Promises, promises that more money is coming.
That seemed the order of the day as Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright (D-Manhattan) held a special district meeting with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for community leaders of the Upper East Side, Yorkville and Roosevelt Island.
Seawright arranged the meeting at the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House on 70th Street just off First Avenue in Manhattan so that local community leaders could hear from Schumer on federal aid for tenants, small businesses, transportation, health and other vital issues of community concern.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to Majority Leader Schumer who has been tireless in securing direct economic support to enable our communities to rise, unite and fight back from COVID-19,” said Seawright.
Seawright thanked Schumer for fighting for economic impact payments, federal pandemic unemployment compensation, enhanced child tax, and earned income tax credits as the most potent and effective anti-poverty tools the U.S. government provides.
“As we continue the recovery from the pandemic, we want to ensure that our district is on the pathway to a thriving Upper East Side, Yorkville, and Roosevelt Island, ” she said.
For the most part, the audience included small business owners, and local community board, political club and civic association members of the community Much of their questions related to funding various projects, and Schumer said this funding would come from one of two infrastructure funding bills now being debated in Washington. The proposed bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal and the Democratic-led $3.5 trillion Build It Back Better plan.
“Now when we can be bipartisan, we try to deal with their [Republican] parts of this infrastructure bill that you can do with the bipartisan way, particularly the traditional infrastructure which Republicans will vote for like roads, bridges, highways, and this big bill has more of that than we’ve ever had before, but they won’t do anything on family or on human infrastructure, which is just as important,” said Schumer.
Among the tax issues Schumer said he is working on includes ending President Donald Trump’s cap of the $10,000 deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), which affects New York – one of the highest taxing states in the country.
Schumer also said he was also trying to get $40 billion in federal funding for much-needed work on the city’s public housing authority (NYCHA), saying the money would also be tied into better management, acknowledging NYCHA has been mismanaged by the city and state.
Schumer said he is also working to get more federal money to help struggling restaurants as the U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced they ran out of funds to help restaurants that struggled through the pandemic.
Schumer also said the Build Back America Better plan will include $60 billion to fight against future pandemics. The senator noted he was a proud co-sponsor with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to cancel student college debt.
Activists spent more than an hour sharing opinions and posing questions on local concerns.
Helene Goldfarb, 91, a retired teacher and longtime community leader from Yorkville, said that the group welcomed the opportunity to present community concerns directly to the Senator.
“We commend Assembly Member Seawright’s enduring advocacy for our community. Senator Schumer’s visit today to hear our concerns was another example of her focus on efforts to rise and unite as we continue to fight our way to recovery from the pandemic, “ Goldfarb said.