Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) released the following statement following senate passage of the latest COVID-19 emergency legislative package.
"We need to pass this emergency relief legislation to get immediate help to our hospitals, individuals and small businesses. Let me be clear: this is disaster relief to address the immediate crisis in front of us; there is much more that needs to be done to help restart the economy and we will be turning our efforts to that as soon as this $2 trillion relief package is signed into law.
"This bill is not perfect - far from it - but it is necessary and essential to get done now. Once we pass this bill, more than $40 billion will flow to New York -- not just for the state and city but directly to our hospitals and healthcare workers, and to our small businesses, particularly and uniquely for employee retention. There are also direct payments for individuals and families and significantly more resources for those who have been laid off or furloughed because of this crisis.
"I'm grateful to all the Democrats who worked on this bill to win important oversight and restrictions on loans to corporations and to put people front and center of the relief effort. This is another important step to help our country recover from this crisis but is far from the last action we will need to take."
This bill includes important wins for progressive policy proposals that Democrats fought for, including;
· a large investment in hospitals, our health system, and state and local governments to give them the resources they need during this emergency;
· a massive increase in unemployment insurance benefits so that these benefits match the average paycheck of laid-off and furloughed workers;
· a significant expansion of fast relief for small businesses, including making rent, mortgages, and utility costs eligible for Small Business Administration (SBA) loan forgiveness;
· billions of dollars for emergency education funding and the elimination of income tax on student loan repayment assistance by an employer; and
· accountability and oversight by preventing secret bailouts and adding special oversight requirements.
Importantly for New Yorkers, the expansion of unemployment insurance covers all workers, whether they work for small or larger business, are self-employed, or work in the gig economy. Of the $260 billion dedicated for this proposal, $15 billion is projected to come home to New York. Additionally, a relief fund for state and local governments is projected to send at least $5.8 billion to New York State and more than $1.4 billion to New York City.
This legislation puts workers first by banning stock buybacks for the duration that a company is receiving government assistance plus one year for any company that receives a government loan from this bill. It also establishes robust worker protections attached to all federal loans for businesses. There will be real-time public reporting of any transactions by the Treasury Department under this bill including terms of loans, investments, and other assistance to corporations. Democrats also added a retention tax credit for employers to encourage all businesses to keep workers on the payroll during this crisis and removed the "secret bailout" provision of the initial Republican proposal that would have allowed bailouts to be concealed for 6 months.