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Republican Who Voted to Impeach Trump Won’t Seek Re-election

WASHINGTON — Representative John Katko of New York, a centrist Republican who broke with his party last year to vote to impeach former President Donald J. Trump, announced on Friday that he would not run for re-election.

Mr. Katko was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Mr. Trump and is the third member of that group to announce his retirement.

In a statement that fell almost exactly one year after that vote, Mr. Katko said he decided to call it quits in order to “enjoy my family and life in a fuller and more present way.” He added that the loss of both his own parents and his wife’s parents in the last three years “provided life-changing perspective for me.”

“My conscience, principles, and commitment to do what’s right have guided every decision I’ve made as a member of Congress, and they guide my decision today,” he said.

Mr. Katko, a former federal prosecutor, had grown increasingly marginalized by conservatives at home and among House Republicans on Capitol Hill, who have demanded total loyalty to Mr. Trump, played down the severity of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and eschewed working with President Biden. Those who veer off that course have found themselves attracting primary challengers, being pushed to the party’s sidelines, or both.

Mr. Katko’s sins in the eyes of his own party included supporting the creation of an independent commission to investigate the Capitol riot and backing a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan championed by Mr. Biden. He had already drawn three primary challengers and, if he survived that, was facing the likelihood of a brutal general election campaign.

New York Democrats, who tried and failed for years to oust him from the Syracuse-based seat, are currently eying new congressional lines that could make the district virtually unwinnable for Republicans, even in a year that officials in both parties believe favors the G.O.P.

Democrats and Mr. Trump found rare common ground to cheer Mr. Katko’s decision.

“Great news, another one bites the dust,” Mr. Trump, who had offered to help those vying to unseat Mr. Katko in a primary, said in a statement.

Abel Iraola, a spokesman for House Democrats’ campaign arm, said the retirement highlighted how the Republican Party’s rightward drift has made it “toxic for so-called G.O.P. moderates.”

Mr. Katko had been among a shrinking group of lawmakers who appealed to voters outside of his own party. When Mr. Biden won his central New York district in 2020 by 9 points in 2020, Mr. Katko prevailed by 10.

But the same centrist credentials that allowed Mr. Katko to hang onto his seat made him a target in conservative circles. After Republican leaders tasked him to work with Democrats on a proposal to create an independent Jan. 6 commission, they then abandoned the effort in favor of shielding Mr. Trump and the party from further scrutiny, urging lawmakers to oppose the plan Mr. Katko had negotiated.

When Democrats formed their own select committee to investigate the riot anyway, Mr. Katko infuriated hard-right members by voting in October to hold Stephen K. Bannon in criminal contempt of Congress for stonewalling their inquiry.

And Mr. Katko was one of 13 House Republicans who voted in November for the infrastructure bill, leading some in his party to brand him and the other G.O.P. supporters of the legislation “traitors,” and to call for Mr. Katko to be stripped of his leadership role on the Homeland Security Committee. He had been in line to become the panel’s chairman if Republicans won control of the House.

The anger from his right flank followed Mr. Katko home. The Conservative Party, a minor party in New York that backs Republicans in most races, had denounced him last April and formally withdrew its support from his re-election bid after he voted for a Democratic bill extending protections for gay and transgender rights.

Bernard Ment, the party chairman in Onondaga County, home to Syracuse, said that position was the last straw. In an interview, he called Mr. Katko a “Democrat,” though he retained support from his local Republican Party organization.

“He’s been the one guy who’s tried to work on both sides of the aisle,” Mr. Ment said. “The problem is he’s managed to alienate a lot of conservative voters and tick off a lot of Republicans, and I don’t think he can make up the ground with Democratic voters.”

Democrats who control New York state government in Albany are widely expected to try to pad the district with new Democratic voters as they redraw the state’s congressional districts in the coming weeks, giving their party a stark advantage in November. Three Democrats — two of them veterans — have already entered the race.

With Mr. Katko and his crossover appeal out of the way, Democrats are likely to be less fearful of a Republican winning his district, giving them more wiggle room to further expand their majority as they redraw the map. New lines could yield as many as four new seats for Democrats in the House and deny Republicans five they currently hold. (New York is slated to lose one congressional seat this year after nationwide reapportionment.)

