MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Mar. 25, 2020

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Levine Announces He Might Have Coronavirus

Council Member Mark D. Levine
Council Member Mark D. Levine

Council Member Mark Levine (D-Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville) recently announced that he was showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Levine released a tweet last Monday afternoon saying that he had a fever and a dry cough. He said that he would take some time to self-isolate, and predicted that he would recover in about a week.

“I’m assuming that it’s coronavirus,” said Levine. “I’ll continue sheltering at home and will be resting as much as possible. My family are thankfully well and we’re all in good spirits. And needless to say I won’t be seeking a test.”

Kallos Thanks the “Heroes” Keeping the City Running During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Council Member Ben Kallos
Council Member Ben Kallos

Last Monday, Council Member Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill) wrote an opinion piece for thanking the workers who are providing vital services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kallos began by voicing his appreciation for the medical workers responsible for treating the City’s thousands of COVID-19 patients. He went on to thank public transit employees, who are not only transporting essential personnel across the City, but are also keeping heavily used public areas clean and sanitary during the crisis.

Among the other groups who received thanks in the article were grocers, utility workers and maintenance workers.

“While many of us are safe in our homes, there are workers, some making as little as $15 an hour some without benefits, who are putting their health and their families’ health at risk to keep New York City safe,” said Kallos. “These workers, who do so much, also receive little recognition for their efforts, as much of their work is done out of sight. Maintenance workers, cleaners, transit workers, healthcare workers, grocers, all have been affected by this pandemic in unseen ways. Join us in showing our appreciation.”

Velázquez Praises New Coronavirus Response Bill

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) released a statement yesterday showing her support for the House’s new COVID-19 emergency response bill.

The “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act”, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced Monday, includes several measures to help small businesses survive the outbreak. Its most prominent provision is a $100 billion emergency grant program to help businesses cover costs like paid sick leave, rent and mortgage. It would also provide debt relief to businesses with Small Business Administration-backed loans.

“This bold set of reforms includes many of the small business priorities I have been advocating for during this crisis, including economic injury grants, small business debt relief, and greater access and flexibility to flagship SBA loan programs,” said Velázquez. “During these hard times, no family or worker should have to worry that the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will sink them into debt or financial turmoil. Congress has a responsibility to act swiftly and boldly.”

A summary of the bill’s provisions can be read here.

Nadler, Maloney Request Museum Funding in COVID-19 Recovery Package

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler

Last Monday, U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) and Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), requesting that the next COVID-19 recovery package will include funding for the nonprofit museum industry.

The City is home to over 100 museums; collectively, they employ 61,000 New Yorkers and generate more than $5 billion in revenue each year. Since the outbreak, their patronage – and thus, their revenue stream – has fallen dramatically. Nadler and Maloney argue that the industry won’t be able to survive the crisis without federal assistance.

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney

“The American Alliance of Museums estimates that as many as 30 percent of museums will not be able to re-open after this crisis has passed without significant and immediate emergency financial assistance,” reads the letter. “Layoffs have already begun to sweep the more than seven hundred thousand Americans employed by museums nationwide, including the 61,000 museum employees in New York City and State. Without help, our nation’s nonprofit museums cannot survive, and a vital part of New York and American culture will be lost forever.”

Read the full letter here.