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Charles Schumer

December 23, 2021 - 11:46am
posted by Press Release in COVID-19, news, Charles Schumer.

Press release:

With COVID’s Omicron variant spreading and Upstate New York overwhelmed by the latest surge, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer launched a major push to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to expand testing capacity and support for Upstate communities.  Schumer made a personal call to FEMA Assistant Administrator Keith Turi and Acting FEMA Region 2 Administrator Chad Gorman to urge them to deploy 200 mobile testing sites in New York, 100 across New York State and an additional 100 in New York City. Schumer said that expanding access to testing is key to stopping the spread of COVID-19, especially as we enter the peak of holiday travel and the heart of the harsh winter months.

“Upstate New York is seeing record high COVID cases, and with variants like Omicron already here, we must stop the spread in its tracks and that means testing testing testing. That is why I am calling on FEMA to immediately deploy mobile testing sites across Upstate New York, to give struggling communities the support they need to keep their residents safe,” said Senator Schumer. “Especially as people travel over the winter holidays, easy access to testing is critical to ensure the safety of themselves and loved ones. FEMA must provide Upstate communities the support they need to protect public health and to stay ahead of this variant into the winter.”

New York State yesterday saw a record over 28,000 new coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, signifying a significant increase in case counts from just a week ago.

Schumer’s request comes on the heels of his successful push for the federal government to provide free at-home tests to New York community health centers & mobile sites. President Biden announced earlier this week that the federal government would deliver 500 million free at-home rapid testing starting in January. Schumer said that these at home testing kits in tandem with 200 mobile testing sites in the communities that need them most is vital to protecting the health of New Yorkers.

“We now have the testing infrastructure and tools we didn’t have early on in the pandemic,” said Schumer. “It’s one of the keys to stop this surge and keep recovery going.”

According to the World Health Organization, the most effective steps individuals can take to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to keep a physical distance of at least 6-feet; wear a well-fitting mask; open windows to improve ventilation; avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces; keep hands clean; cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue; and get vaccinated.

December 13, 2021 - 2:35pm
posted by Press Release in Charles Schumer, news.

Press release:

Even as Majority Leader, in the midst of a global pandemic, and while leading some of the biggest & boldest legislation in our country’s history, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, today completed his 23rd consecutive tour of all 62 New York State counties. Schumer was the first New York State public official to visit every single county in New York, an accomplishment he holds proudly, and a tradition he has continued each year he has been in office.

Over the course of the year, Schumer made 93 county visits to Upstate New York and Long Island. He visited counties in the Capital Region 14 times; Western New York 7 times; Central New York 10 times; the Rochester-Finger Lakes 14 times; the Southern Tier 10 times; the Hudson Valley 14 times; the North Country 9 times; and Long Island 15 times. In addition, due to COVID travel restrictions, which greatly reduced the number and frequency of visits this year, Senator Schumer also conducted countless virtual meetings with groups and residents across New York.

“Twenty-three years ago when I made the promise to visit every county every year, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine doing it as Majority Leader, let alone in the midst of a global health and economic pandemic. Although I’ve gained a new title as Majority Leader this year, my favorite two remain: New York senator, and more importantly, New Yorker,” said Majority Leader Schumer. “Now, as New York’s first Senate Majority Leader, this mission has become even more vital and allowed me to deliver for my beloved home state in bigger and better ways because of all I learn from my constituents. As New York continues to feel the impacts of a global health pandemic, visiting all 62 counties pushed me to fight even harder to help New Yorkers recover and build back stronger. Over this year much has changed – the American Rescue Plan I led to passage provided New York the robust COVID relief needed to help jump start our recovery. To name but two elements, we passed a historic Childhood Tax Credit that cut child poverty in half, and we passed billions for Save Our Stages, which provided a vital lifeline to all our cultural organizations and performance spaces that were the first to close and last to open. We passed the largest investment in infrastructure in our nation’s history, which will repair and upgrade New York’s road, bridges, highways, transportation, broadband, and water systems like never before. This year, more than ever before, I was reminded how resilient New Yorkers are. New Yorkers have experienced tremendous hardship, from 9/11 to Superstorm Sandy to COVID, but time and time again, we are resilient, even in our darkest days, and we rebuild and come back stronger than ever.” 

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December 5, 2021 - 1:47pm
posted by Press Release in COVID-19, news, Charles Schumer.

Press release:

With COVID’s Omicron variant spreading, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said the key to controlling it centers around the at-home tests now for sale across the country. Schumer praised President Biden for prepping a plan to be released on January 15th that will have insurance companies reimburse for the cost of an at-home test—but, he said, while we wait, he wants a surge of rapid at-home tests sent to New York community health centers and their mobile sites, across the state.  

“While many portions of the country are waiting for the omicron variant to arrive, New York already has cases—but this doesn’t mean we should panic. It means we should be planning,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. 

“You see, a key to controlling Omicron is the at-home test, where you can swab your own nose, follow simple steps, determine if you have COVID, and take the right steps thereafter. Right now, these at-home tests are pretty affordable across the country, but they’re not free, but they should be. So, I am asking for the feds to send a surge of these to New York CHCs and their mobile sites where they should come at no cost. We should be arming the public with at-home tests to stay ahead of this variant into the winter,” Schumer added.   

Schumer urged for these at-home tests to be totally free, as in no fine print. He said people should be able to walk into a CHC or visit one of their mobile sites and pick up an at-home test free of charge. Schumer urged a surge of the at-home tests to New York, especially, saying that omicron is already here and that we must work now to contain its spread. Schumer said the funds to pay for these free tests have already been appropriated to HHS via the American Rescue Plan (ARP) he helped pass through Congress and the president signed into law.

Last week, the Biden administration announced its winter plan to beat back COVID. The administration will soon mandate insurers reimburse Americans for purchasing at-home tests. Three federal departments will issue the guidance for this action on Jan. 15. The guidance will stipulate that people who buy the tests will be able to seek reimbursement from their group health plan or health insurer and have it covered during the public-health emergency, according to the Wall Street Journal. The administration has authority to do this under legislation that Congress passed in March that required group health plans and issuers to cover diagnostic Covid-19 testing, the Journal reported. 

In the meantime, Schumer, today, is saying that sending a surge of these at-home tests to New York can once again utilize the CHC infrastructure that made getting shots in arms successful during the earliest days of vaccine availability. 

The Omicron variant has been detected in 11 states so far, and about 40 countries. Scientists are also still investigating the impact of the Omicron variant, how contagious it is, how easily it might spread, and more. Schumer, today, said this is exactly why a surge of at-home tests and a campaign to have people use them could make all the difference.

“We have this tool we didn’t have early on—an at-home test,” said Schumer. “It’s one of the keys to keeping this recovery going, and we ought to use them.”

According to the WHO, the most effective steps individuals can take to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to keep a physical distance of at least 6-feet; wear a well-fitting mask; open windows to improve ventilation; avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces; keep hands clean; cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue, and get vaccinated. 

There are more than 70 federal community health centers (CHC) with 800 sites throughout New York, according to the Community Health Care Association of NY.

September 21, 2021 - 1:52pm
posted by Press Release in Charles Schumer, news, mosquitos.

Press release:

In a new push to combat what has become one of the worst mosquito seasons across New York, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced a new push to help zap the mosquitos that seem to be taking over communities across New York. Schumer revealed that this summer, many communities throughout Upstate New York had a case of West Nile, the serious and potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus. Schumer also detailed data from New York State that shows dozens of mosquito samples there have tested positive for West Nile, too.

“Ask any outdoor diner about the mosquitos this summer, and you’ll feel a resounding itch,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “This is actually one of the worst mosquito seasons in recent memory with a record number of the bugs plaguing communities across New York—from the city, to Buffalo and all throughout New York State.”

“Even more concerning, pools of the potentially-deadly mosquito-borne disease, West Nile Virus, continue to grow, and this could last well into Fall because of a very wet summer and climate change. So, today, we are pushing a two-pronged plan involving the EPA and the CDC so that our area has the dollars and the resources to beat back the mosquito and its diseases before they spread,” Schumer added.

Schumer said data shows this is one of the worst summers in terms of the mosquito population—but that this could all last well into fall. Schumer said that a particularly wet summer and a changing climate are giving mosquitos the right conditions to suck New York dry of patience and the federal dollars used to beat them back. Schumer announced a two-pronged push to ensure the EPA keeps resources coming to New York and an upcoming budget boost to increase CDC ‘vector borne disease’ dollars delivered by the agency to ensure New York State has the resources they need to survey, test, educate and respond to dramatic increases in the mosquito population, such as the one we are seeing this summer, and could keep seeing into the future.

