Schumer’s Sunday monopoly was the one that preceded Weiner on the City Hall steps, where a group of state Senate Democrats was calling for new rent regulations at the very same time Schumer was holding court in Midtown. Among the advocates at City Hall was Brooklyn state Senator Daniel Squadron, who co-wrote Schumer’s book Positively American: How the Democrats Can Win in 2008.
But neither Squadron nor Schumer could win the news cycle this weekend; both of their pressers got edged out of the Monday morning tabs.