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Congressman Nadler Sends Letter Outlining Additional Legislative Responses to COVID-19

Washington, March 18, 2020
Tags: COVID-19
Today, Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) sent a letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggesting several legislative priorities Congress should consider as we work to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

The letter is available here and below:

March 18, 2020

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader McConnell:

During this national health emergency, Congress must act quickly and decisively to protect the health of every American and ensure that we enact measures to keep our economy strong and keep working families afloat. As you consider additional legislation to protect American workers and their families, I am bringing to your attention to several critical issues of concern for my constituents. I ask that any future legislation considered by Congress include provisions to address these concerns:

1) Renters and Mortgage Assistance: It is critically important that any effort to protect homeowners who cannot pay their mortgage also provides protections for renters by stopping evictions and providing rental assistance beyond current subsidy programs. Like many major metropolitan areas, most New York City residents rent, rather than own, their homes and could face eviction if they are out of work and unable to pay their rent.

2) Relief for Contract, Gig, and Tipped Workers: The previous stimulus package did not include coverage for these workers, who have very suddenly found themselves out of work and with no income. It is imperative that any measure we pass going forward provides support for all workers and ensures that everyone who was laid off, had their hours cut, had to take unpaid leave or had contracts cancelled or postponed, regardless of what type of work they do, has financial support. 

3) Current Students and Student Borrowers: Current students whose schools were closed should not be forced to bear the emergency housing costs for those that were unable to relocate to a permanent home, and students should be reimbursed for educational services and benefits they did not receive. Individuals with student loan debt should be given assistance and loan forgiveness, including cancelling of loans, elimination of interest, and protections for their credit scores and reports.

4) Mass Transit Support: Any relief package should include financial support for mass transit agencies. New York City’s MTA, like many others, spent millions of dollars to clean and sanitize their systems and have since seen sharply declining ridership and revenue. Without proper financial support, they will face financial ruin and collapse.  

5) Small Business Protections: As millions of small businesses in New York shut their doors for an indeterminate amount of time, we must ensure that small business owners and the self-employed have access to critical relief to support their families and have the resources they need to reopen as quickly as possible in the future.

6) Non-Profit Organizations: Many non-profits that receive government funding are required to meet performance metrics to stay eligible for grants in the future. These performance metrics should be suspended. Non-profits that face significant losses in revenue attributable to the pandemic, such as shuttered theaters and cultural centers, should be eligible for direct financial assistance. In addition, because so many of these charitable organizations rely on donations for their funding, any tax package should include incentives to expand donations as the economy recovers.

7) Travelers Stranded Abroad: Following the chaotic announcement of the EU travel ban, airports were flooded with travelers trying to get home. Although the policy has since been clarified to allow citizens to travel, commercial flight cancellations have resulted in many Americans being stranded abroad without any way home. We must provide assistance to repatriate Americans in countries facing health emergencies that otherwise have no method to return.

Finally, while I understand many companies will require financial support from the federal government, we cannot simply sign a blank check to corporations. Any bailout for corporations must include protections to stop stock buybacks and executive bonuses, improve protections for workers, and stabilize payrolls.

Thank you for your leadership in these difficult times, and I look forward to working with you to enact these critical protections for my constituents and all Americans.

Sincerely,

Jerrold Nadler
Member of Congress

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