U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee -- which funds all federal agencies and programs -- issued the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Senate's bipartisan $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic (CARES) Act.
"The war against the coronavirus is unlike anything the world has ever seen, and my community is at the epicenter of this unprecedented pandemic. Our workers, small businesses, neighbors, children and elderly are hurting -- without an end in sight. Our workers and small businesses are making the impossible decision to risk their economic health, in exchange for the safety and health of their own families and their neighbors. Most of all, the frontline health care workers across my district are waging this battle to save our lives. But we are asking them to go into battle without all the necessary tools and equipment. Today's passage of the CARES Act is critical because Queens cannot wait. The original coronavirus bill was shamefully lacking in providing enough relief for families, our hospitals, and relief for small businesses; it put corporations above workers. Through intense negotiations, the Democrats secured a better bill to help workers and families. However, this bill is not perfect and there is more to do. But it will bring necessary and immediate relief. The CARES Act will give short-term relief to families and workers who are hurting right now through direct cash assistance. This bill will give immediate relief to our health care system and the workers on the frontlines. This bill pauses federal student loan payments. Most of all, this bill is not the end; it is only the beginning. Now that this bill is passed, we must immediately look toward the next relief package to give more direct cash payments to families; help children who are forced to do remote learning without internet or computers at home; and support for every worker. Ultimately, the next bill must ensure that New York State and New York City receive more financial assistance to help combat this crisis, and that the federal government is there when we need it the most. Just as my constituents are fighting for their lives, I will continue to fight to make sure they have the full, critical support for long-term sustainable recovery. Our communities, our families, workers, and frontline health care workers deserve nothing less than all that our federal response can provide during this unprecedented public health crisis."
The $2.2 trillion CARES Act included the following items that benefit New York:
-An estimated $15 billion for New York of $260 billion in Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits which will provide a $600 increase per week to each worker's base UI benefit;
-An estimated $15 billion in direct payments to New Yorkers--including individuals, retired, and unemployed who will receive $1,200, $2,400 for couples, plus $500 per child;
-Billions directly for New York hospitals out of $100 billion nationally for equipment, supplies, staffing, and construction;
-Billions from the $45 billion for FEMA Disaster Relief Fund for reimbursable activities that include, medical response, Personal Protection Equipment, National Guard deployment, and safety measures;
-Billions in Small Business Administration forgivable loans and grants to assist New York's 2.2 million small businesses and tens of thousands of non-profits, including religious-affiliated entities;
-$7.5 billion to state and local government's coronavirus relief efforts:
-$5.1 billion for New York State;
-$1.4 billion for New York City; and
-At least $2 billion for New York's elementary, secondary, and post-secondary schools;
-$45 million for New York to support state and local police departments to purchase PPE and medical items;
-$192 million in Emergency Solutions Grants for New York to support families and individuals experiencing homelessness;
-$15 million for senior nutrition programs to provide home-delivered and pre-packaged meals to low-incoming seniors in New York; and
-$3.8 billion for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The CARES Act passed the Senate on Wednesday and was signed into law by the President after it passed the House.