Weekly Update: President Biden's First Days in Office, Hunts Point Market Strike
This week, I had the honor of attending the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. I was thrilled to be able to celebrate and welcome this new Administration as we stood at the same spot that insurrectionists – hoping to stop the peaceful transfer of power that is the cornerstone of our democracy – had stormed just two weeks prior.
And President Biden got straight to work, taking an historic number of executive actions on his first day in office. After the inaugural ceremony, I, too, got right back to work.
This week, I urged the President to block the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s (OCC) recently finalized “Fair Access to Financial Services” rule which would force financial institutions to lend to and support gun manufacturers, and sent a letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray requesting a comprehensive investigation into the role that the social media site Parler played in the assault on the Capitol on January 6.
Today, I asked the Biden-Harris Administration to act immediately to move ahead with certification of the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the Constitution and as soon as I got back to NYC, I joined the workers on strike at Hunts Point Produce Market.
More on all this and other updates below.
President Biden’s Week One Actions
I was honored to be at the Capitol on Wednesday to witness the Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. As we turn a new page in our nation’s story, we must move forward united, in purpose and action, to rebuild our nation.
This week’s executive actions set us on a course to build back better from the havoc wreaked by the COVID crisis and divisions that have deepened over the last four years. Through his historic actions taken on his first day in office, President Biden made his priorities clear. We will defeat the COVID pandemic through science and a coordinated national response, provide Americans with the economic relief they need, combat climate change, work towards racial equity with a focus on underserved communities, and restore ethics and trust in public office – including in the White House and throughout the executive branch.
To accomplish this and so much more, he has nominated a Cabinet that reflects the American people and our diverse lived experiences. I am proud to call Joe Biden our President and Kamala Harris our Vice President, and I look forward to all we can achieve, for the people, together.
Read more about the President’s day one executive actions here.
Urging President Biden to Block a Rule Requiring Lending to Gun Makers
On Tuesday, ahead of his inauguration, I wrote to President Biden urging him to block a new rule from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) that would force financial institutions to lend to and support gun manufacturers.
As I noted in my letter, in recent years, many financial institutions have made the responsible decision to stop financing bloodshed and death in our streets by limiting or severing their business relationships with gun manufacturers, particularly those that manufacture military-style firearms. With this rule, the OCC seeks to supplant its judgment for the judgment of each financial institution, effectively requiring financial institutions to lend to and support gun manufacturers responsible for producing the firearms that have devastated our communities. It is not the role of the OCC to force financial institutions to lend to industries that present real risks and dangers to our society, particularly gun manufacturers.
You can read my full letter to President Biden here.
Seeking a Robust FBI Review of Parler
On Thursday, I wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting a comprehensive investigation into the role that the social media site Parler played in the assault on the Capitol on January 6.
The FBI must examine the role that the social media site Parler played in the assault, including as a potential facilitator of planning and incitement related to the violence, as a repository of key evidence posted by users on its site, and as a potential conduit for foreign governments who may be financing civil unrest in the United States.
You can my full letter to Director Wray here.
Standing with the Workers at Hunts Point Market
Today, after returning to NYC from Washington, DC I joined the Hunts Point Market workers who are currently on strike, demanding a $1 hourly increase in pay. The market and its workers supply 60% of New York City’s produce.
These New Yorkers are essential workers, keeping our families fed in the midst of a national health and economic crisis caused by a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. We must recognize the sacrifices the workers at Hunts Point Produce Market and food workers across the country are making by valuing their tireless efforts and paying them a living wage.
The COVID-19 crisis has brought to the forefront what it means to be ‘essential’ and the workers at Hunts Point Produce Market are just that. Day in and day out, they have tirelessly and unabashedly risked their lives and even fallen ill with COVID-19 to keep our communities fed. They have taken care of us – we must ensure they are taking home a wage that allows them to care for themselves and their families.
The Biden-Harris Admin Can Certify the ERA Today
Today, I wrote to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris requesting that they act to immediately rescind a Trump Administration legal memo preventing the completion of the process to make the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
As I write in the letter, I have sponsored an ERA resolution in the House during every Congressional session since the 105th in 1997, working to build momentum and support for this critical constitutional change. Last January, Virginia became the 38th and final state needed to ratify the amendment. Now that the ERA has been ratified by a majority of states, I am urging the Biden-Harris Administration to direct the National Archivist to immediately perform his ministerial role as required by law to publish the Equal Rights Amendment as part of the Constitution of the United States.