Mr. Katko, for his part, has maintained that he was focusing on supporting his party’s policy priorities, lashing against Mr. Biden’s immigration policies in particular, and working to bring home results for his district. In a statement last year, he made clear how dangerous he believed the former president’s conduct was in the run up to Jan. 6.

“To allow the president of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy,” Mr. Katko said. “For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action.”

Nicholas Fandos reported from New York.

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Regionales

‘Devastated’: Crowds Throng Funeral Service for 15 Bronx Fire Victims

A line of black hearses began pulling up outside the doors of the Islamic Cultural Center in the Bronx just after 10 a.m. on Sunday. They maneuvered past throngs of distraught mourners who had flocked to the mosque to say a final goodbye to friends, children, parents and cousins killed in a fire that took the lives of 17 members of a close-knit Gambian community.

Indoors, women consoled each other in a second-floor prayer space as the men gathered downstairs. Outside, two tents were filled with families watching the funeral service on a livestream.

Aminata Sillah, 42, had arrived early. She laid a blue prayer rug on the ground in the frigid morning air, tugging anxiously at her boots.

Ms. Sillah’s aunt, Fatoumata Drammeh, was among those who died on Jan. 9 as acrid smoke filled the apartment building on East 181st Street, suffocating people as they tried to flee the 19-story complex. Ms. Drammeh’s three children also died and were among the 15 people being honored during Sunday’s communal funeral service.

“I’m devastated,” Ms. Sillah said. “It’s been a restless week.”

An imam urged people to clear a path as the coffins, draped in black velvet cloth and held aloft by more than two dozen men, were carried inside the mosque.

“It’s just painful,” Haji Dukuray, 60, said before falling silent as a tiny, child-size coffin was placed near where he sat in the front row on a green prayer rug.

“All this innocence, these young kids,” Mr. Dukuray said. “They have no business being here.”

Yahya Sankara, 33, who lost his sister and two nephews, sighed loudly as his eyes began to tear up.

“My heart is done,” Mr. Sankara said. “I have nothing to say.”

New York’s new mayor, Eric Adams; the state’s attorney general, Letitia James; and Senator Chuck Schumer were among the elected leaders who attended the packed funeral service.

The fire, ignited by a space heater, was the city’s deadliest blaze in decades.

The blaze began just before 11 a.m. on a similarly chilly Sunday morning a week ago. Eight children were among the dead.

As the service started, the imam, Sankung Jeitteh, said he was struggling to control his emotions as he listed the names of families — Dukuray, Drammeh, Jambang, Konteh, Tunkara, Toure — decimated by the blaze.

“When the Lord asks for something, we have no choice but to agree,” he said, adding, “I’m trying to control myself.”

Family members started to quietly sob.

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Regionales

New York Governor Offers Hopeful Sign as Daily Cases Fall by 47%

Credit…Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, warned on Sunday that the Omicron surge of coronavirus cases had not yet peaked nationally, saying that the next few weeks would be very difficult in many parts of the country as hospitalizations and deaths rise.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Dr. Murthy noted the “good news” of the plateaus and drops in known cases in the Northeast, especially in New York City and New Jersey.

But “the challenge is that the entire country is not moving at the same pace,” he said, adding “we shouldn’t expect a national peak in the coming days.”

“The next few weeks will be tough,” he said.

The highly contagious Omicron variant has fueled an explosive surge of known cases, with an average of more than 800,000 new cases a day reported on Saturday, according to a New York Times database.

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, also expressed concerns that the next several weeks would overwhelm hospitals and staff. “Right now we’re at about 150,000 people in the hospital with Covid,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “That’s more than we’ve ever had. I expect those numbers to get substantially higher.”

In addition, Omicron has brought into sharp relief the longstanding lack of adequate testing supplies, with consumers now depleting pharmacies of costly rapid tests — a boxed set of two tests ranges from $14 to $24 — and creating long lines at testing sites.