For example, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard, Onondaga County has experienced 25 times more mosquitoes this year than last. This year, Onondaga County tallied 12,543 mosquitoes in the second week of September, compared to 488 during the same time last year. Similarly, according to the New York City Health Department, a record-breaking 1,000+ West Nile virus-positive mosquito pools have been identified and there is at least one case of the West Nile Virus in each of the five boroughs. The Health Department told the media, these current numbers break 2018 records for the entire mosquito season, which still has weeks to go this year.

According to AMNY, “West Nile virus can be mild or moderate, with 80% of those infected have no symptoms at all, however it can prove to be serious for those over 50 and can cause serious or fatal infection to the brain and spine. The most common symptoms are headache, fever, muscle aches, and extreme fatigue, while more severe symptoms can also include changes in mental status and muscle weakness requiring hospitalization. Most who are infected with West Nile virus will go on to fully recover from their illness, however, some continue to have problems months after infection.” The outlet also reported, “there are currently 106 mosquito traps throughout the city and several catch basins have been treated with larvicide. Schumer confirmed, the Health Department has conducted three aerial applications of larvicide in the marsh areas of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, as well as 21 spray operations to control adult mosquitoes in the last several weeks.

Schumer explained that across New York, this surveying, educating and mitigation costs money and involves two federal agencies: the EPA and the CDC. Schumer, today, announced a two-pronged push to keep the EPA resources coming and his intention to increase the CDC dollars New York can access as all signs point to mosquito seasons lasting longer.

Schumer has officially requested a 61% increase in annual funding for the CDC’s Vector-Borne Diseases programs, which includes West Nile. Specifically, he is pushing to support two key programs essential to VBD prevention, surveillance, testing, and response activities: the CDC Regional Centers of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases and CDC Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) grant program. This funding would increase the coordination between academic institutions and state and local departments of health to ensure research findings and information are getting out into the community more rapidly, support surveillance efforts, and promote outreach and education. The CDC Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity (ELC) grant program is critical for efforts related to the surveillance, detection, response, and prevention of infectious diseases, including VBD. In 2020 the CDC’s DVBD received requests for nearly $50 million from the state departments of health for VBD through the ELC program. However, the account was only able to support $16.1 million, less than a third of the needed resources to address VBD across the nation at the state and county level.

May 19, 2021 - 12:11pm
posted by Press Release in wny stamp, news, Charles Schumer.

Press release:

Today, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer filed the bipartisan U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, which combines Schumer’s Endless Frontier Act, other bipartisan competitiveness bills, and $52 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to implement the semiconductor-related manufacturing and R&D programs authorized in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act and a program to support legacy chip production that is essential to the auto industry, the military, and other critical industries.

An additional $1.5 billion is provided for implementation of implement the USA Telecommunications Act that was also passed as part of last year’s NDAA to foster U.S. innovation in the race for 5G. This package of innovation bills will receive a final Senate vote in the days ahead.

“The U.S. Innovation And Competition Act will be the blueprint to make Upstate New York the global innovation and semiconductor hub as one of the most significant government investments in American innovation and manufacturing in generations,” said Senate Majority Leader Schumer.

“I’m proud that this bipartisan legislation advances my Endless Frontier Act to keep the U.S. on the cutting-edge of technology and provides a historic investment in the nation’s semiconductor industry that will strengthen national security and create jobs across Upstate New York. We must invest in R&D, innovation, and manufacturing to ensure the U.S. continues to lead the world in science and technology. The Empire state is the perfect place to grow innovation industries, including our semiconductor R&D and manufacturing, and my amendment will solidify New York as a global hub for technology.”

Schumer added, “I’m making it a top priority to move quickly and secure the necessary funding to stand up the semiconductor programs I fought to pass into law last year that will bring us one step closer to ensuring our domestic semiconductor industry can safely and securely supply our military, intelligence agencies, and other government needs. This is a step essential to growth in high-tech R&D, manufacturing, and jobs across Upstate New York and to our national security and U.S. leadership in this critical industry."

Details on the supplemental appropriations proposed by Senator Schumer appear below:

·       $49.5 billion allocated over 5 years for a CHIPS for America Fund. Funding must be used to implement the Commerce Department semiconductor incentive and R&D programs authorized by the FY21 NDAA (Sec. 9902 & 9906). Within the fund, the following appropriations are available:

o   Incentive Program: $39 billion appropriated upfront and allocated over 5 years to implement the programs authorized in Sec. 9902. $2 billion is provided to solely focus on legacy chip production to advance the economic and national security interests of the United States.

§  $19 billion in FY22, including the $2 billion legacy chip production funding

§  $5 billion each year, FY23 through FY26

o   Commerce R&D programs: $10.5 billion appropriated upfront and allocated over 5 years to implement programs authorized in Sec. 9906, including the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC), National Advanced Packaging Manufacturing Program, and other R&D programs authorized in Sec. 9906.

§  $5 billion in FY22

·       $2.5 billion for advanced packaging

·       $2 billion for NSTC

·       $500 million for other related R&D programs

For use across the advanced packaging, NSTC, and other related R&D programs, the following would be provided:

§  $2 billion in FY23

§  $1.3 billion in FY24

§  $1.1 for FY25 and FY26 

·       $2 billion for a CHIPS for America Defense Fund: Funding is appropriated up front and $400 million is allocated each year, over 5 years for the purposes of implementing programs authorized in Sec. 9903(b), providing support for R&D, testing and evaluation, workforce development, and other related activities, in coordination with the private sector, universities, and other Federal agencies to support the needs of the Department of Defense and the intelligence community.

·       $500 million for a CHIPS for America International Technology Security and Innovation Fund: Funding is appropriated upfront and $100 million each year, allocated over 5 years to the Department of State, in coordination with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Export-Import Bank, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, for the purposes of coordinating with foreign government partners to support international information and communications technology security and semiconductor supply chain activities, including supporting the development and adoption of secure and trusted telecommunications technologies, semiconductors, and other emerging technologies.

An additional $1.5 billion is provided for the implementation of implementing the USA Telecommunications Act that was also passed as part of last year’s NDAA to foster U.S. innovation in the race for 5G.

Details on the Endless Frontier Act:

The Endless Frontier Act, as reported by the Senate Commerce Committee, seeks to maintain and build on U.S. science and technology leadership through investments in research and 5 development and strengthening regional economic development, manufacturing, and supply chains. The legislation would authorize roughly $120 billion over 5 years for activities at the National Science Foundation (“NSF”), Department of Commerce (“DOC”), the Department of Energy (“DOE”), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”).

The Endless Frontier Act advances priorities including reducing undue geographic concentration of R&D funding, encourage broader participation of populations underrepresented in STEM, and increase collaboration across federal agencies and with non-governmental partners on innovation.

Notable Provisions:

·       Technology Directorate: The Endless Frontier Act would create a new Directorate of Technology and Innovation at the NSF to support research and technology development in key technology focus areas, such as artificial intelligence and quantum science, in order to strengthen the global leadership of the United States in innovation. Major activities would include funding research and development at collaborative institutes, supporting academic technology transfer and intellectual property protection, establishing technology testbeds, and awarding scholarships and fellowships to build the relevant workforce. The Directorate would be authorized at $29 billion over fiscal years 2022 to 2026, including a transfer of $2.9B to existing NSF divisions to support basic research collaboration. 

·       NSF Research and Development Programs: The Endless Frontier Act would authorize $52 billion over fiscal years 2022 to 2026 for existing NSF activities, representing a seven percent increase each year. The legislation would also create a Chief Diversity Officer at NSF and increase STEM education to enhance the domestic STEM workforce. The legislation also incorporates a series of new programs, including programs for precision agriculture, rural STEM education, quantum information science, skilled technical education, critical minerals, and bioeconomy R&D.

·       Regional Technology Hubs: The Endless Frontier Act creates a regional technology hub program at DOC to support regional economic development in innovation. Technology hubs would carry out workforce development activities, business and entrepreneur development activities, technology maturation activities, and infrastructure activities related to the technology development. The technology hubs program would be authorized at $10 billion over fiscal years 2022 to 2026.

