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Schumer: NYS to get at least $40B from virus relief package

In this image from video, Senate Minority Leader

In this image from video, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks on the Senate floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, March 21, 2020. Credit: AP

WASHINGTON — New York will get at least $40 billion in targeted funds and billions of dollars more in the $2 trillion emergency coronavirus relief package negotiated by the Senate and White House, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday.

The unprecedented legislation, once passed and signed into law, promises a quick injection of money into the economy in the next few weeks, including cash payments to millions of New Yorkers and hundreds of billions of dollars for unemployed workers, hospitals, big and small businesses, and state and local government and agencies.

“This is just the type of medicine — across the board medicine, comprehensive medicine — that New York needs to fight the health crisis and the economic crisis that corona has put upon our state,” Schumer said in a call with reporters.

“It’s just a first down payment,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). “It’s really important that people realize we are in triage now. We are trying to meet the most urgent needs first.”

New York’s share will be “much more than $40 billion. It will go way up,” Schumer said. That figure doesn’t include funds that require applications, such as emergency hospital funds, small business loans, big business bailouts and unemployment compensation.

Long Island will benefit from the package through the various streams of funding and short-term forgivable loans, according to Schumer and Gillibrand’s description of the complicated legislation, whose text had not been released by Wednesday afternoon.

The package will help Long Island most through its “aid to hospitals, aid to state and local governments, and the combined unemployment insurance and grants to small business,” said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford).

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King’s assessment was seconded by Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) as they discussed the relief bill on a tele-townhall held by the Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell University.

“I think putting the hospitals first and probably the most important one because they're the ones who need the money right now,” Suozzi said.

Schumer estimated New York hospitals would get tens of billions of dollars as they seek money from the $150 billion fund for medical facilities fighting COVID-19 for protective equipment, testing supplies, staffing and new construction to expand services to handle cases.

Zeldin hailed the bill’s $150 billion to help state and local governments cope.

Nassau County government will get a $235 million jolt of cash and Suffolk County government $257 million, Schumer said. New York state will get $5.1 billion and New York City $1.4 billion, he added.

“Our state local governments are also overextended and quite frankly our state and local governments weren't in a good financial position going into this,” he said. “So for them to continue to be the leaders, knowing that they’re getting that relief is critically important.”

Suozzi, though, noted that the money is for larger cities. “I'm concerned about small cities, small villages, actually getting some money from this,” he said. “I don't think they're necessarily going to be protected here, and we're going to have to look at the next round.”

Additionally, Schumer said, a $25 billion transit fund in the package will deliver $4.35 billion to New York, with $3.8 billion of that amount specifically for the MTA.

Another item not included in Schumer’s $40 billion estimate for New York will come from a $260 billion expansion of unemployment insurance, which gives short-term compensation to wider group of workers, including Uber drivers and freelancers.

That national plan also includes cash payments of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples under a $75,000 income threshold, he said.

Finally, New York can expect to see billions of dollars from a $375 billion national small business rescue plan in forgivable loans and grants to companies and nonprofit organizations.

“New York, with its 2.2 million small businesses and tens of thousands of nonprofits, can expect to see billions of dollars once companies and organizations begin applying for those funds,” Schumer said.

The 19,000 businesses with existing loans will get a six-month reprieve in paying principal, interest and fees.

New York also will get emergency appropriations for hard-hit airports, expanded SNAP benefits, increased community development block grants, heating bills and to help states pay for deploying the National Guard.

Though Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s complained the package gives too little money to New York State, Schumer and Gillibrand said it was the best deal Democrats could reach with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the White House.

“Obviously, we have great needs. Obviously, we could always use more,” Schumer said. But he said called the state’s $5.1 billion “immediate money. That's not for the whole year. So it really will help New York in its needs right away.”

Rice underscored the need for her and her colleagues in the Long Island delegation to make sure people in their districts get access to the aid they need.

“Like all my colleagues, my phones really have been ringing off the hook. We've gotten thousands and thousands of phone calls,” Rice said. “Our job now is to make sure that we help facilitate this money getting into our constituents’ hands and getting it to our small businesses to stop the bleeding.”


 

New York will get at least $40 billion in specific funding and tens of billions more in individual cash payments, hospital emergency funding, small business forgivable loans and expanded unemployment compensation from the $2 trillion emergency coronavirus relief bill, according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a key negotiator of the deal.

Here is a rough breakdown of the aid Schumer said would go to New York.

Unemployment Insurance

$16 billion for New York from a $260 billion expansion of unemployment insurance.

$15 billion in direct cash payments of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples making less than $75,000 and a graduated smaller amount for those making up to $99,000.

Hospital and other medical facilities

Tens of billions of dollars for New York from a $150 billion fund for protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, staffing and new construction to expand services. Exact amount will depend on the needs and application for funds.

State and local governments

Nassau County will get $235 million and Suffolk County $270 million from a $150 billion expenditure relief fund to help state and local governments hit hardest by the pandemic. New York State will get $5.1 billion and New York City $1.4 billion.

Transit systems and airports

$4.35 billion — including $3.8 billion specifically for the MTA — from a $25 billion allocation for transit systems to cover the losses from steep declines in ridership. New York’s airports could get about $700 million from a $10 billion fund for grants to airports.

Small businesses

Tens of billions of dollars to New York from more than $350 billion allocated for loans to small businesses that are forgivable if they keep their employees on their payrolls, a program open to New York’s 2.2 million small businesses as well as tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations. The bill also will pause payments of principal, interest and fees for six months for the New York small businesses with 19,000 existing Small Business Administration loans.

Other emergency appropriations

New York will get additional funds from a fund for emergency appropriations including

Increased community development block grants, expanded SNAP benefits, child care expenses, nutrition for seniors, home heating and funds deploying the National Guard during the pandemic.

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