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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Who is Anthony David Weiner?

Who is Anthony David Weiner? The political world knows Anthony Weiner as the U.S. Representative for New York's 9th congressional district, serving since 1999. He is a member of the Democratic Party.
The district includes parts of southern Brooklyn and south and central Queens. In Queens, it includes the neighborhoods of Forest Hills, Maspeth, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Howard Beach, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Middle Village, Ozone Park, Rego Park, Rockaway Beach, and Woodhaven. In Brooklyn, it includes the neighborhoods Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Midwood, Mill Basin, and Sheepshead Bay.
In the 1998 U.S. House election, Weiner ran against Republican Louis Telano for the seat being vacated by Charles Schumer, who was running for the Senate seat held by Al D'Amato. Weiner defeated Telano by a margin of 66%–23%. He was re-elected in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 never receiving less than 59% of the vote.[2] In the House, he is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. He was an unsuccessful candidate for Mayor of New York City in the 2005 Mayoral election. A graduate of State University of New York at Plattsburgh (SUNY), Weiner was an aide to then-U.S. Representative Schumer (1985–91). He was a member of the New York City Council (1992–98).

Early life

Weiner was  born September 4, 1964 in Brooklyn, New York, to Mort, a neighborhood lawyer, and Fran, a mathematics teacher at Midwood High School.[3][4] One of three children, he has two brothers, Seth (d. 2000)[5] and Jason. The family lived for a time in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. Raised Jewish, Weiner identifies strongly with his Jewish roots. He told Moment Magazine in 2011, "We weren’t a very religious household, but we had a very strong sense of our Judaism."[6]
Weiner took the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) and entered Brooklyn Technical High School. He originally had failed the admission test for Stuyvesant High School by one point.[7] After graduating (1981), he attended the State University of New York at Plattsburgh, where he played hockey. He originally sought to become a television weatherman, but his interests soon turned towards politics, and he became active in student government.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Weiner worked on the staff of then-Congressman and current Senator Chuck Schumer (1985–91). First working in Schumer's office in Washington, D.C., he was sent to the District Office in Brooklyn in 1988 when Schumer encouraged him to become involved in local politics.

New York City Councilman: 1992–98

In 1991, after a three-way primary and a four-way general election, Weiner was elected to the New York City Council.[4] At 27, he was the youngest person to serve on the Council to that date.
Over the next seven years on the City Council, Weiner initiated programs to tackle quality of life concerns. He started a program to put at-risk and troubled teens to work cleaning up graffiti. He spearheaded development plans for historic Sheepshead Bay that led to a revival of the area; and, when supermarkets started leaving the neighborhood, Weiner worked to reverse the trend.[8]
As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Public Housing, he fought to increase federal funding, to ban dangerous dogs, and to add more police officers to the beat. His investigation into the cause of sudden, fatal stairwell fires made headlines; he exposed dangerous practices that eventually led the city to replace the paint in developments citywide.[4]

U.S. Congressman: 1999–present

In 1998, Congressman Chuck Schumer opted to try to unseat Senator D'Amato. In the Democratic primary election, Schumer won the right to face D'Amato, whom he defeated in the General Election; and Weiner won the Democratic nomination to succeed Schumer, which was tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic 9th District. He is only the fifth person to represent the District since its creation in 1920. Because of the redistricting required by the U.S. Census every ten years, the 9th has been numbered the 10th (1920–45), the 15th (1945–53), the 11th (1953–63), the 10th again (1963–73), the 16th (1973–83), the 10th again (1983–93); and the 9th (1993–present).[9]
In April 2008, Weiner created the bi-partisan Congressional Middle Class Caucus.[10] Weiner received an "A" on the Drum Major Institute's 2005 Congressional Scorecard on middle-class issues.[11]
In late July 2009, Weiner succeeded in securing a full House floor vote for single payer health care when Congress returned from its August recess, in exchange for not amending America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (AAHCA) in Committee mark-up with a single-payer plan.[12]
Weiner is known to be one of the most intense and demanding members of Congress. He often works long hours with his staff fact-checking documents, resulting in one of the highest staff turn-over rates of any member of Congress.[13]