·       Manufacturing: The Endless Frontier Act would authorize close to a quadrupling of the DOC Manufacturing Extension Partnership and create a new track within the program for public benefit activities like workforce development and cybersecurity services. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership would be funded at $2.4B over fiscal years 2022 to 2026. The substitute would also authorize the Manufacturing USA program, at $1.2B over fiscal years 2022 to 2026, and add workforce and coordination provisions. 

·       Supply Chain Resiliency: The Endless Frontier Act would establish a supply chain resiliency program at the Department of Commerce to work with the private sector, for the purpose of identifying and recommending opportunities to mitigate or address supply chain vulnerabilities in the United States and in allied and partner countries. It would also amend the recently-enacted CHIPS Act to provide $2 billion in incentives for domestic production of mature semiconductor technologies, such as for the automotive industry. 

Schumer’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act is supported throughout the state. Supporters include:  

"GLOBALFOUNDRIES thanks Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for his leadership, his ongoing support of our industry, and his forward-looking perspective on U.S. chip manufacturing,” said GlobalFoundries CEO Tom Caulfield. “The semiconductor supply chain is not only a top priority for the U.S., but also a global issue with many countries looking to bolster their own chip production. The Endless Frontiers Act has bipartisan sponsorship and great momentum - the time is now to act to pass the bill and ensure that the U.S. is not left behind in the race to secure onshore chip manufacturing."

M&T Bank Chairman and CEO Rene F. Jones said,As a bank for communities, we understand that economic development and prosperity requires building an “ecosystem” that attracts, retains, develops, and engages modern talent, creating sustainable and equitable engines for economic growth. This is especially true in small and mid-tier cities, where we serve and across the country. In cities like Buffalo and Rochester, we are building a new technology hub and hosting a growing number of innovative entrepreneurial businesses that support long-term competitiveness. The Endless Frontier Act sponsored by Senators Schumer and Young has bipartisan support and backing from the business community because it helps the United States regain our position as the world’s leader in technology and innovation while building out economic opportunities that are inclusively distributed across the country.”      

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy said, “Upstate New York, and especially the Greater Rochester/Finger Lakes region, is poised to become a global hub for the critical semiconductor manufacturing industry. Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce wholeheartedly supports Senator Schumer’s amendment to the Endless Frontiers Act, which will invest in much-needed infrastructure like our Genesee County STAMP facility. This will not only help create jobs and bolster the economy in our region, but drive innovation, advancement, and competitiveness for our nation. We are grateful to Senator Schumer for his continued leadership and for championing the EFA.”

"Senate Majority Leader Schumer has long-championed upstate New York as the ideal region for critical growth of the domestic semiconductor manufacturing and R&D investments due to our university research and talent, our established and ever-growing semiconductor supply chain, along with our considerable capacity of renewable, reliable, and competitively priced electricity,” said Steve Hyde, president & CEO, Genesee County Economic Development Center. “We applaud Senator Schumer for his leadership, and agree that passage of the Endless Frontiers Act and the recommended appropriations would be catalytic in growing the high-tech economy at the Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) and all across upstate New York."

Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Mike Oates said, “HVEDC applauds Senator Schumer’s leadership in championing the Endless Frontier Act, which will invest in the Hudson Valley's growing semiconductor manufacturing industry and high-tech research and development initiatives. The Endless Frontier Act will bolster technological innovation and create jobs as we welcome global industry leaders like ON Semi to town. We thank Senator Schumer for his continued efforts to grow the Hudson Valley’s global footprint as a leader in semiconductor manufacturing and innovation.”

“EWI applauds Senator Schumer’s leadership in advancing the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act,” said Henry Cialone, president and CEO of  Buffalo Manufacturing Works/EWITo compete on a global scale, manufacturers must be able to make effective use of emerging technologies such as additive manufacturing, advanced metal stamping with servo technology, and next generation nondestructive inspection – innovations that drive productivity, quality, and reduce cost. EWI enthusiastically supports this bill because it focuses on increasing U.S. manufacturing competitiveness through innovation and investing in the manufacturing workforce.”

Buffalo Niagara Partnership President and CEO Dottie Gallagher said,The Endless Frontier Act represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to turbo charge scientific and technological innovation in the United States. Buffalo Niagara’s economy will benefit tremendously in repositioning America as the world’s true technology leader with a critical focus on manufacturing, research, and workforce development.  The Buffalo Niagara Partnership supports this bipartisan legislation and strongly advocates for its passage.  The BNP commends Senator Schumer for leading this effort.”

"From our automobiles to our smart phones to the appliances in our kitchens, semiconductors are critical, not just to our national security, but to our everyday life,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “Senator Schumer’s leadership in ensuring that we continue to build domestic research and production capacity, encouraging more companies like CREE-Wolfspeed to invest, is great news for America and Oneida County.”

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said, “Passing this bill will be a significantly important step towards securing a semiconductor manufacturing facility in Onondaga County. Our site is known across the globe for its easy access to affordable water and power along with our great quality of life. Thank you to Senator Schumer for his steadfast leadership and advocacy for this bill and our community.” 

“ON Semiconductor applauds the inclusion of CHIPS for America Act funding in the Endless Frontiers Act substitute amendment,” said Hassane El-Khoury, president and CEO of ON Semiconductor.  “The Act will help America compete with its trading partners who have been aggressively supporting semiconductor research and manufacturing in their countries."

A section-by-section summary of the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 can be found here and the text of the legislation can be found here.

March 18, 2021 - 3:47pm

Press release:

Following steadfast support for New York’s colleges and universities throughout the pandemic, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced that the recently signed American Rescue Plan includes an estimated $2.6 billion for New York’s public, private, and proprietary institutions of higher education.

In Genesee County, Genesee Community College is expected to get $9.1M and Genesee-Livingston-Steuben-Wyoming BOCES is expected to get a total of $662,000. The total allotment for the Finger Lakes Region is almost $164M.

Schumer said that public and nonprofit schools will use half of their award on emergency financial aid grants to students to help them with college costs and basic needs like housing, food, and healthcare.

The other half of the funds will allow institutions to provide additional student support activities, and to cover a variety of institutional costs, including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll. Proprietary schools must use their awards exclusively to provide financial aid grants to students.

“As New York’s colleges, universities, and students face over a year of unprecedented hurdles, they do so at a steep cost that it is our responsibility to address and overcome. In prioritizing the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff, New York’s higher education institutions have ripped massive holes in their budgets and are now facing down financial devastation – and we simply can’t let that happen,” Senator Schumer said.

“As Majority Leader, I was proud to make funding for New York’s higher education institutions and students a top priority, and the American Rescue Plan will deliver this much needed $2.6 billion in assistance to help our world-class institutions through the crisis, get students safely back to classes, and get campuses across the state back to ‘normal’.”

This funding announced today is in addition to the $2.4 billion Schumer secured for New York’s institutions of higher education in the past COVID-19 relief bills. In total, Schumer has secured over $5 billion for New York’s colleges and universities in the past year.

February 25, 2021 - 3:25pm
posted by Press Release in wny stamp, GCEDC, Charles Schumer, news.

Press release:

After fighting for and securing Plug Power’s commitment to build their new "gigafactory" for hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing in Rochester last month, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to support the newly proposed plan by New York-based Plug Power to create the first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities.

Plug Power plans on starting with the construction of a $290 million production facility at the Western New York STAMP (Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Plant) site in Genesee County between Rochester and Buffalo. Schumer said DOE’s engagement will be a win-win in opening the door to additional federal resources to make Plug Power’s plans a reality while providing DOE with a first-ever national model for the creation of a domestic green hydrogen energy production supply chain.

Schumer said with DOE support, the new 60+ job green hydrogen production facility eyed at STAMP could help lead the nation in producing carbon-free green power to run hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles and equipment all while creating new green jobs.

“My message to the DOE is that with its support, New York’s own Plug Power can lead the charge in dramatically shifting the nation towards clean energy starting with the construction of its first green hydrogen production facility at the STAMP campus in Western New York,” Senator Schumer said.

“The facility would create over 60 new good-paying green-energy jobs, boost the Western New York economy, and serve as a jumping-off point to create the nation’s first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities to produce carbon-free fuel-cell power.

"With DOE support, this new green hydrogen fuel production facility in the heart of Western New York between Rochester and Buffalo can be a national model in efforts to achieve the Biden Administration’s drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating and 10 million clean energy jobs.”

In his letter to DOE today, Schumer invited DOE officials to join him in meeting with Plug Power to discuss how DOE support, technical assistance, and resources can help supercharge Plug Power to new heights by making its plans to build its hydrogen fuel production facility in Genesee County a reality.