You can read my full letter to President Biden and Vice President Harris here.
Extended NYS Open Enrollment
As part of New York's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo this week announced that the Open Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers will be extended through March 31, 2021. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health, New York's Official Health Plan Marketplace, or directly through insurers.
Coverage start dates will vary:
Individuals who are eligible for other NY State of Health programs - Medicaid, the Essential Plan, and Child Health Plus - can enroll year-round. New Yorkers can apply for coverage through NY State of Health online at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, by phone at 1-855-355-5777, and by connecting with a free enrollment assister.
NY-12 COVID-19 UPDATE
By the Numbers
Confirmed Cases: 24,627,675
Confirmed Deaths: 410,102
New York State
Confirmed Cases: 1,293,719
Testing Positivity: 4.32%
New York City
(Last 7 days)
Total Cases: 36,531
Confirmed Deaths: 385
New York City Updates
Where Are We Now?
Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are now available at no cost in New York City. I am working to ensure that the vaccine is easily available to all New Yorkers.
While there is currently a shortage of vaccines that has resulted in some individuals having vaccination appointments postponed, I am working with the Biden Administration, Governor Cuomo, and Mayor de Blasio to ensure that New York receives an adequate supply.
President Biden invoked the Defense Production Act to accelerate the manufacturing of both FDA approved vaccines.
Please note that the current shortage should not affect any individuals waiting to receive their second dose of the vaccine.
As of Monday, January 11, certain groups in Phase 1B are eligible to get the free COVID-19 vaccine. This includes people 65 and older, select groups of at-risk New Yorkers, and a range of frontline essential workers (ie. teachers and education workers, including childcare staff, first responders, public safety workers, public transit workers, food and grocery store workers, and New Yorkers experiencing homelessness who reside in congregate settings as well as staff).
Phase 1A priority groups continue to be eligible for vaccines. This includes healthcare workers and staff with direct patient contact, emergency responders, staff at COVID-19 testing and vaccination locations, home health aides, and long-term care staff and residents, among others.
Once New York City receives more vaccines, you can use the NYC Vaccine Finder to find a location near you and make an appointment, if you are eligible. Additional COVID-19 vaccine sites will be added as they are available. You can also make an appointment by phone by calling 1-877-VAX-4NYC.
Who is Up Next?
As more Phase 1B groups are determined eligible by New York State, NYC will make that information available to you. It is expected that additional groups eligible in Phase 1B will likely include other frontline essential workers and additional groups of high-risk New Yorkers. Learn more about the planned phases for vaccine distribution.
While the vaccination process is underway, every New Yorker should continue to wear a mask, social distance and avoid small and large gatherings. COVID-19 is now spreading rapidly in New York City and throughout the United States. This is a vital time to follow the recommended prevention guidance and do your part to stop the spread.
New York State Updates
As of January 19, Governor Cuomo has announced New York’s health care distribution sites have administered 79% of first doses received from the Federal Government, and 77% of first and second doses.
Statewide Vaccine Shortage
Currently, the Federal Government determines how much vaccine New York State receives. The Federal Government has allotted approximately 250,000 vaccines/week for the more than 7 million New Yorkers who are eligible. As a result, the supply is very limited.
Vaccines are available at pharmacies, hospitals, and through local health departments statewide – please contact your provider of choice to schedule your vaccine appointment.
Additionally, there is a network of State-run sites distributing the vaccines statewide – to determine eligibility and to schedule an appointment through April 16 at New York State-run vaccination sites you can use the Am I Eligible app.
An appointment is required. If you visit a location without an appointment you will not receive a vaccine.
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. As I make this request, I am aware of and working to reverse the antiquated three month deferral policy for MSM who wish to donate blood. Earlier this year, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and I were successful in getting the FDA to decrease the 12 month deferral period to three months, but we need to completely get rid of this policy that is not based on current science, stigmatizes the LGBTQIA+ community, and undermines crucial efforts to increase the nation’s blood supply as we grapple with the coronavirus crisis.
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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