Jeffries Holds Meeting for Senate Action on SALT
U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Canarsie, East New York, East Flatbush, Bergen Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Beach, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Brighton Beach, Coney Island) hosted a regional press call to make the case for Senate action on SALT and local government funding through the Heroes Act.
The $3 trillion Heroes Act supports health care workers, police, fire, transportation, EMS, teachers and other vital workers by making sure state, local, territorial and tribal governments have the funds they need to pay these workers.
If the Senate refuses to act, these workers could be at risk of losing their jobs. The legislation also repeals the $10,000 state and local tax (SALT) deduction limitation enacted under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for calendar years 2020 and 2021.
Rose Slams Decision to Prematurely End National Guard Deployments
U.S. Rep. Max Rose (South Brooklyn, Staten Island) issued the following statements on the report that the Trump Administration has ordered National Guard deployments end on June 24, just one day before thousands of soldiers would qualify for education and retirement benefits:
“Intentionally ending orders one day short of a deadline for National Guard soldiers to receive benefits for their heroic sacrifices is the definition of heartless. In peacetime, we should never balance our budget on the backs of our soldiers, so why anyone would think this is okay to do in the middle of a wartime effort is beyond human comprehension. This decision must be reversed not only because it is deeply unpatriotic, but also economically unsound and puts our gains against COVID-19 at risk for some short-term, foolish budgetary gimmick,” said Rose.
The Administration first authorized deployment of National Guard forces under Title 32 orders, which grants them federal pay and benefits but puts them under the command of state governors, in late March to help in COVID-19 response efforts through May 31.
Earlier this month, the Administration extended the orders until June 24, which is exactly one short of the 90-day threshold for National Guard soldiers to qualify for early retirement and education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI bill. There are currently more than 40,000 National Guard soldiers serving across 44 states, three territories and the District of Columbia, including over 3,000 in New York State.
Eichenstein Glad About Hospital Visitation Lift
Assemblymember Simcha Eichenstein (D-Borough Park, Midwood) released statements on Governor Andrew Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker March 18th decision that barred visitors from hospitals.
“These last two months have been heartbreaking,” said Eichenstein. “I have heard far too many tragic stories of patients who were forced to spend their last days alone at the hospital without a family member or caregiver to advocate for their basic needs.”
Eichenstein continued, “I have advocated and will continue to advocate for this no-visitors policy to be revisited in its entirety until we achieve a level of access that patients and families are comfortable with. While it’s extremely unfortunate so many patients did not have a family member by their side at their most vulnerable time over these last two months, I am glad and grateful that Governor Cuomo has finally heard our call and is taking a first step by implementing this pilot program in which family members will now be allowed limited visitation at specific hospitals. I believe this expansion will also greatly enhance many patient’s chances for a full recovery – implementing safety measures that will offer immeasurable comfort to the patients and their family members.”
Lentol on NY Hospitalization Visits
Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-Greenpoint, Williamsburg) released a statement on Governor Cuomo’s implementation of the COVID19 Compassionate Helper Volunteer Program Pilot.
“In April, I introduced the proposal of a COVID19 Compassionate Helper Volunteer Program, which aims to utilize volunteers to connect families with their loved ones who are hospitalized with COVID19. I am happy that Governor Cuomo will implement a pilot of my proposal because families deserve to be together during these difficult times. This program will help ease the suffering of families and also the demand on our healthcare workers during the COVID19 pandemic. Thank you Governor Cuomo for giving the COVID19 Compassionate Helper Volunteer Program a chance.”
Myrie, Richardson Updates on COVID-19
State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Gowanus, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, South Slope, Sunset Park) had a town hall with Assembly Member Diana C. Richardson, where they shared updates and resources for parents and students and took questions from constituents.
Some of Those Updates:
There are now 352,845 cases, 5,840 currently hospitalized, and 22,843 deaths statewide.
All but one upstate county, the Mid-Hudson valley, will have begun reopening this week, but New York City’s numbers do not yet meet the state’s criteria. The Mayor reported a slight increase in hospitalizations due to the virus.
Mayor de Blasio reiterated that he would keep beaches closed through the upcoming holiday weekend, and the governor said he wouldn’t intervene in the decision. Meanwhile, Nassau county is planning only to allow locals to enter its beaches.
NY Hospitals Visitation:
The governor announced that 16 hospitals will allow visits again, with nine of them in New York City. The full list of the hospitals included in the program is here. Visitors will have to wear personal protective equipment, including masks, and will be subject to temperature checks.
Mayor de Blasio announced that nearly 16 percent of the City’s students will be asked to attend online summer school for about six weeks, a significant increase from usual. Students will be notified about their invitation to attend before June 26, when classes end, the mayor said.
A federal appeals court held that the June Presidential Primary election will move forward. The state will also hold state and congressional primaries and special elections on the same day.
Yesterday, Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said that since March, New York has now paid $9.2 billion in unemployment benefits to over two million jobless New Yorkers. By comparison, in all of 2019, the state paid out $2.1 billion.
Congress is considering a proposal that would include a combined $500 billion for state and local governments across the country, with the amount of aid allocated based on population, infection rates, and lost revenue.