Additionally, the senator explained that the expansion is part of Plug Power’s planned green hydrogen network to develop vertically integrated hydrogen infrastructure across the United States positioning the New York-based company to lead the charge in dramatically reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Plug Power’s new production facility at STAMP would produce 40 tons-per-day of green hydrogen to supply fuel-cell-powered equipment and vehicles such as freight transportation and logistics handling equipment – some powered by fuel cells that will be manufactured at the upcoming Plug Power Gigafactory slated to open in Rochester this summer.

The facility would become the first nationally recognized green hydrogen production center and the first of its kind in the Northeast United States.

Plug Power, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Latham, NY, currently employs more than 400 workers in New York to innovate, manufacture and assemble hydrogen fuel cells including about 300 workers in the Capital Region at its headquarters and Capital Region manufacturing sites in Latham and Clifton Park, and about 70 workers at its Rochester manufacturing site.

In 2020, Schumer successfully fought for Plug Power to build their new "gigafactory" in Rochester, which will manufacture hydrogen electrolyzers, used for the production of hydrogen fuel, and hydrogen PEM fuel cells used to produce electricity to power equipment. Slated to open in the middle of next year, the "gigafactory" will add another 375 employees to Plug Power’s New York workforce.

Senator Schumer’s letter to the Department of Energy appears below:

Dear Acting Secretary,

I am writing to seek the Department of Energy’s (DOE) assistance in the newly proposed plan by New York-based Plug Power to create the nation’s first U.S.-wide network of green hydrogen production facilities, starting with the construction of a $264 million production facility at the Western New York STAMP site in Genesee County between Rochester and Buffalo. With a soon-to-be nearly 975 member New York workforce and a history of reliability and strong investment in the U.S. hydrogen economy, Plug Power is perfectly positioned to meaningfully contribute towards to Biden Administration’s goals of drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating 10 million clean energy jobs.   

Plug Power is striving to build five new green hydrogen fuel production facilities across the U.S., including a proposed $290 million production facility at the Western New York Science and Technology Advance Manufacturing Park (WNY STAMP) that will produce 40 tons-per-day of green hydrogen to supply the fuel-cells in advanced freight transportation vehicles and logistics handling equipment. Support and technical assistance from DOE now would create a win-win in both opening the door to additional federal resources to make Plug Power’s plans a reality while providing DOE with a first-ever national model for the creation of a domestic green hydrogen energy production supply chain. This new 60+ job green hydrogen production facility eyed at STAMP could help lead the nation in producing carbon-free green power to run hydrogen fuel-cell-powered vehicles and equipment all while creating new green jobs. 

Plug Power is focused on serving the zero-emissions material handling, transportation, and industrial sectors with low-cost green hydrogen fuel that is generated using 100% renewable, zero carbon energy. This project aims to strengthen our country’s economic, environmental, and national security by utilizing domestic energy resources, including low-cost renewable energy from solar photovoltaic, wind, and hydro-electric generation facilities to produce green hydrogen. It will decrease the need for energy imports while creating industry and employment growth opportunities across a variety of markets.

Plug Power, founded in 1997 and headquartered in Latham, NY, employs over 1,217 across the world, including over 600 employees in New York with another 375 expected to be added in the coming years at the company’s new gigafactory slated to open in Rochester, NY this summer. The company is focused on building the hydrogen economy as the leading provider of comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell turnkey solutions. Plug Power created the first commercially viable market for hydrogen fuel cell technology, deploying approximately 40,000 fuel cell systems, more than any other company in the world.

I would welcome the opportunity to host DOE officials for a meeting with Plug Power to discuss how DOE can provide technical assistance, support, and resource access to this cutting-edge company to help drive the construction of this new WNY green hydrogen production facility, a strong step towards a nationwide green hydrogen supply chain.

Thank you for your time and attention to this matter, please do not hesitate to reach out to my staff with any questions you may have.

January 29, 2021 - 1:41pm
posted by Press Release in salt, tax cap, COVID-19, news, Charles Schumer, Kirtsen Gillibrand.

Press release:

Today, U.S Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand introduced legislation in the new Congress to eliminate the $10,000 cap on the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction starting in 2021.

The proposal would allow taxpayers to fully deduct their state and local taxes on their federal income returns. In 2017, the deduction was capped at $10,000 and resulted in a tax increase for many middle-class families.

“When it comes to SALT, New York families needed and deserved this money before the coronavirus took hold, the stakes are even higher now because the cap is costing this community tens-of-thousands of dollars they could be using amid the crisis,” Senator Schumer said.

“That is why I am proud to be leading this legislation to restore our full SALT deduction. Double taxing hardworking homeowners is plainly unfair; We need to bring our federal dollars back home to the to cushion the blow this virus—and this harmful SALT cap—has dealt so many homeowners and families locally.

“I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation to repeal the cap on the State and Local Tax deduction, a cynical policy passed by Republicans as a way to repay wealthy donors and lobbyists with big corporate tax cuts,” Senator Gillibrand said.

“The reinstating of the SALT Deduction will ensure that New York families have more money in their pockets, get much-needed tax relief and will once again be treated fairly.”

Schumer and Gillibrand pointed to the following reasons for why the SALT deduction is unfair to New Yorkers:

  • New Yorkers already subsidize other states by paying $36-45 billion more in taxes than we receive back from the federal government;
  • The repeal of the SALT deduction results in double taxation by imposing federal taxes on the income used to pay state and local taxes;
  • The elimination of the deduction drives wealthier people to other states and leaves middle- and lower-income taxpayers holding the bag to pay for school, police and other essential state and local tax burdens.

A breakdown of data from 2017 shows just how critical the full deduction was to New York homeowners. In the 27th Congressional District, for example, 33 percent of taxpayers used the SALT deduction that year, and the average deduction was for $14,096. In Genesee County, a total of 6,840 households claimed the SALT deduction and the average deduction amounted to $10,156. Countywide, 94 percent middle-income taxpayers were beneficiaries of the SALT deduction.

Across Upstate New York, the average SALT deduction was more than $13,000 across more than 1.2 million households.

Under the pre-Trump tax code, taxpayers who itemized deductions on their federal income tax returns could deduct state and local real estate and personal property taxes, as well as either income taxes or general sales taxes.

State and local income and real estate taxes had made up approximately 60 percent of local and state tax deductions, while sales tax and personal property taxes made up the remainder. According to the Tax Policy Center, approximately one-third of tax filers had itemized deductions on their federal income tax returns.

November 20, 2020 - 5:04pm
posted by Virginia Kropf in COVID-19, news, Charles Schumer, rural testing sites, notify.
Video Sponsor

The need for COVID-19 testing sites in rural counties was the focus of a press conference by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer Thursday morning at Medina Memorial Hospital.

Schumer said Congress has approved $9 billion in funding for states and rural counties, such as Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming, but the Federal government won’t release it.

Both Schumer and hospital CEO Mark Shurtz are concerned about the amount of testing that will need to be done with the coronavirus cases exploding across the region. Schumer said Orleans seven-day average has quadrupled since Nov. 1, and yet the county has zero free COVID-19 testing sites.

Genesee and Orleans County Health Department Director Paul Pettit said there are currently no free testing sites in the three-county area, forcing residents to drive to Monroe Community College in Rochester, Niagara County Community College in Sanborn or Downtown Buffalo for a free test.

Testing is being done at Oak Orchard Health in Albion, and drive-thru testing at Orleans Community Health’s Urgent Care in Albion, but it isn’t free. 

County officials estimate thousands more tests are desperately needed immediately and with cases on the rise, there will be increased need for testing of nursing home residents, health care workers and school children, Pettit said. 

County officials project they will need at least seven to eight rapid test machines and thousands of test kits at minimum, compared to the two machines and 700 rapid test kits they have now. 

Schumer demanded the Department of Health and Human Services release the testing dollars he helped to originally secure to conduct sufficient rapid testing and tracing programs to keep residents safe from the virus. Schumer also announced his intention to fight for more of those funds for communities across Upstate New York, as the possibility of a second wave emerges and as a Covid relief deal continues to be negotiated. 

Marc Shurtz, CEO/CFO of Orleans Community Health, said every tool and resource available is needed to best protect the community and health professionals, and that certainly includes more robust testing. 

“Especially now as Covid infection and transmission rates are spiking again in Western New York, we need to increase our testing capacity – including rapid testing – to stop the spread and avoid other protective measures, like lockdowns,” Shurtz said. "If we can head off community spread with more testing, we can curb new hospitalizations, which are already up 550 percent in the Finger Lakes Region.”

