Weekly Update: Expanded 3-K, Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers, and Gun Safety Actions from POTUS
I was glad to be able to spend this week in NYC as the House is in a district work period. On Tuesday, I brought together local elected officials and education professionals to highlight the expansion of 3-K across the city and the estimated $5.2 billion of education funding coming to our city thanks to the American Rescue Plan. On Thursday, I was proud to be joined by healthcare professionals to reintroduce my Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act. I also had the opportunity to visit some small businesses in North Brooklyn.
I’m also grateful to be able to report that the Biden-Harris Administration took important steps this week to combat the gun violence epidemic plaguing our nation.
More on these updates below.
If you missed this week’s NY-12 COVID-19 Update, you can read it here.
Expanded 3-K and Education Funding in the American Rescue Plan
This week, I was joined by Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright, Council Member Ben Kallos, United Federation of Teachers Manhattan Borough Representative Dennis Gault, and Eleanor Roosevelt High School Principal Dimitri Saliani to applaud the estimated $5.2 billion coming to New York City in the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) fund under the American Rescue Plan. These funds will help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools, address the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on New York City students, and help fund universal 3-K in 32 school districts across New York City.
The benefits of ensuring access to 3-K for every child in our city are multidimensional – first and foremost it sets young children on a path to learning. Not only in subjects like reading and math, but also being in a learning environment with their friends – immersing themselves in a classroom where they not only learn with their peers, but from them as well.
In addition to these educational advantages, expanding 3-K into all five boroughs will be a game changer for working families, and it is a longtime coming.
The economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated the financial and physical burdens New York City parents already deal with on a daily basis due to the exorbitant costs of childcare, daycare, and education. These burdens are felt acutely by working moms, who have disproportionately left the workforce since the pandemic began. As we provide universal 3-K to all school districts and get all of our city’s children safely back to school, we will enable these moms to reenter the workforce and provide a better work-life balance for all working families.
Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Health
Yesterday, I joined with healthcare professionals to reintroduce my Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act. This bill will alleviate the burden of student loan debt resulting from medical/professional healthcare training for frontline health workers who have made significant contributions to the ongoing health response against COVID-19.
When the majority of New York City was told that the best way to help combat the pandemic was to stay home, our city’s frontline healthcare workers exposed themselves and risked their health – and their families’ health – every single day in order to save lives. Being a frontline health worker during this pandemic meant that every day was life-or-death. Yet, they had no reprieve. These healthcare workers should not have to worry about their financial stability and be struggling to pay down their debt while fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope that this bill will also be a steppingstone to student loan debt cancellation for all. If we can garner widespread support for this legislation, and therefore recognition of the immense financial and mental strain student loan debt can inflict, that is huge step forward for broader student debt forgiveness.
You can read more about the bill here.
Biden-Harris Executive Actions on Gun Safety
I’m grateful to President Biden and Vice President Harris for taking important steps this week to address the gun violence epidemic as the public health crisis it is – instead of just relying on platitudes to comfort our nation in the wake of recent mass shootings.
I’m particularly encouraged by the Administration’s plan to issue an annual report on firearms trafficking. For too long, the ‘Iron Pipeline’ has enabled people to skirt New York’s strong gun laws. In New York City alone, as many as 74% of the firearms used in crimes were trafficked from other states with weak gun laws.
I’m hopeful that this report will help to highlight the need to crack down on the Iron Pipeline and build support for my Gun Trafficking and Crime Prevention Act, which would make gun trafficking and straw purchasing felonies under federal law.
Snapshots from NY-12
This week, I had the opportunity to visit small businesses in North Brooklyn and speak to business owners about the various programs and policies I have and will be supporting to help us all build back better from the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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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