Queens Lawmakers on the Move September 21, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Ocasio-Cortez Acknowledges 3 Years Since Hurricane Maria

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-Astoria, College Point, Corona, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside, parts of the Bronx) released a statement on Sunday on the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria’s landfall on Puerto Rico:

“On the third anniversary of Maria, we remember the nearly 3,000 Puerto Ricans that died in the aftermath, my grandfather among them – whose death the U.S. denied. To this day, it remains a deeply traumatic event etched into the minds of all who survived it and a reminder of the perils of a changing climate. Puerto Rico deserves an investment in its infrastructure, in its future, and in the fight against climate change, so that these injustices are never repeated.

We can begin by cancelling Puerto Rico’s debt, much of which is suspected to be illegal. We must abolish PROMESA, whose extreme austerity measures have closed public schools and defunded other critical public services. We must lift the Jones Act, which has exploited Puerto Rican consumers and strangled the economy. We must pass a Marshall Plan for Puerto Rico, as Senators Sanders and Warren have called for, and allow the island to enact its own Green New Deal with direct federal investments, in order to rebuild. Most of all, we must end the island’s colonial status and pass the Puerto Rico Self-Determination Act, so the island can finally determine its own destiny.

“We cannot simply repair the damage caused by Hurricane Maria. Rebuilding things as they were only sets us up for a repeat. Maria exposed how years of imperialism have completely ravaged Puerto Rico’s economy and crippled its ability to respond to the threat of climate change. We must rebuild stronger.”

Dromm Mourns RBG

City Council Member Daniel Dromm/via Facebook

City Councilmember Daniel Dromm (D-Elmhurst, Jackson Heights) released a statement on the death of Justice Ruth Bade Ginsburg:

“I join millions of Americans in mourning the loss of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of the brightest and best legal minds this country has ever known,” said Dromm. “Today is a painful day for all who value equality and justice. Justice Ginsburg’s decisions safeguarded the rights of women, immigrants, black Americans, members of the LGBTQ+ community and so many other traditionally disenfranchised groups. Her rulings shaped the course of American history. The impact they had cannot overstated. May her memory be for a blessing, and may she rest in peace. For the good of the nation, we must all do our part to ensure that her successor similarly honors the US Constitution and cherishes human rights. President Trump and Majority Leader McConnell should know that the entire world is watching. They must not play political games with our nation’s judicial branch.”

Schumer, Gillibrand Demand 9/11 Health Funds Be Restored

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand sent a letter this morning to Treasury Department Secretary Steven Mnuchin regarding the Treasury Department withholding nearly $4 million in reimbursements to the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) for health care provided to firefighters who are sick and injured due to the toxins they encountered at Ground Zero.

“The Trump Treasury Department siphoning congressionally appropriated funds meant to pay for 9/11 workers’ healthcare is an outrageous finger in the eye to the firefighters, cops and other first responders who risked their lives for us on 9/11. This needs to stop forthwith and payments to the workers’ health program must be made whole—and now,” said Schumer.

“New York’s bravest firefighters and first responders made immeasurable sacrifices while leading efforts to rebuild and recover after 9/11, and for the Treasury Department to shortchange them is an outrage,” said Gillibrand. “The Treasury Department must immediately cease withholding critical funding for the health care needs of these heroes.”   

Members of the entire New York congressional delegation sent a similar letter on Thursday.

Read the full text of the senators’ letter here.