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Schumer: 'Help is on the way' to New York

Mon, Mar 8th 2021 10:45 am

Just back from Washington, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer announced Sunday that “Help is on the way” to New York and New Yorkers as he detailed specifics from the American Rescue Plan he just led to passage in the U.S. Senate.

Schumer detailed the plan’s tentative impact to New York as $100 billion. His camp said the deal includes an additional round of direct stimulus checks, extends enhanced unemployment insurance benefits, and will help solve New York state, New York City, Long Island budget woes.

A press release stated, “The assistance marks a not-too-soon moment of relief for countless families, workers, restaurants, more independent venues and small businesses across the state. As part of the deal, more than $23.8 billion flows directly to New York state government(s) on top of increased education funding, transit funding and highways, vaccine distribution, COVID health funding, emergency rental and housing assistance and more included for New York in this bill.”

Schumer said, “Back in November, the American people and New Yorkers sent a crystal clear message to the previous administration: Deliver the robust COVID relief this country needs or get out of the way. The deal we reached with the help of a new president, and a new Democratic Senate marks real relief to the tune of $100 billion for workers, families, health care, small businesses – including our hard-hit industries like restaurants – and New York – the things we need to support in order to weather this crisis and then work to recover.

“This marks the second biggest stimulus bill in the nation’s history – second to the CARES Act – and it comes just in time, because Americans and New York still need real help to get through this.”

The details and the impact on New York appear in the breakdown below. These numbers are tentative, and come from Schumer’s camp:

State & Local Fiscal Relief

•$23.8 billion for New York – Total amount of funding provided to New York through the state and local fiscal relief fund, to keep first responders, frontline health workers, and other providers of vital services safely on the job as states and local governments roll out vaccines and fight to rebuild Main Street economies. Funding can be used for assistance to households; small businesses; nonprofits; aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality; investments in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure; and to provide premium pay to frontline workers. Local governments of every size, including all counties, cities, towns and villages, receive dedicated federal aid awards. A new $10 billion capital projects program also support state broadband deployment efforts. Funds are allocated in New York as follows:

√ $12.569 billion for New York state government

√ $6.141 billion for New York City

√ $3.907 billion for New York’s counties

√ $825 million for New York’s small cities, towns and villages

√ $358 million for a New York state broadband investment program

Additional Aid to New York

√ $2.7 billion: Medicaid FMAP increase ($2.1 billion already delivered from Schumer pushing President Joe Biden to extend through the end of the calendar year, in addition to approximately $600 million from a targeted enhanced FMAP for home and community-based services from this legislation)

√ $7 billion-plus: New York Area Transit ($6.5 billion to MTA). The New York State Department of Transportation will receive $12 million directly to support rural transit systems. The remainder will support county bus services, and upstate transit agencies.

√ $418 million: New York’s hard-hit airports will continue operating safely during the pandemic. Port Authority airports will receive: $218 million for JFK, $107 million for LGA, $4 million for Stewart, and $164 million for EWR. This includes $60 million in relief at the four airports for large and small concessionaire businesses that have been hard-hit by the pandemic and unable to pay minimum guarantees to airports.

√ $1.7 billion: Relief for Amtrak to help maintain operations and other expenditures during the pandemic, especially in New York.

√ $15 billion: The CARES Act airline payroll support program, which will save thousands of New York airline and airline contractor jobs by keeping workers on payroll without furloughs or reducing pay rates and benefits until March 31. New York will receive sizable share of these funds.

Education – K-12 Schools & Institutions of Higher Ed.

√ $9 billion: K-12 schools – These flexible funds will support school districts in reopening safely for in-person instruction and addressing the many needs students are facing due to the pandemic. A portion of the funds are targeted toward addressing learning loss, assisting students experiencing homelessness, providing resources through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and implementing summer enrichment and afterschool programs.

√ $2.6 billion: Colleges and universities – Institutions must distribute half of their allocation to students in the form of financial aid awards to address hardships caused by COVID-19. The remaining portion of the funds can be used on reopening costs, revenue losses, classroom retrofits, PPE and other expenses.

√ $257 million: Private K-12 schools – These funds are administered by the state educational agency to provide public health and related assistance and services to private K-12 schools.

Child Care & Help for NY Families

√ $1.8 billion – Child care – Through the Child Care Stabilization Fund and the Child Care Community Development Block Grants (CCDBG), these funds ensure the child care sector will continue to assist working families, and to support child care providers in meeting their increased operation costs during the pandemic.

√ $59 million – Head Start – This is emergency funding that will continue to provide access of services for children and their families.

√ $7.03 billion: Child Tax Credit payment to New York families.

√ $786 million: Earned Income Tax Credit payment to New York families.

√ More than $1 billion in additional emergency rental assistance and assistance for preventing homelessness.

