Congressman Nadler Statement on Congressional COVID-19 Relief Package
Washington, December 21, 2020
Washington, D.C. — Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) issued the following statement:
“Today, I will vote in support of the Congressional coronavirus relief package. While I will vote for the bill to deliver American families the desperately needed relief that Senate Republicans have been holding up for months, I remain deeply concerned by its shortcomings. Senate Republicans’ inaction and complacency have plunged millions of Americans into dire financial straits and their refusal to include funding for struggling state and local governments is inexcusable. I will vote for this package for the meaningful, immediate aid it provides to many in need, but I expect Congress to continue to work to fund the state and local governments hardest hit by this pandemic.
“There is much in this relief package that will help Americans better weather this unprecedented public health and economic crisis. As we enter what will likely be the darkest winter in American history, this relief package invests billions in expanded COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution. It also delivers substantive relief to the millions of American small businesses and workers who have been economically impacted by the pandemic, including $300 billion in funds for small businesses, supplemental weekly unemployment benefits, and a new round of direct stimulus payments. That said, simply providing one time, $600 direct payments is little more than an affront. Working families both need and deserve more and I’ll keep fighting on their behalf.
“I have consistently said that any federal aid package must prioritize the Americans most profoundly impacted by the economic consequences of COVID-19, not monied interests and corporate powers. Whether it be the more than $25 billion in rental assistance included within this relief package or its sizeable investment in SNAP, I’m glad to see that working Americans are put first in many of this package’s most vital provisions.
“This aid package also includes key provisions to facilitate New York’s recovery. I fought hard to ensure that this package provides funding for public transit agencies like the MTA, which have been decimated by COVID-19. New York’s long term recovery is inextricably linked to the survival of the MTA and I’m proud that this relief package includes those urgently needed funds. I am also pleased this package provides immediate and substantial relief for our colleges and schools by providing over $80 billon in emergency assistance. This funding includes support for HVAC repair and replacement to help reduce the rates of COVID-19 transmissions and reopen New York’s classrooms.
“While this package will allow us to meet many of the challenges of the moment, it simply does not do enough. Most crucially, despite Democrats’ best efforts, Senate Republicans refused to provide funds to state and local governments, heavying the already staggering burden on the governments which have borne so much of the cost of responding to COVID-19. This is a time for pragmatism, not politics, so I am deeply disappointed that Senate Republicans are playing at just that. In doing so, they’re straining our state and local governments to the breaking point.
“Whether it be simple callousness or a dangerous lack of understanding of the dire situations facing so many, Senate Republicans have forced millions of Americans to wait months for relief. It should come as no surprise that the predominant emotion felt by millions today is one of desperation. I will cast my vote today with them and their struggles at the front of my mind—they deserve the financial support that this package delivers, despite its many shortcomings. With nearly twelve million Americans—including over one million New Yorkers—set to see their unemployment benefits expire on December 26th, relief simply needs to be provided immediately and directly. But make no mistake: I will continue to fight for state and local government funding, for further public transit support and expanded direct payments, and to amplify the interests and the voices of the voiceless.”
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