COVID-19 & Weekly Update for NY-12
This week, I voted to pass the combined COVID relief and omnibus spending package. I applaud my colleagues who worked on this agreement to ensure much needed relief for the American people during this unprecedented health and economic crisis and remain committed to building on this down payment to the American people under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration.
More on the deal and COVID-19 updates for NY-12 below.
COVID Relief and Omnibus Spending Bill
On Monday, I joined with my colleagues in voting to pass the COVID relief and government funding package. This bill, while not perfect, provides much needed relief and important wins for our city and the American people.
The bill importantly:
Especially important for our city are:
Democrats were also able to secure $13 billion in increased SNAP and child nutrition benefits, much needed funding to help schools repair and replace HVAC systems to mitigate the spread of the virus so that we can safely reopen classrooms, and $10 billion for childcare assistance for parents heading back to work.
Not to be overlooked is the inclusion of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement to end surprise billing — a practice that has bankrupted too many families.
Democrats were also able to remove several dangerous Republican proposals — including one that would have unjustly put workers at risk by taking away their legal recourse and another provision limiting the authority of the Federal Reserve’s ability to stabilize the economy and save jobs.
I am thankful that with this agreement, we will avoid another government shutdown, but disappointed that Republicans still refuse to provide the necessary funding for our frontline heroes through funding for state and local governments and to meet the needs of the American people through stimulus payments — $600 is simply not enough to weather the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Even with the emergency relief provided in this bill being the second highest in history (behind the CARES Act), this is still just a step in the right direction — a down payment — of what we will deliver for the people under a Biden-Harris Administration.
Building a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum
I am very excited to share with you the news that with the passage of the year-end spending deal, we are well on our way to finally building a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum.
Building a Smithsonian Women’s History Museum, a testament to the women who helped build and shape this nation, has been years in the making and I am thrilled that we are finally set to enact this historic legislation. For too long, women’s stories have been left out of the telling of our nation’s history, and we can now begin to rectify that. Americans of all ages deserve to see and be inspired by the remarkable women who helped shape this nation – seeing role models doing the thing to which we aspire, can change the course of someone’s life. How fitting to pass this bill as we mark the centennial of the 19th Amendment and in the year in which we elected our first woman vice president.
Gun Research Funding
Gun violence is a public health crisis that continues to destroy lives all across the country and has grown even worse during the coronavirus pandemic. For years, I have worked with Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) to pass legislation directing federal funding toward health research into gun violence. This research can help save lives by proposing science-based solutions to end the gun violence epidemic.
Last year, Sen. Markey and I secured $25 million in the year-end spending bill to fund research on firearms safety and gun violence prevention, the first time Congress approved federal funding for the study of gun violence since an appropriations rider called the Dickey Amendment was put on the books in 1996. I am glad that the 2021 spending package includes $25 million to continue the research that was finally able to start this fall.
Ensuring Trump’s Compliance with the Presidential Records Act
On Monday, I sent a letter to David S. Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, expressing grave concerns that the outgoing Trump Administration may not be adequately preserving records and may be disposing of them without first obtaining his views, as required by law.
Under the Presidential Records Act, President Trump may not dispose of any presidential records unless he first “obtains the views, in writing, of the Archivist concerning the proposed disposal of such Presidential records.” The law also requires Ferriero to “request the advice” of the Oversight Committee, as well other relevant committees, whenever a request is received regarding the disposal of records from the President, if those records “may be of special interest to the Congress” or if “consultation with the Congress regarding the disposal” is in the public interest.
I’ve requested a response no later than January 5, 2021. You can read the full letter here.
NY-12 COVID UPDATE
By the Numbers
Confirmed Cases: 18,230,242
New York State
Confirmed Cases: 866,765
Testing Positivity: 3.67%
New York City
(Last 7 days)
Total Cases: 22,479
Confirmed Deaths: 189
New York City Updates
As you may have read or seen in news reports, COVID-19 vaccines have arrived in NYC and distribution to frontline healthcare workers has begun. As of December 21, more than 38,000 vaccine doses have been administered in New York State – the highest reported total in the nation thus far. This week, the first 346,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine are expected to begin arriving in New York with an additional 120,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine also expected.
Governor Cuomo announced that New York is developing Community Vaccination Kits to provide communities, particularly those located within health care deserts, with the supplies and resources needed for standing up vaccination sites. Additionally, he also announced that a federal program to vaccinate nursing home residents and staff began early this week and is expected to vaccinate residents and staff at 618 facilities across the state.
More information on how the vaccine will be distributed in NYC is available here.
New York State Updates
COVID Alert NY
As a reminder, New York State has launched COVID Alert NY, an app to provide COVID-19 exposure alerts to help protect your community while maintaining your privacy. More information here.
The State is strongly encouraging eligible and healthy New Yorkers to donate blood. During this crisis, we have seen severe blood shortages across NYS. Your donation could save a life. More information here.
This week, Governor Cuomo announced that in the wake of a new, highly contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus found in the United Kingdom, British Airways and Delta Airlines have voluntarily agreed to require a COVID-19 test before allowing passengers to board planes traveling from the United Kingdom to New York. With this decision, New York joins the list of 120 countries with a similar requirement on flights from the U.K. The Governor has also asked Virgin Atlantic to require a COVID-19 test for passengers.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.
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For those celebrating, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas.