MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Apr. 13, 2020

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Williams Opposes Mayor’s Plan to Cut Summer Youth Employment Plan

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams

Last Tuesday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (D) released a statement criticizing Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) for his decision to cut the Summer Youth Employment Program due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Williams released a report entitled “COVID-19 Pandemic: Preliminary Recovery and Response”, which included a plan for preserving the youth employment program. The plan would have the City parter with nonprofits to offer stipends for students learning STEM-based skills that they can study remotely.

“The last time the Summer Youth Employment Program faced cuts, it was under the Bloomberg administration, and I and others have spent the years since fighting to restore and expand it,” said Williams. “It is deeply disappointing to see the Mayor following the model of his predecessor, but the fight to preserve this critical program is not over. In fact, it is even more vital now to preserve the employment and educational opportunities available – the immediate response to the COVID-19 crisis has relied on restrictions, and rightly so, but as I laid out in my recent report, the long-term recovery will rely on expansion of programs we know can work, and the SYEP has proven each year to be one of the most vital programs for young people in our city.”

Nadler Denounces Trump for Removal of IG

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

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn) released a statement last Tuesday after President Donald Trump (R) removed Inspector General Glenn Fine.

Previously, Fine had been appointed to lead the watchdog group monitoring how the $2 trillion relief package is spent. But on Monday evening, the President removed Fine from his post and replaced him with EPA Inspector General Sean W. O’Donnell.

“The COVID-19 pandemic represents an unprecedented crisis for this country, not only economically, but for the health and safety of every American,” said Nadler. “It places an enormous burden on every aspect of our society, requiring everyone to do their part in addressing this health emergency together. And in responding to this pandemic, the federal government must act with honesty and transparency to assure the American people that everything within our power is being done to solve this crisis. Yet despite this obligation, President Trump has repeatedly taken actions that should cause serious concern to all Americans.

“In the past few days, the President has fired the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community and relentlessly attacked the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. Now he has removed the career professional in charge of overseeing how the President spends nearly $2 trillion in Congress-approved COVID-19 emergency funds. This is unacceptable. Our system of government depends on the hard work of independent inspectors general who root out and expose waste, fraud and abuse where they find it. President Trump may think he can use a national emergency as a pretext to line his own pockets or settle petty, personal scores. He is wrong.”

Stringer, Epstein Call on City to Protect Seniors Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Yesterday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein (D-Lower East Side, East Village) called on the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to protect seniors in Section 202 housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll and NYC Department of Health Commissioner Oxiris Dr. Barbot, they recommended that the City take immediate action to assess the needs of Section 202 buildings and provide their tenants with adequate protection. Seniors, as they pointed out, are vulnerable to COVID-19, and are disproportionately likely to develop severe health complications as a result of infection. They also claimed that amid the pandemic, Section 202 developments haven’t been receiving the same scrutiny and care as nursing homes and other senior care facilities.

“Older New Yorkers are among the most vulnerable amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and we must do everything we can to protect their health and reduce their risk of exposure,” said Stringer. “There’s absolutely no reason for the disparity in care and services between seniors living in Section 202 homes and seniors in nursing homes and other similar facilities.  If we fail to act quickly, these older New Yorkers will become dangerously susceptible to the threat of this horrible disease. COVID-19 is causing too much pain to turn our backs on thousands of our parents and grandparents during this time of need.  Assemblymember Epstein and I urge the City to take care of them with the same tools, services, and resources that other older adults receive.”

Velázquez Wishes New York a Happy Passover

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) released a statement yesterday in recognition of the first night of the Jewish holiday Passover.

Passover, which comes on the Hebrew month of Nisan, commemorates the Jews’ escape from slavery in Egypt and their 40-year journey to the Promised Land.

“This year, Passover comes during trying times and carries special significance,” said Velázquez. “Observers are having to adapt to celebrating Passover amidst a global pandemic and isolation. While many of our friends and neighbors cannot gather physically, it is my hope that the community continues to find peace, warmth and strength through one another. Throughout New York, members of our Jewish community are discovering other ways to stay connected and once again recall the story of freedom, resilience and redemption in the face of hardship. Certainly, that message is particularly meaningful this year. To all those who are celebrating, I say Chag Sameach.”

Johnson Wishes New York a Happy Easter

Council Member Corey Johnson
Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)

Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) released the following statement yesterday, in recognition of Easter Sunday:

“Today is Easter Sunday, the holiest day of the year on the Christian calendar. Easter is a joyful holiday celebrating Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the promise of eternal life. This is an Easter unlike any we’ve ever seen because of this terrible virus ravaging our city and our world. Many families are in mourning, and the social distancing measures we must take to remain safe mean many of us won’t see our loved ones to celebrate. The churches where we worship are closed. But hope, humanity, and the triumph of light over darkness – the underlying themes of Easter – remain and are more important than ever. I wish all who celebrate a happy Easter and pray for the day when we can come together again!”

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