√ $575 million in mortgage and utility assistance for homeowners.

√ $1.07 billion: Nutrition assistance ($810 million for pandemic EBT benefits, $227 million for SNAP).

Unemployment & Direct Checks to New Yorkers

√ An estimated $21.7 billion for New York in enhanced unemployment insurance benefits. This bill provides billions in additional federal relief for struggling New Yorkers – who are out of work through no fault of their own – by extending the historic unemployment insurance reforms established in the CARES Act, through Sept. 6. Importantly, it continues the critical lifeline of the enhanced unemployment assistance, providing an additional $300 per week on top of all state and federal unemployment benefits. The bill extends the pandemic unemployment assistance program for the self-employed, gig workers, freelancers and others in non-traditional employment, as well as the additional weeks of federal unemployment insurance for workers who exhaust their regular state benefits. Notably, this legislation excludes up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 from taxable income, providing much-needed tax relief for workers making less than $150,000.

Over $22 billion in direct payments for NY – The American Rescue Plan includes an additional round of Economic Impact Payments of $1,400 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $2,800 for couples making up to $150,000 per year. Eligible families will also receive an additional $1,400 payment per child and adult dependent, amounting to $5,600 for an average family of four. Nearly 9 million New York households will receive another round of direct payments, helping them to cover essential expenses such as food, rent or mortgages, and medical bills during this crisis.

COVID Vaccination & Testing Effort Across NY

√ Roughly $4 billion to support more vaccines, testing and health care in New York.

New Relief Available for Small Businesses, Restaurants, Nonprofits, Arts & Culture Venues, Tourism Sector

√ $28.6 billion for restaurants – A new restaurant relief fund, modeled on the widely supported, bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act, which will provide flexible grants through the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a lifeline for New York’s restaurant industry, one of the hardest hit by the economic effects of the COVID pandemic. Food service or drinking establishments, including caterers, brewpubs, taprooms and tasting rooms (that are not part of an affiliated group with more than 20 locations) will be eligible. To provide comprehensive support to local restaurants, grants from the fund could be used alongside first and second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit.

The new restaurants relief fund will be designed to provide flexible grants of up to $10 million per restaurant group, $5 million per individual restaurant, that can be used to cover payroll, mortgages or rent, setup for outdoor seating, PPE, paid leave, food and other supplies, or debt and other expenses. Grants can be spent on eligible expenses from Feb. 15, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021, and the SBA administrator may extend the period through two years from enactment if conditions warrant. $5 billion of the $25 billion total is reserved for restaurants with less than $500,000 in gross receipts in 2019 for the first 60 days of the program. During the initial 21-day period, the administrator will prioritize awarding grants to eligible entities that are owned or controlled by women or veterans or are socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.

√ $1.25 billion and a key fix for save our stages – The bill provides an additional $1.25 billion for hard-hit independent live venues, performing arts organizations, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions. The bill also includes a critical fix that allows venues to access a PPP loan and a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, deducting the PPP loan amount from the grant amount. Including access to both programs will provide a much-needed source of additional capital as these struggling businesses and nonprofits try to stay afloat during the crisis.

√ $15 billion for SBA targeted EIDL grants – This funding will provide hard-hit, underserved small businesses with increased flexible grant relief. These grants will be particularly helpful for very small businesses and sole proprietors, which include over 90% of minority-owned businesses that have been disproportionately devastated by this crisis.

√ Expanded PPP eligibility for nonprofits – This bill makes additional 501(c) nonprofits eligible for PPP. It also makes local offices of larger nonprofits eligible for PPP assistance as long as those locations are not larger than 500 employees for first PPP loans or 300 employees for second PPP loans, expanding access to vital relief for nonprofit organizations that are critical to local services and the economy.

√ Community Navigator Program for underserved businesses – $100 million is included to fund community organizations and community financial institutions with a focus on and experience working in minority, immigrant and rural communities to serve as community navigators to help connect small business owners in these communities to critical resources, including small business loans, business licenses, and federal, state and local business assistance programs. 

√ $10 billion for Small Business Opportunity Fund – This funding available through the Treasury Department is modeled on the State Small Business Credit Initiative and will support state and local capital and technical assistance initiatives for small businesses responding to and recovering from the pandemic, which will be particularly beneficial to minority-owned and other underserved small businesses.

√ $3 billion for economic development grants, including for tourism and travel – $3 billion is included for the Economic Development Administration to provide flexible grants for rebuilding the local economies of communities that have experienced significant job loss from COVID-19. A $750 million set-aside is included for assistance to states and communities that have suffered from job and GDP loss in the tourism, travel, and outdoor recreation sectors.

