What Joe Biden might announce with Andrew Cuomo

Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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ALBANY—On the eve of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's election-year State of the State presentation, Vice President Joe Biden will join him in the capital city for an unspecified announcement, the White House announced on Sunday.

State and federal officials did not immediately provide details on the trip or the substance of the announcement.

UPDATE: A federal official briefed on the trip said the announcement would deal with infrastructure and housing investments in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. The New York Daily News reported on Sunday that Cuomo is seeking to direct $100 million of federal recovery funds to build 3,000 units of affordable housing, and it is thought Biden's remarks will offer specifics and confirmation.

The event will be held late in the morning, the federal official said, possibly at the State Capitol itself. Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi declined to comment.

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Earlier, people indicated several other possibilities for the trip:

(1) Affordable Care Act -- Despite the technical mishaps that dogged the implementation of the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act, New York's electronic insurance exchange signed up over 240,000 people — almost three-quarters of whom picked private plans. (The other quarter enrolled in the state-federal Medicaid program.) That's about 10 percent of the total number of Americans who have signed up for insurance through state or federal exchanges, and it's certainly something the administration would love to tout.

(2) Medicaid waiver -- New York is also hoping for federal approval of a $10 billion waiver that would let it reinvest savings it has squeezed from its Medicaid spending into other health programs. The request was updated by state health officials in December in response to federal questions. Cuomo reportedly personally lobbied Kathleen Sibelius, the secretary for Health and Human Services, about the funding request.

(3) Advanced manufacturing -- The president himself has visited New York's Capital Region three times since taking office, and each time has touted elements of its transition to advanced manufacturing, most recently at SUNY's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. Cuomo, too, has embraced the NanoCollege's work, and has happily watched as it split from the University at Albany and began to metastasize to other Upstate sites.

Officials in New York and Massachusetts recently applied for a federal grant through the Department of Energy that would establish a different public-private partnership to develop manufacturing techniques using next-generation materials for electronics. An award announcement in that competitive grant was to have come in December. The first such partnership was established in Ohio.