August 1, 2020 - 12:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Charles Schumer, news, video, STAMP, Alabama.
Video Sponsor

In the video, Sen. Charles Schumer talks about the semiconductor plan, baseball, baseball trivia, his relationship with newly elected Rep. Chris Jacobs, the safety of reopening schools, and the future of the Muckdogs.

Press release:

Standing with local officials at Genesee’s STAMP* Campus, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today unveiled his three-pronged push to jolt the U.S. semiconductor industry and the Upstate New York economy into high gear.

First, Schumer called for swift passage by Congress of the final Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), in which the senator successfully included an amendment that will continue U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and revitalize innovation in the global microelectronics sector.

Second, the Senator announced his push for a $1M Northern Border Regional Commission grant that STAMP needs to construct a new sewer line to complete STAMP’s wastewater system infrastructure. The sewer is the final piece of infrastructure that will make the 1,250-acre STAMP campus shovel-ready for manufacturing facility construction.

Third, Schumer will urge the Department of Defense (DoD) to consider the STAMP campus as the agency looks to partner with industry to develop new domestic semiconductor fabs. Combined, the Senator’s efforts will provide unprecedented support for the U.S. semiconductor industry and create opportunities to bring hundreds of jobs to Genesee County and Upstate New York.

“The economic and national security risks posed by relying too heavily on foreign semiconductor suppliers cannot be ignored, and Upstate New York, especially the STAMP Campus here in Genesee, is the perfect place to grow this industry by leaps and bounds,” Senator Schumer said.

“We must continue to invest in our domestic semiconductor industry in order to keep good-paying, high-tech American manufacturing jobs here in Upstate New York. We need to ensure our domestic microelectronics industry can safely and securely supply our military, intelligence agencies, and other government needs. This is essential to American jobs, our national security, and to U.S. leadership in this critical industry."

Schumer noted that even though the United States revolutionized the microelectronic industry and invented nearly all of the key technology used to this day, competitors in Asia, especially China, have made huge investments into their microelectronics industries in recent years to challenge and undercut U.S. leadership.

In fact, Schumer pointed out, the United States has gone from producing 24 percent of the world’s semiconductors in 2000, to just 12 percent more recently. In contrast, China has gone from producing zero chips to 16 percent of the world’s supply in the same time frame. The senator warned that by 2030, Asia is projected to control 83 percent of the global semiconductor manufacturing supply while domestic production could be less than 10 percent, threatening U.S. reliance on foreign-made microelectronics, which could pose huge risks to U.S. national and economic security.

Therefore, Schumer argued, his three-pronged plan to revitalize the semiconductor industry and incentivize it to build new research and manufacturing facilities in the United States at sites like STAMP is vital to cement global U.S. leadership in the microelectronics industry and will ease U.S. reliance on foreign-made semiconductors, alleviating economic and national security risks.

“Senator Schumer’s leadership in the Senate’s passage of the American Foundries Act as a part of the National Defense Administrative Act will help put STAMP over the finish line as it will make available necessary funding to develop and construct the final pieces of infrastructure to stand up multiple semiconductor manufacturing fabs and along with it the creation of thousands of good-paying, family-sustaining jobs to Genesee County and the Western New York and Finger Lakes regions,” said GCEDC President and CEO Steve Hyde. Attracting semiconductor and similar industries at STAMP will result in as much as $10 billion to $15 billion of private sector investment all of which will be enabled by this game-changing legislation.”

Secondly today, Schumer announced his push to secure the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) grant to construct the last missing sewer line needed for STAMP to achieve shovel-ready status. Specifically, this funding is needed to complete STAMP’s sewer and wastewater system by constructing a 14,500-square-foot force main sewer line to support new businesses that locate at STAMP. The force main is the final piece needed to make STAMP shovel-ready with the capabilities to meet any industry’s needs to construct new manufacturing operations at STAMP and create new high-quality jobs. 

Lastly, Schumer called on the Department of Defense (DoD) to consider STAMP as a location for next-generation semiconductor research and manufacturing facilities now that the DoD is in discussions with semiconductor manufactures to build new domestic chip manufacturing facilities to ensure U.S. leadership in the global microelectronics supply chain.

Last month Schumer wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper to draw his attention to the opportunities for new Semiconductor development at STAMP. As a result, DoD officials participated in a meeting Schumer convened with STAMP officials to help position STAMP to capitalize on new opportunities through the DoD to attract semiconductor research and manufacturing facilities to STAMP.

Following Schumer’s unveiling of his bipartisan American Foundries Act and major push to bolster U.S. leadership in the microelectronics sector, he successfully advanced his proposal as an amendment included in the Senate-passed Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment:

  • Directs the Secretary of Commerce to create a grant program for constructing, expanding, or modernizing commercial semiconductor fabrication, assembly, testing, packaging, and advanced R&D facilities in the United States.
  • Directs the Secretary of Defense to create a partnership program with the private sector to encourage the development of advanced, measurably secure microelectronics for use by the Department of Defense, Intelligence Community, critical infrastructure, and other national-security applications.
  • Requires the Secretary of Commerce to commence a review within 120 days assessing the state of the U.S. semiconductor industrial base.
  • Establishes a Multilateral Microelectronics Security Fund, with which the United States, its allies, and partners will work to reach agreements promoting consistency in their policies related to microelectronics, greater transparency including supply chains, and greater alignment in export control and foreign direct investment policies.
  • Directs the President to establish a subcommittee on semiconductor technology and innovation within the National Science and Technology Council; directs the Secretary of Commerce to establish a national semiconductor technology center to conduct research, fund semiconductor startups and a Manufacturing USA Institute, create a National Advance Packaging Manufacturing Program; and encourages the Secretary of Labor to work with the private sector on workforce training and apprenticeships in semiconductor manufacturing.

This amendment, which is also cosponsored by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, is based on the Senator’s bipartisan American Foundries Act, which has been broadly supported by key players in New York’s semiconductor industry, including GlobalFoundries, IBM, ON Semiconductor, Cree Inc., the Genesee County Economic Development Center, Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation, Mohawk Valley EDGE, Cornell University, Binghamton University, and SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

 STAMP is specifically designed for development of large-scale semiconductor manufacturing. The 1250-acre mega site is divided into an 850-acre North Campus that can accommodate clean tech advanced manufacturers including up to three semiconductor chip fabs and a 400-acre South Campus ideal to attract new food, beverage, and warehouse/distribution development.

In 2012, Schumer successfully advocated on behalf of STAMP by calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide necessary wetlands permit assurances so that STAMP's developers could proceed with developing the site. In 2017 Schumer helped secure Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approval of Empire Pipeline Inc.’s revised and extended PILOT agreement with Genesee County, the proceeds of which were needed to finance new water infrastructure at STAMP.

*STAMP -- Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park

July 19, 2020 - 3:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in Charles Schumer, U.S. Postal Service, news, USPS, COVID-19.

Press release:

A day before he heads back to Washington, D.C., to lead negotiations on the next coronavirus recovery bill, COVID-4, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that U.S. Post offices, including those across Upstate New York, could be forced to shut their doors unless they get an immediate infusion of funds and the personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies needed to keep workers and the mail-receiving public safe.

Schumer, citing the worry, made a vow, today, to fight for a critically needed $25 billion for the USPS so they can keep the doors open and the mail moving for all Americans.  

“All across Upstate New York, from Western and Central New York, to the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Capital District, Hudson Valley, or beyond, the USPS performs a lifeline service for countless Americans and the people of New York that must continue amid and beyond this pandemic,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.

“The fact is, the coronavirus has severely crippled USPS operations and their funds. Despite that, they have kept the doors open, the mail -- and really the economy -- moving, and now they need the help to sustain their pace. The fight to keep our post offices open by injecting the dollars needed to do the job and purchase the personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies required to keep everyone safe will begin tomorrow, and I am here to say: I vow to lead it."

Schumer explained the fight to keep post offices across the country open will begin this upcoming week. He said the services provided by USPS amount to lifelines for millions of Americans that cannot be replaced or easily replicated, especially in certain parts of the country.

Schumer detailed how the coronavirus pandemic has crippled our post offices and their operations as he stressed their relevance and importance to our larger economic recovery.

According to the Associated Press, mail volume is down by more than 30 percent from last year because of the coronavirus, and the Postal Service says losses will increase by more than $22 billion over the next 18 months.

