Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, wears a protective mask while speaking during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. Congressional leaders reached a deal on a roughly $900 billion spending package to bolster the U.S. economy amid the continued coronavirus pandemic giving lawmakers a short timetable to review and pass the second largest economic-rescue measure in the nation’s history. Photographer: Ting Shen/Bloomberg
WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said New York will receive more than $50 billion in various forms of relief from a massive COVID-19 package that Congress expects to pass Monday.
“It delivers aid that is urgently needed by the unemployed, by renters at risk of losing their homes, by small business owners throughout New York that are worried about going out of business, by people seeking vaccination, by schools that spent money to keep kids safe, by families struggling to make ends meet and so much more,” said Schumer, who negotiated the bill.
After months of stalled negotiations, Congress reached a deal for a new coronavirus rescue package Sunday, amid a surging pandemic and threat of a federal government shut down.
For struggling Americans, it will boost unemployment benefits with an extra $300 federal payment, delivering over $6.5 billion in new unemployment money to New York. The bill will also send $600 direct checks to individuals making up to $75,000 a year and an additional $600 per dependent child. The legislation sets up a federally funded rental assistance program including about $1.3 billion in aid for New Yorkers and allows individuals to get money for COVID-19 funeral assistance.
Hard-hit small businesses will be able to apply for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, farmers will be eligible for more separate aid and performing arts venues will have their own pot of relief money.
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, said she spoke to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about the plight of businesses in North Country New York Sunday. She called the relief package “months overdue.”
Also in the legislation, New York schools and universities will receive $5.8 billion in new relief funds and New York child care providers will be eligible for $465 million in grants, Schumer’s office said.
The state should also expect to get another $810 million for vaccine distribution and fighting the virus, with an additional $810 million for New York City’s health department. The legislation contains language to protect individuals from surprise medical bills from out-of-network providers. The bill will not increase federal reimbursement for Capital Region hospitals, a special provision Schumer and U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko sought but Republicans opposed.
As state and local governments face tax revenue declines, the final deal does not include direct aid to them, but will allocate more money to reimburse them for coronavirus-related expenses. New York is estimated to receive $1 billion in Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements in the next fiscal year, as a result, Schumer said.
Democrats pushed for direct aid to states and local governments be included but agreed to drop the measure amid Republican opposition to get the bill over the finish line. Likewise, Republicans ditched the liability protections for businesses they sought.
“It defies logic that Congress would pass a COVID relief package that did not include funding for local municipalities and, by extension, the first responders and other public servants who, for the last nine months, have put themselves at risk to keep our communities safe,” said City of Binghamton Mayor Richard C. David, a Republican. “While we acknowledge that the current package will provide some assistance to millions of families and businesses, it simply did not go far enough and was a missed opportunity to stave off harmful local government cuts that will exacerbate the stalled economic revival we are facing as a nation.”
The bill also includes $6.5 million for airports in the Capital Region and millions more for the New York Department of Transportation and Amtrak.
The House is expected to vote on the coronavirus package on Monday night, with the Senate to follow. The bill will be paired with omnibus legislation to fund the federal government for another year. Congress has recently passed multiple temporary measures to avoid a government shut down while negotiations continued.
The coronavirus package is roughly half the size of the last major pandemic relief package Congress passed in April.
“This is an emergency survival bill, and we will fight for more relief under President [Joe] Biden, because this crisis is not over,” Schumer said.
Emilie Munson is a regional correspondent for Hearst newspapers based in Washington, D.C. She covers the Connecticut and New York Congressional delegations for Hearst Connecticut Media and the Albany-Times Union. Previously, Emilie was state capitol reporter for Hearst Connecticut Media, covering politics and government. She is the recipient of a 2017 Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award in Feature Reporting for her five-part series “Behind the Front Door.” The series explored the intersection of domestic violence and wealth in Greenwich, Connecticut. She also worked as an education reporter for Greenwich Time.
News – Schumer: New York will get over $50 billion from COVID-19 rescue bill