Schumer: President’s executive orders leave out money for state & local Governments, money to reopen schools safely & exclude COVID-19 testing, tracing & treatment

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From the office of Senator Charles Schumer:

Senator asks Trump & GOP to meet Democrats in the middle & come up with an agreement that will help Americans and NY-ERS

President’s Golf Club Executive Orders Do Next To Nothing For Upstate New York & Beyond— And Actually Make Things Worse With Schools & Local Budgets On The Line

Schumer: These Executive Orders Will Do Next To Nothing For Us; GOP Must Regroup

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, today, highlighted some of the glaring deficiencies in President Trump’s just-announced ‘Executive Orders’ that are cause for serious concern amidst the public health and economic crisis dealt by the coronavirus. Schumer said President Trump’s actions yesterday totally leave out money for state and local governments throughout Upstate New York.

Schumer also said the orders totally exclude money for schools to reopen safely, a New York priority. Finally, Schumer warned the orders leave out testing, tracing and treatment of the coronavirus itself. Schumer explained these are just a few of the many gaping holes in the actions taken yesterday as he made the case for the president and the GOP to meet democrats in the middle—like was done with the prior emergency bills—and come up with an agreement that will actually help us get through this crisis.

“Yesterday’s executive orders can be summed up in three words: unworkable, weak and narrow,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Among several deficiencies, these orders totally leave out money for our schools to reopen safely, money for state and local governments that’s needed to fight fires, pick up the garbage or employ teachers. Even more worrisome, the president’s actions exclude COVID-19 testing, tracing and treatment, which is at the heart of solving the pandemic crisis in the first place. That is why I am calling on President Trump and the GOP to meet democrats in the middle –like we have done in the prior bills—and come up with an agreement that will actually help us get through this crisis.”

Yesterday, at his private club in Bedminster, N.J., the president unveiled ‘Executive Orders’ that seek to slash but extend unemployment benefits, suspend payroll taxes, and provide federal eviction and student loan relief. However, aside from democrats’ concerns, many republicans also expressed serious concerns with the orders. According to The Hill, Republican Senator Ben Sasse called the orders “unconstitutional slop.” Other GOP senators echoed those sentiments, which is why, today, Schumer is asking the GOP and the White House to regroup and join democrats in coming up with an agreement that deals with the most critical issues of the public health and economic crisis dealt to us by the coronavirus.

“The biggest problem with the Executive Orders is not what they do, but what they don’t do,” added Schumer. Amongst several gaping holes, Schumer explained:

  • The orders leave out testing, tracing and treatment of COVID-19.
  • The orders leave out money to safely reopen our schools and provide the PPE needed to keep kids, teachers and staff safe.
  • The orders leave out help for state and local governments: firefighters, sanitation workers, bus drivers, health care workers, all the people who keep our local governments running could lose their jobs.
  • The orders leave out funds to carry out the census, and ensure elections can be carried out safely amid COVID-19.
  • The orders leave out funds to keep our local post offices open and operable, a particular concern for rural America.
  • The orders leave out funds for food assistance, which jeopardizes kids and families.

Schumer also warned, the actions taken by the orders would jeopardize social security.

“The president did not ‘cancel’ payroll taxes and this will actually hurt businesses, workers and end up weakening Social Security and Medicare because most employers will continue to withhold the payroll tax so they and their employees won’t be hit with a huge tax bill in December when it expires. I warn seniors and people who have paid into Social Security and Medicare – watch out! What is being sold here would deplete the trust funds and destroy Social Security and Medicare as we know it,” Schumer added.

Schumer also reiterated concerns for the slashing of the unemployment benefit by the order. 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 also said that approved payments to New York recipients for Unemployment Insurance totaled $32.1 billion from March 1 through July 17. Schumer says these figures prove how critical the issue of unemployment has been for New Yorkers and their families, and how essential the additional $600 was in terms of keeping families above water.

On the issue of schools, Schumer explained that the massive costs of PPE, barriers, cleaning supplies, remote internet access, transportation and more for students and teachers are prohibitive to reopening plans. In order to meet this fiscal need, Schumer said the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), crafted alongside U.S. Senator Patty Murray, includes $175 billion in much-needed assistance for K-12 schools and must be part of any plan to tackle virus. Schumer said New York would receive a significant amount of those dollars if a bipartisan bill —like the previous ones–were to pass Congress.

Finally, on 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 counties throughout New York also have serious concerns. Many counties are experience a coronavirus-induced budget hole in the tens-of-millions, according to County Executives in Upstate New York.

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