Schumer added that the monumental costs of personal protective equipment (PPE) are also driving huge costs for the USPS. Those supplies are needed to keep workers and the mail-receiving public safe. Schumer said the USPS will need dollars to purchase the PPE it needs, in addition to funding to offset the aforementioned operational shortfalls delivered by the coronavirus.

“We are unable to predict the duration of COVID-19 business closures and the duration of the recession we are currently experiencing: however, this situation will materially damage our financial condition,” said USPS Chief Financial Officer Joseph Corbett.

“While we continue to conserve capital and reduce expenses in areas where volumes are declining, our ability to continue to serve the nation will require substantial finding from the federal government or other sources.”

“The bottom line here," added Schumer, "is that without the U.S. Postal Service in operation, we might as well stamp ‘Return to Sender’ on any economic recovery plan that is presented.”   

The U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation: 160 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations, according to the Service.

April 7, 2020 - 1:44pm
posted by Billie Owens in Charles Schumer, COVID-19, essential workers, news.

Press release:

Washington, D.C. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senate Committee on Aging Ranking Member Bob Casey (D-PA), Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Vice Chairman Tom Udall (D-NM), and Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI) today unveiled the COVID-19 “Heroes Fund.”

It is the Senate Democrats’ proposal for the provision of pandemic premium pay to reward, retain, and recruit essential workers.

Senate Democrats’ proposed “Heroes Fund” consists of two major components: a $25,000 premium pay increase for essential workers, equivalent to a raise of $13 per hour from the start of the public health emergency until Dec. 31 and a $15,000 essential worker recruitment incentive to attract and secure the workforce needed to fight the public health crisis.

Grueling Months Ahead

Essential frontline workers are the true heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic response in America.

Senate Democrats believe in providing premium pay to frontline workers during this pandemic not only to reward essential workers’ for their great personal sacrifices, but also to ensure the retention of essential workers who are working grueling hours on the frontlines of this crisis as well as the recruitment of additional workers who will be needed in the months ahead.

A Summary of Senate Democrats’ COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” proposal can be found here and below:

“Thousands of workers report to the frontlines of our nation’s pandemic response each and every day, placing themselves squarely in harm’s way to serve the needs of others,” Schumer said. “Senate Democrats’ proposed ‘Heroes Fund’ would provide premium pay to these essential workers — the doctors and nurses, grocery store workers, transit workers, and more who are central to fighting this crisis — and would establish an incentive system to retain and recruit the workforce needed for the long months to come.

"Essential frontline workers sacrifice daily for our collective health and well-being, and Senate Democrats are fully committed to supplying these heroes the financial support they deserve.”

The COVID-19 “Heroes Fund” Summary

Senate Democrats’ Proposal for Pandemic Premium Pay to Reward, Retain, & Recruit Essential Workers

Essential frontline workers are the true heroes of America’s COVID-19 pandemic response. Senate Democrats believe in providing premium pay to frontline workers during this pandemic to reward essential frontline workers, ensure the retention of essential workers who are working grueling hours on the frontlines of this crisis, and promote the recruitment of additional workers who will be needed in the months ahead.

As the Congress looks at a potential fourth COVID-19 bill, the following proposal is meant for consideration by Members of Congress, key stakeholders, and the American people. Our proposal consists of two major components:

  1. A $25,000 pandemic premium pay increase for essential frontline workers, equivalent to a raise of an additional $13 per hour from the start of the public health emergency until Dec. 31.
  2. A $15,000 recruitment incentive for health and home care workers and first responders to attract and secure the workforce needed to fight the public health crisis.

Structure of the Pandemic Premium Pay

To meet the goals of reward, retention, and recruitment, we propose a set dollar amount per hour with a maximum amount for the year, for a definite duration, and with an additional bonus for workers who sign up to do such essential work during this crisis.

Amount of Pay Premium -- Our proposal:

  • Uses a flat-dollar amount per hour premium model in order to ensure it is clear, simple, and lifts up particularly those workers making lower wages;
  • Would give each essential frontline worker $13/hour premium pay on top of regular wages for all hours worked in essential industries through the end of 2020;
  • Would cap the total maximum premium pay at $25,000 for each essential frontline worker earning less than $200,000 per year and $5,000 for each essential worker earning $200,000 or more per year.

Duration of Premium -- The premium pay period:

  • Must be for a specified and clear duration of time to ensure workers can rely on it for their economic security and plan for needs like additional child care.
  • Should cover all hours worked by each essential frontline worker through December 31, 2020, or until the worker’s salary-based maximum premium pay is reached.

Premium Pay as a Recruitment and Retention Incentive.In order to recruit the additional health care workers, home care workers, and first responders needed over the coming months, our proposal

  • Would provide a one-time $15,000 premium for signing on to do essential work.
  • Would limit eligibility for this incentive premium to essential health and home care workers and first responders that are experiencing severe staffing shortages impeding the ability to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Premium Pay and Worker Incentives Delivery Mechanism

Our proposal would fully federally-fund the premium pay and recruitment and retention incentive. We will continue to seek input on the specific mechanism for delivering the pay to workers, as well as the universe of “essential workers” to be covered. The new federal fund would partner with entities designated as an “eligible employer” – states, localities, tribes, and certain private sector employers – to issue the funds premium payments to eligible workers. Frontline federal employees would also be granted the new benefit of up to $25,000.

COVID-19 Heroes Fund. The new COVID-19 Heroes Fund would provide funds directly to eligible employer-partners so that they could distribute the premium payments.

  • Employers in industries engaged in “essential work” would apply to the Heroes Fund for funds to be used to add line-item premium pay to employees’ or independent contractors’ paychecks. The eligible employer would track these payments, provide payroll records demonstrating premium payments, and return any unspent funds to the agency.
  • No employer would be required to participate, but all would be strongly encouraged to and the program would be widely advertised.
  • An entity that contracts directly with the state, locality, Tribe, or the federal government (e.g., to provide care to people with Medicare and Medicaid coverage) would be considered a private sector employer, and employees of this entity who are designated as “essential” would be eligible for premium pay. Similarly, an eligible employer is also an individual who hires someone designated as “essential” through programs established through the State (e.g., self-directed care arrangements). This would help ensure coverage of the 2.2 million home health aides, direct service providers, and personal care workers who provide services to more than 12 million Americans.
  • Eligible employers would submit applications for the recruitment and retention incentive premium on a rolling basis.

Federal Workforce -- Our proposal would ensure all federal government essential frontline employees receive the same $25,000 premium pay benefit provided to other essential workers.

  • Coverage should be expansive to capture all federal employees with public-facing positions. This includes Title 5 employees and employees of all other federal personnel systems (e.g., employees of the Postal Service, TSA, VA, FAA, District of Columbia, and federally-funded Indian programs.
  • The benefit would be limited to frontline and public-facing positions – employees who are not teleworking from their homes.

Additional Background and Commentary

Precedents -- Disasters require exceptional flexibility in standard work schedules and assignments and often put first responders and other essential workers in dangerous situations. To ensure this critical workforce is compensated appropriately, there are precedents for funding hazard premium pay and worker incentives through a federal program.

FEMA, through the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Response and Emergency Assistance Act and the Disaster Relief Fund, is currently authorized to reimburse state, local, and tribal governments for straight-time and premium pay associated with disaster response. Extraordinary costs (such as call-back pay, night-time or weekend differential pay, and hazardous duty pay) for essential employees who are called back to duty during administrative leave to perform eligible Emergency Work are eligible for reimbursement in certain circumstances.

This authority has been used many times over the last few years to pay for personnel costs associated with enforcing curfews, facilitating evacuation routes, and restoring critical infrastructure. Past usage illustrates precedent for federal funding of critical state, local, and tribal employees performing essential response functions that keep our communities safe in times of disaster.

Essential Frontline Worker definitions -- As mentioned above, the definition of essential frontline workers for purposes of both the premium pay increase and the recruitment-retention incentive will be the subject of debate. This proposal is not meant to exclude any worker from this conversation. Rather, we hope this proposal will encourage a discussion about how large and diverse this universe of workers truly is. Our goal is to make federal, state, tribal, local and private sector essential workers that are at risk eligible for this benefit.

Retroactive Pay -- Workers who have been on the frontlines since the initial declaration of the Public Health Emergency on January 27, 2020, could receive a lump sum of backpay of $13 per hour for work before enactment. These workers would continue to receive the $13 per hour premium pay on top of regular wages moving forward, but these workers would still be subject to the maximum premium pay cap outlined above.