√ Extended employee retention tax credit – The bill extends through the end of 2021 the refundable payroll tax credit designed to help employers keep more of their valued workers on payroll during this economic crisis. This tax credit is available to struggling New York companies and nonprofits of all sizes, and is equal to 70% of qualified wages up to $10,000 per employee per quarter.

Connecting More Families to Broadband

√ $632 Million – The American Rescue Plan includes $7.172 billion nationally to close the homework gap by providing internet and connected devices to vulnerable students and educators. New York is estimated to receive around $632 million in funding to help students and educators.

Reducing Poverty for New Yorkers

The American Rescue Plan includes a significant expansion of two of the most powerful and effective antipoverty tools the federal government has – the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit – for 2021:

√ Makes the CTC fully refundable and increases the credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per child age 6 to 17 (and $3,600 per child below the age of 6). An estimated 3.56 million children across New York will benefit from this expanded tax credit, and it will lift 680,000 children in the state above or closer to the poverty line.

√ Strengthens the EITC for childless workers, many of whom are in lower-paid but essential jobs on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response, benefitting 910,000 of these workers in New York.

Providing Financial Stability for Workers & Retirees

The American Rescue Plan importantly delivers critical relief for ailing multiemployer pension plans – which have experienced significant additional challenges as a result of this economic crisis – without cutting the hard-earned benefits of retirees. In New York alone, there are more than 1.3 million participants in multiemployer pension plans, and around 624,600 New Yorkers are participants in plans that are expected to receive relief directly through this legislation.

Schumer’s camp said the rough total for New York is $100 billion.

President Biden said, “It’s a good day today. You know, when we took office 45 days ago, I promised the American people that help was on the way. Today, I can say we’ve taken one more giant step forward in delivering on that promise that help is on the way.

“I want to start off by thanking the vice president, but I want to thank all of the senators who worked so hard to reach a compromise to do the right thing for the American people during this crisis and voted to pass the American Rescue Plan. It obviously wasn’t easy, it wasn’t always pretty, but it was so desperately needed – urgently needed.”

Biden said, “For over a year, the American people were told they were on their own. They were seeing — we’ve seen how hard that has been on so many Americans. As of last night, 519,064 lives lost to the virus. That many empty chairs this morning – the breakfast table – gone. More than (400,000) small businesses closed unnecessarily. Millions of people out of work through no fault of their own. I want to emphasize that: Through no fault of their own. Food bank lines stretching for miles. Did any of you ever you’d see that in America, in cities all across this country? Families facing the threat of eviction.

“This nation has suffered too much for much too long. And everything in this package is designed to relieve the suffering and to meet the most urgent needs of the nation and put us in a better position to prevail, starting with beating this virus and vaccinating the country. 

“The resources in this plan will be used to expand and speed up manufacturing and distribution of vaccines so we can get every single American vaccinated sooner than later. I believe by – we’ll have enough by the end of – by the middle of May to vaccinate. It’s going to take longer to take longer to get it in their arm, but that’s how much vaccine we’ll have.

“Because of all the funding, we’ll be able to hire more vaccinators, set up more vaccination sites to get the country in a place to get back to normal. This plan will get checks out the door, starting this month, to the American people who so desperately need the help, many of whom are lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling, wondering, ‘Will I lose my job, if I haven’t already? Will I lose my insurance? Will I lose my home?’

“Over 85% of American households will get direct payments of $1,400 per person. … That means the mortgage can get paid. That means the child can stay in community college. That means maintaining the health insurance you have. It’s going to make a big difference in so many of lives in this country.

“Unemployment benefits will be extended for 11 million Americans who have lost their jobs and who, last night, again were lying in bed, just thinking, ‘My lord, I’m going to lose my unemployment insurance in a week or so.’ It was about to expire.

“ Schools are going to have the resources they need to open safely. States and local governments that have lost tens of thousands of essential workers will have the resources they need available to them, to those laid-off police officers, firefighters, teachers and nurses they can rehire. These are essential personnel.”

Biden said, “Look, the bottom line is this: This plan puts us on the path to beating the virus. This plan gives those families who are struggling the most the help and the breathing room they need to get through this moment. This plan gives small businesses in this country a fighting chance to survive.

“And one more thing: This plan is historic. Taken altogether, this plan is going to make it possible to cut child poverty in half. Let me say that again — it’s significant, historic: It will cut child poverty in half.”

Biden said, “Now this bill returns to the House of Representatives – which has done a great job from the beginning – where I hope it will find quick passage so it can be sent to my desk to be signed into law.

“By passing the American Rescue Plan, we’ll have heeded the voice of the American people, not ignored their voices. By passing this plan, we will have delivered real, tangible results for the American people and their families, and they’ll be able to see and know and feel the change in their own lives. And by passing this plan, we’ll have proved that this government, this democracy, can still work. What has to be done – it’ll improve people’s lives.”

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