Lowey, Schumer Announce Historic Proposal for $67 billion in Critical New York State, County, and Local Government COVID Relief Funds

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From the office of House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey:

House Spending Package Would Provide Estimated $34.4 billion in New Relief Funds for New York State, $17.2 billion for New York City, and $15.1 billion for other Municipalities and Counties in New York

Lowey and Schumer: “Senator McConnell has made the ridiculous comment that states should just declare bankruptcy. Democrats have real solutions to this crisis.”

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland) and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) today announced a proposal to provide direct relief to state, county, and local governments to help them recover from lost revenue and unexpected costs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The measure is part of major coronavirus relief legislation, H.R. 6800, the Heroes Act, which Chairwoman Lowey introduced today to support the continued coronavirus response and recovery. If enacted, the Democrats’ spending package would provide an estimated $34.4 billion in relief funds for New York State, $17.2 billion for New York City, and $15.1 billion for other municipalities and counties in New York.

Local governments in Chairwoman Lowey’s District, NY-17, which covers all of Rockland and part of Westchester Counties, would receive $1.3 billion in relief funds.   

“As the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York has acted aggressively and responsibly to protect the entire nation at a very high cost to our state and our communities. Expenses to protect families have skyrocketed while revenues have dried up due to job loss and stay home orders. This vital aid is absolutely necessary to protect essential health, public safety, education, and other jobs and services in state and local governments and to mitigate an unimaginable economic impact from this pandemic,” said Chairwoman Nita Lowey.

“Our state, county and local governments have ratcheted up their spending to confront the covid challenge, even while the virus has ripped a hole in their budgets due to collapsing revenue. Providing urgent relief to state, county and local governments is not an abstract concept – it is keeping cops, firefighters, bus drivers and more on the job; it is preserving vital services during a pandemic; and it is staving off tax hikes at the worst possible time for the economy. I am proud to work with Representative Lowey and the New York delegation to create this package and this funding formula. Now we need support from all corners to pressure and persuade Mr. McConnell, President Trump and the Senate Republicans to join our push to preserve jobs and services in our state, county and local governments,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.

In addition to $67 billion in new funding for governments in New York State, the relief package would allow the use of new and prior Coronavirus Relief funds to replace lost revenue, a high priority for New York. Combined with $5.2 billion in relief funds for New York in the CARES Act, this bill would provide the state nearly $40 billion to help cover lost revenues and expenses due to coronavirus.

The representatives further noted that, according to the most recent jobs report, the nation has already shed 1 million public sector jobs. The representatives noted that the failure to respond now to the crisis faced by state, county and local governments will certainly worsen the job loss and hurtle us toward a full-blown depression. Failure to take the corrective action now, when we have the resources to and time to do so, would be catastrophically damaging and profoundly irresponsible, said the representatives. 

“Senator McConnell has made the ridiculous comment that states should just declare bankruptcy. This program shows that instead of irresponsible rhetoric, Democrats have real solutions to this crisis,” said the New York lawmakers. “This is critical funding to States, counties and cities, villages, and towns of every size throughout America to preserve jobs and essential services for their citizens this year and years to come. Local governments have already cut more than 800,000 jobs nationwide, and these massive cuts will continue and deepen until Congress steps up. This fund is essential to keeping local economies afloat as the nation grapples with the pandemic and its economic fallout for years to come.”

The legislation follows the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act enacted on April 24; The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted on March 27; the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, enacted on March 18; and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act enacted on March 6.

The text of the bill, H.R. 6800– The Heroes Act, is here. A one pager on the legislation is here. A section-by-section summary is here. A resource on the state and local relief provisions is here.

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