Additional Benefits for Essential Health and Home Care Workers and First Responders -- The employers of frontline health and home care workers and first responders should be eligible to apply for a second round of premium pay funds of up to $10,000 as those workers continue to combat the virus.

Death Benefits -- It is a deeply disturbing but unfortunate reality that some of our frontline workers are making the ultimate sacrifice to the nation through their work fighting COVID-19.  Their families rightfully deserve to receive the full amount of the premium pay as a lump sum in addition to all other forms of death benefits.

Protections from Corporate Expense Shifting -- Certain large corporations engaged in the provision of essential services and goods employ essential frontline workers who are deserving of premium pay. However, massive corporations should make investments in providing premium pay of their own accord before trying to participate in this program.

Protecting Workers and PPE -- Senate Democrats have been fighting to give essential workers the protections and equipment they need to stay safe. The CARES Act provided billions of dollars for PPE, and Democrats have pushed the Administration to appoint a czar to handle all manufacturing and distribution of critical PPE. We must do more to ensure all frontline workers have the protective gear they need to perform their jobs safely, and we need a strong emergency temporary standard to protect all workers.

April 4, 2020 - 12:33pm
posted by Billie Owens in IRS, social security, COVID-19, CARES Act, news, Charles Schumer.

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced Friday (April 3) that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has heeded his call and will reverse the guidance issued earlier this week requiring Social Security recipients file a tax return in order to receive the direct cash assistance.

Schumer explained that the reversal is essential to the wellbeing of seniors and disabled New Yorkers because the original IRS requirement of filing a tax return in order to receive the direct assistance would have placed an undue burden on vulnerable individuals, especially seniors, who are already facing tremendous stress as the most at-risk population during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

“After successfully pushing for streamlined payments to New York seniors and most vulnerable in last week’s emergency relief package, the IRS turned around and issued bureaucratic and unreasonable guidance, complicating the process and making it harder for thousands of New Yorkers to quickly get the money they deserve,” Senator Schumer said.

“I’m glad the IRS heeded my call and reversed course, because asking vulnerable individuals living in the epicenter of this global pandemic to jump through unnecessary hoops to get their much-needed cash assistance is irresponsible. The new IRS guidance puts the well-being of these New Yorkers first and achieves the intended goal I so fiercely fought for: get New Yorkers the money they deserve and need to help get through this difficult time as quickly as possible.”

The IRS guidance released on March 30th outlined that Social Security beneficiaries would need to file tax returns in order to receive direct cash assistance, even though the CARES Act explicitly provided the Treasury Department the authority to release cash to those beneficiaries directly.

Schumer opposed the original guidance, saying that the contradicting information only added to the confusion individuals are already facing. The new guidance from the IRS follows the provisions in the Schumer-negotiated CARES Act, providing an avenue for direct cash assistance for the most vulnerable populations.

According to the Social Security Administration, New York has more than 3 million retired and disabled workers receiving Social Security benefits. Below is a breakdown of impacted New Yorkers in each county:


Retired Workers on SS

Disabled Workers on SS



























































































New York










































St. Lawrence






















































NYS Total



February 28, 2020 - 4:00pm

Press release:

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has granted Upstate New York counties devastated by the Halloween storm last year, $9,200,000 in federal funding through the Emergency Relief (ER) program.

The $9.2 million will go toward repairing roads and highways in Upstate New York, both of which were seriously damaged during the flooding, including those in the NY-27 Congressional District.

“This grant is good news for everyone in Upstate New York," Schumer said. "Last Halloween, our state, from one corner to the other, saw severe damaged after being ravaged by heavy rain, flooding, and tempestuous winds.

"This federal aid will finally begin the process of healing and recovery for these Upstate communities and ease the burden of natural disasters on New York taxpayers."

Senator Gillibrand said: “I’m grateful we could deliver federal aid to communities across Upstate New York that are still suffering from the extensive damage caused by the Halloween storms. This grant is an important first step in ensuring these communities get the resources they need to rebuild.”

During the Halloween storm, 12 counties received at least 3 inches of rain, which is nearly a month’s worth in most Upstate areas, and 27 counties received flood warnings and flash flood warnings.

Furthermore, winds blew between 60 and 70 miles per hour, knocking down countless trees, destroying private property and leaving hundreds of thousands of Upstate New Yorkers without power.

In the Mohawk Valley, hundreds of residents were evacuated and many properties remain uninhabitable. The storm even tragically took the life of a priest, Father Tom Connery, in Herkimer County, who was trapped in his vehicle during one of the flash floods.

In Western New York, floodwaters and wind caused millions in damage across the Lakes Erie and Ontario shorelines.

Schumer and Gillibrand have long advocated for federal recognition of the disaster and called repeatedly for funding to begin repairs. The DOT funding will go toward the 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, and 27 Congressional districts.

February 26, 2020 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in Charles Schumer, COVID-19, news.

Press release:

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer today released a detailed proposal for $8.5 billion in emergency funding to fight the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

“Congress must act swiftly to confront the threat of this global health crisis,” Schumer said. “This proposal brings desperately needed resources to the global fight against coronavirus.

"Americans need to know that their government is prepared to handle the situation before coronavirus spreads to our communities. I urge the Congress to move quickly on this proposal. Time is of the essence.”

With no plan to deal with the potential public and global health crisis related to the novel coronavirus, the Trump Administration made an emergency supplemental appropriations request on Monday.

It was too little and too late — only $1.25 billion in new funding. For context, Congress appropriated more than $6B for the Pandemic Flu in 2006 and more than $7B for H1N1 (Swine) flu in 2009.

The administration’s request also asked Congress to reprogram funding dedicated to fighting Ebola — still considered an epidemic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (the second-biggest Ebola epidemic ever recorded, behind the West Africa outbreak of 2014-2016) — to deal with the coronavirus, which would make American people and the world less safe.

America must prepare for — and aggressively combat — all infectious diseases with urgency and vigor. In order to do so, we need a comprehensive plan and robust resources to execute a mission.

Thus far, the Trump Administration has failed to develop a plan and request the appropriate resources from Congress. Many of our states and cities have been left to foot the bill. The Schumer Supplemental request will address these problems.

1. $1.5B for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention—Including for the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund (IDRRRF​)and Global Health Security

a. CDC is at the front lines of America’s domestic and international response to the coronavirus. This funding is needed to strengthen critical support to state and local health departments, bolster laboratory work, and more.

Other activities, like the evacuation of American citizens from China, deployment of CDC staff to states and ports of entry, and the purchase of protective and laboratory equipment and supplies, have been supported by the IDRRRF, depleting this fund.

2. $3 billion for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund

a. The Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund helps drive our nation’s medical and public health preparedness for, response to, and recovery from disasters and public health emergencies. These funds would ensure our Department of Health and Human Services has the resources need to do the job and help contain the spread of this new virus.

3. $2 billion set-aside for State and Local Reimbursement

a. State and local health departments are on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. Many cities, like New York, have already spent millions on personnel, lab equipment, and supplies. Additional expenditures are expected to include supplies for hospital triage and isolation spaces, as well as lab testing. Additionally, there’s significant need for staff and other resources to support the public health and healthcare response, including implementing the federal quarantine order. These activities require around-the-clock staffing, temporary housing, transportation, cleaning contracts, and wrap-around services.

4. $1B for the USAID Emerging Health Threats—Emergency Reserve Fund

a. The global health community is actively fighting the dual threats of Ebola and coronavirus in the midst of a potentially severe influenza season. This global response is a resource intensive effort. The international effort, led by the United States, is severely underfunded. The Emergency Reserve Fund allows USAID to respond to emerging health threats that pose severe risks to human health.

5. $1B for the National Institutes of Health—Vaccine Development

a. For the preclinical and clinical development and testing of vaccines and other medical countermeasures for the coronavirus.

January 26, 2020 - 2:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in COVID-19, public health emergency, news, Charles Schumer.

Press release:

Amid the unpredictable spread of the potentially fatal coronavirus, which has already been confirmed in three cases domestically, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed today (Jan. 26) that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cannot access a special federal funding account known as the "Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund" until the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), led by Secretary Alex Azar, officially declares a “public health emergency” related to the coronavirus.

Schumer made the case to affirm this emergency declaration and further revealed that in the recent budget deal he just negotiated, he was able to increase the very account relevant to combatting the coronavirus from $50 million to $85 million.

“If we have learned anything from the risks that new viruses pose to public health it is that a ‘stitch in time saves nine,’ and the more we can do to be proactive, the better off the public will be,” Schumer said.