Committees

Domestic policy

Weiner is an avid advocate of the United States National Health Care Act, which expands Medicare to all Americans.[14][15] He has remarked that while Medicare has a 4% overhead rate,[16] private insurers put 30% of their customer's money into profits and overhead instead of into health care.[17]
Weiner believes that a public option “gets you some of the way”[17] towards reducing costs, and set up a web site to push for the public option in HR 3200. Weiner has derided the Republican party as "a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry, teaming up with a small group of Democrats to try to protect that industry".[18] Weiner attracted wide attention when, on February 24, 2010, he proclaimed in front of Congress: "Make no mistake about it, every single Republican I have ever met in my entire life is a wholly owned subsidiary of the insurance industry."[19][20]
Weiner is pro-choice. In 2003, he received a 100% rating from the National Abortion Rights Action League and a 0% rating from National Right to Life Committee (NRLC). He voted against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, which made it a crime for a doctor to perform Intact dilation and extractions.[21] He was strongly critical of the Stupak-Pitts Amendment, which places limits on taxpayer-funded abortions in the context of the November 2009 Affordable Health Care for America Act.
The Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT) of 2009, sponsored by Weiner was signed into law in March 2010.[22] The bill makes it a felony for selling tobacco in violation of any state tax law and effectively ends Internet tobacco smuggling by stopping shipments of cigarettes through the United States Postal Service. Weiner said, “This new law will give states and localities a major revenue boost by cracking down on the illegal sale of tobacco and close a major source of finances for international terrorists and criminals. Every day we delay is another day that New York loses significant amounts of tax revenue and kids have easy access to tobacco products sold over the internet.”
On July 29, 2010, Weiner lambasted Republicans for opposing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. This act would provide for funds for sick first responders to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, many of whom reside in Weiner's district. In an impassioned speech on the floor of the House, he accused Republicans of hiding behind procedural questions instead of voting for the right thing.[23]
In October 2010, Weiner urged YouTube to take down Anwar al-Awlaki's videos from its website, saying that by hosting al-Awlaki's messages, "We are facilitating the recruitment of homegrown terror."[24] In November 2010, YouTube removed from its site some of the hundreds of videos featuring al-Awlaki calls to jihad.[25]

Foreign policy

Weiner voted for the authorization to use force in Iraq in 2002, which he later said he regretted. In a conversation with talk show host Bill O'Reilly on The O'Reilly Factor, Weiner proposed a withdrawal from Iraq.
In May 2006, Weiner stirred controversy in his attempt to bar entry by the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations.[26] He claimed that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not represent the PLO, and implied that this was because the group is listed as a terrorist organization by the US State Department. Weiner further stated that the delegation "should start packing their little Palestinian terrorist bags." Weiner went on to claim that Human Rights Watch, the New York Times, and, in particular, Amnesty International are biased against Israel.[26]
On July 29, 2007, Weiner and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced that they would seek to stop a $20 billion arms deal that the Bush Administration had negotiated with Saudi Arabia. The lawmakers objected to the deal because they do not want to provide "sophisticated weapons to a country that they believe has not done enough to stop terrorism," also noting that 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Weiner made the announcement outside of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Washington, stating that "We need to send a crystal clear message to the Saudi Arabian government that their tacit approval of terrorism can't go unpunished." Weiner and Nadler intend to use a provision of the Arms Export Control Act to review the deal and pass a Joint Resolution of Disapproval.[27]
Weiner, along with several other members of Congress, have criticized the Obama administration proposal to sell over $60 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia. Weiner said:
"Saudi Arabia is not deserving of our aid, and by arming them with advanced American weaponry we are sending the wrong message"
He described Saudi Arabia as having a "history of financing terrorism" and teaching hatred of "Christians and Jews" to their schoolchildren.[28]

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010

Weiner, who voted against the Tax Relief bill, said the Republicans turned out to be "better poker players" than Obama.[29]

