Nov 27, 2001
Press Release
The World Trade Center is still burning - but the federal government is already wavering on its $20 billion commitment to help New York. We need the ALL federal aid we were promised - not next year, not next month, not tomorrow. We need it yesterday.

Today we delivered that message at New York's Penn Station. Then Congressman Nadler and I got on a train with two individuals whose livelihoods have been deeply affected by September 11. Eddie Rodriguez of Bridge Painters 806, and Paul Lee, a small business owner in Chinatown, have come to tell our leaders how much they need immediate assistance. Unfortunately, we left behind thousands of New Yorkers who lost their jobs because of September 11 - and couldn't afford a train ticket to come and tell their stories as well.

Right after the attacks, Congress passed - and the President signed - legislation authorizing $20 billion to fight terrorism and $20 billion for disaster relief mostly in New York City. But that $40 billion has now been allocated and New York only got $11 billion.

After this event, we will go to the Rules Committee to jointly support John Sweeney, who hopes to have a bi-partisan amendment brought to the floor that would achieve full funding.

What's at stake are the costs that don't fall neatly in the federal guidebook for disaster relief. Like money for hospitals that canceled elective surgery so they could treat victims. Like costs to utilities to rewire Lower Manhattan, which could be passed along to New Yorkers in the form of rate increases. Like many different kinds of costs in education.

We have unmet needs and unpaid bills. Here are some of the invoices for the Board of Education alone:

*$108 million dollars to make up lost classroom time for students in and around the frozen zone.
*$6.1 million in reimbursement for lost revenue for school food services caused by low attendance after September 11.
*$13.4 million for reimbursement for additional school-related expenses, including transportation, security measures, data infrastructure and other critical support services.

Parents and businesses are deciding to stay or leave New York right now, and the city's future hangs in the balance. At such a critical time, we shouldn't have to fight so hard for money that's already been pledged.