Queens Lawmakers on the Move Dec. 8, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Gianaris Mourns Senator Paul Sarbanes

Senator Michael Gianaris

State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) issued the following statement on Monday upon the passing of former Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes:

“Senator Paul Sarbanes will be sorely missed in our nation and especially within the Greek-American community. He was a true exemplar of honorable public service who stood up to powerful interests – drafting the first article of impeachment against Richard Nixon and tackling corporate power after the fall of Enron. As the son of Greek immigrants, he knew that America is at its best when it is inclusive and welcoming of others. It was a privilege to know Senator Sarbanes and I extend my deepest condolences to Congressman John Sarbanes and the entire Sarbanes family.” 

Addabbo Remembers Those Who Died at Pearl Harbor

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.

State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and parts of South Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Woodside and The Rockaways) released a statement on Monday to honor the 70th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor: 

“Today marks the 79th anniversary of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, which propelled America into World War II. The attack killed 2,403 Americans — including 2,008 Navy personnel, 109 Marines, 218 Army members, and 68 civilians — and left an additional 1,143 injured. We use this time today to remember the tremendous loss of life from that fateful morning, and the way Americans from across the country came together to join the war effort as the United States officially entered the world’s deadliest conflict. My thoughts go out to our WWII veterans for their tremendous sacrifice, and those that made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our way of life.”

Schumer Pushes for COVID Relief

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) made the case on Sunday for a Senate vote to deliver relief and prevent a disaster for the overall economy and countless families amid the holiday season, warning that millions of families, including many New Yorkers, will see their income vanish just one day after Christmas when critical federal unemployment benefits expire, 

Schumer said the expanded jobless aid, passed when he negotiated the CARES Act, has helped to keep millions of people—many New Yorkers—afloat amid the raging pandemic. But he cited new federal unemployment numbers that are cause for worry. According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor, more than 13 million Americans are currently receiving federal unemployment benefits that are set to expire at the end of the month. Schumer said with infections spiking, hiring could fall and put too many families on a fiscal cliff. He said a relief bill needs to ensure this critical assistance remains in place, that state and local dollars are delivered for causes like transit, and that essential vaccine distribution is also funded. Schumer warned that if this is not done soon, it could be too late.

“This holiday season is unfortunately filled with angst and exhaustion for millions of workers and families holding their collective breaths waiting on the Senate to come through on a relief package that keeps them off the edge of a fiscal cliff, and that’s why I am demanding action,” said Schumer. “To think that the day after Christmas could also be the day struggling families see their income vanish should compel Leader McConnell to finally hold a vote on a comprehensive relief bill that acknowledges that this pandemic is not over and that genuine help delivered by the federal government is greatly needed.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the most recent federal unemployment data shows that a total of 13.4 million people were receiving unemployment benefits delivered by the CARES Act expiring at the end of December. This includes self-employed individuals, freelancers, and others in non-traditional employment covered by the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, as well as workers receiving additional weeks of federal benefits through the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. He explained that November employment data, released by the Labor Department on Friday, revealed the weakest monthly gain in job growth of the economic recovery so far.

According to the most recently-available federal unemployment data, more than 8.8 million people are currently receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This assistance expanded unemployment benefits to what is called ‘gig’ or freelancers workers who wouldn’t normally qualify for aid. Over 4.5 million people collect Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides 13 extra weeks of benefits for workers who have used up their regular state benefits. Schumer explained that both of these aforementioned programs expire for most states on December 26, and for New York on December 27.

Sanders Congratulates Stewart-Cousins on Re-Election  

State Sen. James Sanders Jr.

State Senator James Sanders Jr. (D–Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Edgemere, Bayswater, Arverne and Far Rockaway) released a statement congratulating Senate President Pro Tempore and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) on her re-election on Monday: 

“Congratulations to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins who was today unanimously re-elected by her Democratic Conference colleagues as Senate President Pro Tempore and Majority Leader.

It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with this intelligent, vibrant and amazing woman. Sometimes we have a difference of opinion, but she is absolutely the right person to lead our conference during these difficult times.

Leader Stewart-Cousins is a pioneer who continues to shatter the glass ceiling. In 2012, she became the first African American woman to be elected as a Conference Leader in New York State history. Then in 2018 she became the first woman and African American woman to lead a New York State Legislative Majority.

I just had the privilege of featuring Leader Stewart-Cousins on my upcoming podcast “Let’s Be Clear!”, where the topic was another female pioneer – Kamala Harris – and what her election as Vice President means for the future of our country.”

The podcast will air on Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 6 p.m. and can be found on YouTube.” 

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