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Vice President Mike Pence.

Vice President Mike Pence. Credit: AP

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Daily Point

Pence — and Cuomo — make rounds in Buffalo

Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to western New York Tuesday for a fundraiser can’t be good news for those terrified that a proposed GOP tax overhaul will punish the state by eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes. The New York State tax department estimates that 3.3 million New Yorkers, including many on Long Island, would see an increase on their tax bills.

Pence says he traveled to Buffalo to talk about the Trump administration’s “pro-worker, pro-American tax cut plan” and to support Republican Rep. Chris Collins, who is under investigation by the House ethics committee.

However, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who just happened to be in Buffalo Tuesday morning, used the visit to call the GOP plan “a death blow to New York State.”

Pence attended a fundraiser for Collins that was expected to raise $400,000, and then he was to meet with business executives to discuss the controversial tax bill. Key to getting the GOP plan through the House of Representatives is winning the votes of blue state Republicans, such as Collins. By going to Collins’ hometown, Pence is strongly signaling that the White House will stand up in 2018 for House members willing to take a risky vote that raises taxes on some of their constituents.

Not only did Cuomo have some sharp words for Pence, but he also has a message for Collins, although he never mentioned him by name during his remarks at the site of a new children’s hospital on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

“If the New York federal delegation stands together, they can stop these proposals. That’s how strong our delegation is . . .,” Cuomo said. “Your duty is to New York. I don’t care what lapel pin you wear. You represent the people of the State of New York and we need our people to stand up now and stop these federal assaults on New York. Remember who elected you. Remember where you live. Remember where you’re going home. You’re New Yorkers. Put your politics aside and act that way, and let’s stop these proposals that would decimate this state, and let’s do it now.”

New York has nine GOP members in the House, including three from the New York City area — Lee Zeldin, Peter King and Dan Donovan — who have said they are worried about losing the tax deduction. President Donald Trump and Pence might need to spend a lot more time in New York.

Rita Ciolli

Talking Point

Keep your eyes on this

When President Donald Trump exclaimed of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, “I loved our Henry” at a Greenville fundraiser Monday night, he was sharing a fact that’s been important nationally but mostly only understood locally. That’s going to change. Trump is going to have a lot on the line in South Carolina’s gubernatorial primary in June of next year.

McMaster was an early and fierce supporter of Trump’s presidential bid, but he was not the governor then. He was lieutenant governor. McMaster became governor when Trump named Nikki Haley ambassador to the United Nations. Trump mostly likes to reward loyalty, but Haley was a supporter of Sen. Marco Rubio in the primaries who switched to Sen. Ted Cruz after Rubio dropped out. And just before the South Carolina primary, she said Trump was “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president.” Trump tweeted of her, “The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley.”

So the consensus is that Trump mostly gave Haley the UN role because when she vacated the governorship Trump-pal McMaster automatically ascended, and he will have the incumbency advantage in 2018.

He’ll need it, and perhaps a lot more, because when McMaster ran a GOP primary for governor in 2010, he came in third in a four-choice field, with just 17 percent of the vote. McMaster, 70, has managed to stay prominent in Palmetto State politics for decades without ever actually becoming popular. And he faces three formidable primary opponents already.

In a Georgia congressional race earlier this year, Trump polished his brand when his candidate, Karen Handel, won a House seat. Then, in Alabama, Trump sullied the perception of his influence when his U.S. Senate candidate, Luther Strange, lost a GOP primary to local legend Roy Moore.

So what will happen in South Carolina when all eyes turn to that race and the value of Trump’s support? It will be fascinating to see, because that state is definitely Trump country.

It just isn’t McMaster country.

Lane Filler

Pencil Point

Boiling over

More cartoons to break up your day

Pointing Out

Make the Road storming in

Rep. Peter King of Long Island and Dan Donovan of Staten Island and Brooklyn are in the sights of immigration advocates. This week, Make the Road New York plans a 12-mile march and demonstrations on Long Island and Staten Island in support of a “clean” Dream Act.

The group is calling on Congress to create a path to citizenship for certain immigrants brought to the United States at a young age, and focusing on King and Donovan because of what they say are the districts’ large immigrant populations.

So far, both representatives have occupied some middle ground on this issue as Congress begins debate on what to do about the hundreds of thousands of immigrants who will no longer receive protection from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

President Donald Trump announced a plan in September to rescind the Obama-era policy with a six-month delay, and has since fluctuated on what exactly to do in its place.

One option is the Recognizing America’s Children Act, which would provide a path to legal status and citizenship. King and Donovan are co-sponsors, but Make the Road says the bill is a weaker version of the Dream Act that would apply to fewer immigrants. The group is pushing for a fuller Dream Act sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin.

In King’s district, the group will go door to door, discussing King’s position, as well as geographically placed Facebook ads — an early foray as the search for a DACA replacement heats up.

Mark Chiusano


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