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New York, N.Y. —Standing with New York City House members Hakeem Jeffries, Adriano Espaillat, Gregory Meeks, Jerry Nadler, and Nydia Velázquez, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced he and others from the New York congressional delegation will not support any COVID relief bill that simply acts as a ‘box-check’ for Leader McConnell and President Trump’s handling of the pandemic and fails to include critical funds for state and local aid along with mass transit, two now-suffering priorities important to the larger economy.

Schumer said the GOP-proposed relief bill does not include assistance for these priorities and that it won’t pass the House or Senate. Schumer warned that the GOP bill is “emaciated,” lacking critical priories needed to truly beat back the pandemic, especially when it comes to New York’s plight.

“While the folks beside me today worked darn hard to pass the Heroes Act—more than three months ago—the Senate, under Leader McConnell and the White House under President Trump, has used that time to sit on their hands—doing absolutely nothing for the benefit of the American people in the ongoing battle against the coronavirus,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Now, to add insult to injury, when forced to act because the American people are demanding they do, Leader McConnell and President Trump hand in an assignment that is incomplete, emaciated and unacceptable—it’s an “F.” And we are here today to make it very clear: this will not stand.”

Amongst the many problems with the latest GOP COVID-19 proposal, Schumer and colleagues point out that it’s not only a loser for New York, but it goes the extra mile to hurt New York. The proposal aims to exclude funds for state and local aid, as well as mass transit funds, both which are critical to the New York economy and the American economy at-large, and two categories where New York has been hard hit by the coronavirus.

“We will not accept any more empty promises from Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans when it comes to meeting the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). “The House already passed a stimulus that covers the critical state and local programs relied on by millions of New Yorkers, including unemployment support and funds for MTA. Anything less is completely unacceptable and we will not let McConnell and the Republicans pay lip service when people are in dire need of federal aid.”

“We will not support a half-baked, disingenuous bill that does not adequately fund state and local assistance or mass transit—and it won’t pass the House or Senate, either. New York needs a bill that meets this moment and the current need,” Schumer added.                                                                    

Schumer has said he was hopeful that with the highest unemployment since the Great Depression and the worst public health crisis since 1918, there could be progress made in our negotiations with the White House during the month of August. But, he said, President Trump, led by Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, have embraced a hardline view that the federal government should be doing less, not more, during this time of national crisis. Based on their self-described lack of urgency, the continued division of their caucus, and this most recent inadequate proposal, Schumer says it is clear Republicans are trying to “check the box” and give the appearance of action rather than actually meet the truly profound needs of the American people.

Schumer argues that as the pandemic continues to spread and our economy continues to falter, the American people need the help of Congress and deserve a bipartisan and bicameral bill that meets the needs of the nation and New York.

In July, Republicans allowed a slew of protections that Senators Schumer, Gillibrand and the New York House delegation fought for expire, including enhanced unemployment benefits, renter protections and other measures aimed at ameliorating the punches of the pandemic. According to the New York State Department of Labor, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits, including more than 1.8 million New Yorkers. Schumer says figures like this prove how critical the issue of state and local aid, mass transit funds and others are to keeping families and our economy afloat.  

“New Yorkers continue to suffer as Senator Mitch McConnell drags his heels on COVID-19 relief negotiations,” said Senator Gillibrand. “To secure our region’s economic recovery, the federal government must provide much needed state and local funding for essential public services. We must also secure billions of dollars for the MTA to safely and efficiently get New Yorkers where they need to go. I will continue fighting alongside Senator Schumer and my colleagues to make sure this next relief package doesn’t cut any corners or leave any dollars off the table as we lay the foundation for our recovery.”

“The coronavirus continues to accelerate and inflict staggering pain on New Yorkers and families around the nation,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “As elected leaders, it is our responsibility to meet the magnitude of this moment and work together to address the ongoing crisis facing hard-working Americans. Republicans have already wasted over 100 days, we cannot afford to wait any more.”

“House Democrats passed the Heroes Act 115 days ago. Since then, Senate Republicans have sat on their hands while Americans continue to lose their jobs, face eviction, get sick and tragically die. The American people need comprehensive relief now, and the skinny bill that Mitch McConnell will propose this week after being on vacation is a joke. Senate Republicans need to do their job and pass the Heroes Act,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08).

"The stimulus checks, boosted unemployment insurance, Paycheck Protection Program, and public health funding provided under the CARES Act have been an essential lifeline to New Yorkers and Americans across the country," stated Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (NY-5). "Instead of continuing to provide relief, the Republican Senate has dithered, delayed, and ultimately failed to do its job. We need aid to state and local governments now." 

“While New Yorkers and our entire nation continue suffering, Senator McConnell and Senate Republicans are playing political games, putting forth a wholly inadequate measure that is more about political cover for Senate Republicans than meaningful help the American people. The American people can tell the difference between real relief and political posturing. Senate Republicans need to abandon this half-hearted and inadequate legislation and begin negotiating in good faith with House Democrats who passed robust assistance in the Heroes Act more than 100 days ago,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY).

“The COVID pandemic has left millions of Americans unemployed, homeless, and hungry. The Heroes Act, which passed the House in May, provides critical funding for food assistance, state and local governments, housing, and other pressing needs,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “Unfortunately, President Trump and the Republicans seem willfully blind to the fact that millions of people are struggling. Our country needs a maximum helping of federal assistance, not Republicans’ irresponsible skinny proposal.”

When it comes to state and local governments, the pandemic has caused expenses to soar and revenues to plummet. New York City has said more than 20,000 government jobs were at risk and Long Island counties that include Nassau and Suffolk also have serious concerns. Suffolk, alone, has a coronavirus-induced budget hole in the tens-of-millions, according to their County Executive.

“The bottom-line here is that a relief bill woefully deficient of New York’s needs will be fought tooth and nail,” Schumer concluded.

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