Local NYC issues

In June 2008, Weiner sponsored a bill that would increase the number of O-visas available to foreign models. Weiner argued that increasing the number of visas would help boost the fashion industry in New York City.[30]
In June 2010 he remarked that when he became Mayor he would spend his first year tearing out Mayor Michael Bloomberg's bike lanes, a remark he later dismissed as a joke.[31][32]

FEC violations

The Federal Election Commission had two cases (MURs, or Matters Under Review) concerning Weiner. Both cases have the same name, Friends of Weiner. MUR 4995 resulted in a $47,000 fine ("civil penalty") against Weiner because of financial misconduct in one of his reelection campaigns.[33] MUR 5429 involved an illegal $28,000 loan that Weiner's parents made to one of his campaign committees.[34]

Parking tickets

On March 29, 2010, Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported that Weiner had racked up $2,180 in parking tickets in Washington, D.C. between 2007 and 2011 and that all but one had yet to be paid before the release of the story. Some tickets included instances in which he appears to have incurred multiple violations at the same time, such as failing to display current tags while parked in a taxi stand zone. A spokesman for his office stated that all the parking tickets have since, "been paid. He is pleased to have helped decrease the D.C. budget deficit." Weiner has been vocal in criticising United Nations diplomats for failing to pay parking tickets in New York City, claiming foreign nations owed $18,000,000 to the city.[35][36]

2005, 2009, and 2013 Mayoral races

Weiner failed in his attempt to win the Democratic nomination for the New York City mayoral election, 2005 against three other Democrats. Weiner started out last in many polls, but gained ground in the final weeks of the campaign. When the initial returns came in, Fernando Ferrer had 39.95%, just shy of the 40% required to avoid a runoff, and Weiner had 28.82%. In a legally non-binding statement, Weiner then withdrew from the race and endorsed Ferrer, citing the need for party unity. Eventually, the runoff was declared unnecessary as absentee ballots put Ferrer over the 40% mark in the official 2005 primary election returns. Weiner denied rumors that various high-ranking New York Democrats, such as Schumer and then-New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, had urged him to concede.
Before the New York City Council voted to extend term limits for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the city council, Weiner appeared to be a candidate for mayor of New York City in 2009.[37] He later backed away from a potential race against Bloomberg, saying he would make a decision in the spring.[38] He formally announced his decision not to run on May 26, 2009 and endorsed Democratic candidate Bill Thompson.[39]
Weiner is currently considered a leading contender for the 2013 mayoral election, having reportedly raised $3.9 million for a potential campaign by July 2010.[40]

Personal life

Weiner married Huma Abedin, a longtime personal aide of Hillary Clinton, on July 10, 2010. Former president Bill Clinton officiated the wedding. Weiner proposed to Abedin on May 23, 2009.[41]
Weiner is a friend of actor Ben Affleck, whom he met while Affleck was researching the role of a young and ambitious politician on Capitol Hill, for State of Play, in 2008.[42] "We got into a chest-to-chest shouting match over Obama–Clinton within about four minutes. Literally, people were outside the office wondering if they should go in and separate us," Weiner has said about one of their first encounters.[10]
On May 27, 2011, Weiner's Twitter account linked to a lewd photo posted through yfrog, and first published by BigGovernment.com, which is run by conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart. Weiner claims the image was not posted by him, with his spokesman saying that the "accounts were obviously hacked".[43] On June 1, 2011, Weiner stated that he did not know the woman who had received the message, but he could not say "with certitude" that the photo isn't him. He said he had retained a private security firm to look into the matter, but had not referred it to the Capitol police or the FBI because he does not want to "make a federal case" over it.[44]
He has been friends with Jon Stewart since Weiner and some of Stewart's college friends rented a summer house in Dewey Beach, Delaware in the 1980s. Following Weiner's Twitter scandal, Stewart joked that he was conflicted about pursuing obvious jokes about the matter, given their relationship.[45]

 Weiner to resign

Embattled Rep. Anthony Weiner reportedly has told friends he will resign from Congress, amid growing pressure from top Democrats after he admitted to having sexually charged relationships with women on Facebook and Twitter.
The New York Times and CNN are reporting the news, citing unnamed sources. The report also has been confirmed by the Associated Press.

 

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