The federal government has promised to distribute one billion rapid at-home coronavirus tests to Americans, limiting each household to request four free tests. And new federal rules require private insurers to cover up to eight at-home tests per member a month.

But with the test orders and reimbursement processes hampered by delays, Americans will likely not have tests in hand for weeks, which may be too late in some places where demand is high as infections spread.

“We’ve ordered too few testing kits, so our testing capacity has continued to lag behind each wave,” Tom Bossert, the homeland security adviser to President Trump, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It’s too little and too late, but noteworthy for the next wave.”

While many people infected with Omicron have had no or mild symptoms, others — especially those who were not vaccinated and those with chronic conditions — suffered more serious illnesses that were already overwhelming hospitals in some states late last year.

Dr. Murthy disagreed with the Supreme Court’s decision last week that rejected President Biden’s vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers that would have applied to more than 80 million workers.

“Well, the news about the workplace requirement being blocked was very disappointing,” Dr. Murthy said. “It was a setback for public health. Because what these requirements ultimately are helpful for is not just protecting the community at large; but making our workplaces safer for workers as well as for customers.”

Nearly 63 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, but only 38 percent of those have received a booster shot, which some have argued should be the new definition of full vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not changed the definition of full vaccination, but said recently it considers three doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s vaccines to be “up-to-date,” as well as Johnson & Johnson’s shots with a second dose, preferably of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.

Last week, the C.D.C. finally acknowledged that cloth masks do not offer as much protection as a surgical mask or respirator, which some experts have urged the agency to recommend for the general public.

“Please, please get vaccinated,” Dr. Murthy said on ABC, issuing a reminder that the shots still provide good protection against severe illness. “It’s still not too late.”

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Regionales

Homes That Sold for $520,000 or Less

Each week, our survey of recent residential sales in New York City and the surrounding region focuses on homes that sold around a certain price point, allowing you to compare single-family homes, condos and co-ops in different locales.

The “list price” is the asking price when the property came on the market with the most recent broker. The time on the market is measured from the most recent listing to the closing date of the sale.

BROOKLYN | 1 BEDROOM, 1 BATH

This 700-square-foot postwar co-op has hardwood floors, a southern exposure and an open kitchen with a breakfast bar in a non-doorman elevator building with a live-in superintendent.

20 weeks on the market

$375,000 list price

1% below list price

Costs $643 a month in maintenance

Listing broker Keller Williams


Connecticut | 2 bedrooms, 3 baths

This 45-year-old, 2,026-square-foot, semidetached condo has an open floor plan, a kitchen with granite counters and island seating and two decks in a complex for those aged 55 and over.

12 weeks on the market

$439,900 list price

Less than 1% above list price

Costs $9,543 a year in taxes; $463 a month in common charges

A 577-square-foot prewar condo with hardwood floors, an eat-in kitchen with granite counters, a bedroom with French doors and a windowed walk-in closet in a non-doorman walk-up building.

31 weeks on the market

$435,000 list price

6% below list price

Costs $5,168 a year in taxes; $405 a month in common charges

Listing broker Triplemint


Long Island | 2 bedrooms, 2½ baths

This 36-year-old, 1,305-square-foot, townhouse-style condo has a living room with a stone fireplace, two walk-in closets and two decks in a complex with a pool and tennis courts.

17 weeks on the market

$499,000 list price

4% above list price

Costs $13,209 a year in taxes; $350 a month in common charges

Listing broker Douglas Elliman


Westchester | 1 bedroom, 1 bath

A 32-year-old, 774-square-foot condo, with hardwood floors, a pass-through kitchen that has granite counters, and a washer and dryer in a high-rise doorman building with a gym, indoor pool and pond.

21 weeks on the market

$389,000 list price

6% below list price

Costs $4,911 a year in taxes; $569 a month in common charges

Listing broker Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty


A 350-square-foot prewar co-op, with a bath, hardwood floors, two closets and a kitchen with stainless-steel appliances (but no dishwasher), in an elevator building with a doorman and gym.

14 weeks on the market

$325,000 list price

17% below list price

Costs $840 a month in maintenance

Listing broker Keller Williams

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