“The CDC has been doing a tremendous job so far at being proactive and working around the clock to protect public health, but if we are going to make sure they can sustain this pace and remain at-the-ready should the outbreak get worse, they will need immediate access to critical federal funds that at the present time they remain unable to access.

"That is why, today, I am urging HHS to follow the CDC’s proactive lead: declare a formal public health emergency for the coronavirus. In doing so, HHS will unlock tens of millions for the CDC to access.”

Schumer explained that in the recent budget deal he just negotiated, he and Representative Nita Lowey, the chairwoman of House Appropriations Committee, were able to increase the account needed to combat the coronavirus from $50 million to $85 million.

Schumer explained exactly what the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund dollars will help the CDC achieve.

“The critical thing about these specific dollars is that the CDC has full discretion," Schumer said. "The agency can use them for whatever activities it deems appropriate, so long as they inform Congress. This kind of flexible funding needs to be unlocked now should this outbreak worsen."

Schumer said the dollars could also be used by the CDC for, amongst other things:

  • Epidemiological activities, such as contact tracing and monitoring of cases;
  • Additional or enhanced screenings, like at airports;
  • Support for state, local, and tribal health departments;
  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Increased staffing.

Schumer explained that the sole purpose of his push today is to ensure the feds have the dollars necessary to wage a proactive and ongoing war against this developing outbreak. Even though the current risk to the American public remains low, Schumer said the federal funds must be unlocked now so that the CDC has them at-the-ready.

He added that, thus far, the CDC’s work has been critically important and that the agency will need immediate access to more funds if coronavirus continues to infect more Americans. He made the case for the emergency declaration as he detailed what happens next at the federal level amid this developing outbreak.

Schumer also confirmed today that a SUNY Stony Brook professor, who was visiting family in Wuhan, China, has been unable to return to the United States as a result of China’s lockdown. Schumer said today that he has worked with the State Department and Embassy officials to ensure the SBU professor is in constant contact with U.S. officials. Schumer said the United States is working on arranging a flight home for the SBU professor.

The novel coronavirus (termed “2019-nCoV” by CDC) can cause a wide range of symptoms, from those similar to the common cold to more severe respiratory illness that can be fatal. There is currently no direct cure-all, but a vaccine is currently under development at the National Institutes of Health.

According to the Washington Post, Chinese officials first detected this new strain of the virus on Dec. 31 in Wuhan, China. They initially linked it to an unsanitary food market where seafood and mammals were sold for human consumption. Scientist said people who were sickened were likely to have eaten something infected with the virus.

To date, there are nearly 2,000 confirmed cases in China, more than 50 reported deaths, and confirmed cases across 10 countries. The first case in the United States, discovered in Washington State, was confirmed on Jan. 21st, and there have been reports of a second case in Illinois and a third in California.

In response to this outbreak, travelers from Wuhan, China are being screened for symptoms associated with the virus at five U.S. airports, including JFK. Additionally, China has placed travel restrictions on several cities and banned large public gatherings in an attempt to contain the virus.

To protect against infection, the CDC recommends basic hygiene techniques such as frequent hand washing, staying hydrated, and coughing into one’s arm or a tissue. If there’s a fear of animal transmission, CDC officials urge people to wash hands after contact with animals and thoroughly cook any meat before consumption.

January 14, 2020 - 11:27am

On Monday, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer called on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to finally prioritize the health and well-being of Upstate New York veterans and finally end the years-long delay of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) effort to add additional diseases to the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list.

In Western New York, there are approximately more than 32,000 Vietnam-era veterans. Statewide, there are more than 240,000 of them.

2016 National Academies report found suggestive evidence that bladder cancer and hypothyroidism were associated with veterans’ service, as well as clarified that veterans with “Parkinson-like symptoms” (Parkinsonism) should be considered eligible under the presumption that Parkinson's disease and the veterans' service are connected.

Following this report, former VA Secretary David Shulkin announced that he would add these conditions to the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list in the near future, which would allow Vietnam War-era veterans stricken by these illnesses to receive additional health care benefits, disability compensation, and care benefits to surviving spouses and dependent children and parents.

But that announcement never came after OMB blocked the move.

In addition to the failure to include bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism on the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list, the VA has also yet to act on a 2018 National Academies report that found sufficient evidence of association between exposure to herbicides and hypertension.

Even though Schumer secured a provision in the recently passed budget deal requiring the VA to issue a report to Congress in consultation with OMB on the delay in adding these conditions to the presumptive conditions list, he said this is not nearly enough. He urged the agencies to take the necessary steps to ensure that the over 240,000 New York veterans, who risked their lives to defend their country, receive the health care and benefits they need and deserve.

Just last week, Schumer called recently confirmed OIRA Administrator Paul Ray directly and implored him, as the chief overlooking all federal government regulations, to immediately prioritize our veterans’ healthcare, take a personal interest in expanding their health benefits and add these conditions to the Agent Orange Presumptive Conditions List.

“It’s unfathomable that the administration is refusing to do right by our nation’s veterans, including the more than 240,000 New York veterans that bravely served during the Vietnam era, and has unilaterally blocked the VA from expanding healthcare benefits to those exposed to Agent Orange,” Senator Schumer said.

The Right Thing to Do

“After years and years of kicking the can down the road, it is high time for the federal government to accept the substantial proof linking bladder cancer, hypertension, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to Agent Orange exposure, and add these conditions to the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list.

"It is absolutely incumbent on the administration to do everything within its power to clear a path for the VA, add these conditions to the list of Agent Orange illnesses, and finally allow veterans who are currently suffering access to the healthcare and benefits they rightly deserve; it’s not just the right thing to do, but it’s the very least we owe the brave New Yorkers who served and defended our country.”

In March of last year, Dr. Richard Stone, the executive in charge of the Veterans Health Administration, testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that the recommended new presumptive conditions would be added within 90 days, which also never happened.

Furthermore, this past October, email communications between the VA and the White House revealed that the delays were at the behest of the OMB Director Mick Mulvaney and White House advisors, who were reportedly concerned about the potential cost of adding diseases to the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list.

Emails explaining the decision to hold off on adding the conditions to the presumptive conditions list can be found here.

Exposure to Herbicide 'Agent Orange' Inflicts 'Presumed Diseases'

Schumer explained that per the Agent Orange Act of 1991, the VA automatically accepts that if a Vietnam Veteran physically served in Vietnam between January 1962 and May 1975, it is probable that the veteran was exposed to an herbicide agent like Agent Orange.

Furthermore, the Act established a list of “presumed” diseases that the VA stipulates are caused by Agent Orange exposure. Therefore, if a veteran served in Vietnam at any time between 1962-1975 and is diagnosed with one or more of the diseases VA recognizes as service connected, the VA will compensate the veteran and his or her family.

However, even though there is scientific evidence linking Parkinsonism, bladder cancer, hypertension and hypothyroidism to Agent Orange exposure, they are not currently on the VA’s list of recognized conditions.

Schumer said that is absolutely crucial that the roughly 240,000 Vietnam-era veterans in New York State receive the healthcare benefits they need and deserve.

“Adding these diseases to the Agent Orange Presumption List would only benefit the brave service members who were exposed to this chemical during the Vietnam War and are suffering from its harmful effects,” Veterans Outreach Center Executive Director and Army veteran Laura Stradley said. “Veterans Outreach Center stands with our veterans, and we support the laws that allow our brothers and sisters to access much-needed healthcare, services and support.”

January 10, 2020 - 1:02pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today urged leading technology companies that produce GPS applications to add data on all 5,358 New York State at-grade rail crossings into their programs without further delay. 

Writing to the chief  executive officers of the 10 most common GPS manufacturers that still have yet to implement the changes, Schumer explained that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), in 2016, recommended that these corporations, which include Google, INRIX, HERE Technologies, MapQuest, Omnitracs, OpenStreetMap US, Sensys Networks, Streetlight Data, Teletrac Navman, and United Parcel Service of America, include this information on at-grade rail crossings in their navigation systems.

The push for the added data follows a tragic accident in California that took the life of an engineer and injured 32 others. Since then, in New York State alone, between 2017 and 2019, there were 12 deaths and 44 injuries from at-grade rail crossing crashes.

Schumer explained that without this critical information, everyone who travels New York State, via train or automobile, is put squarely in harm’s way, and argued that given the near-universal commuter dependence on navigation applications, the GPS companies must incorporate this critical geographic data into their apps with all due haste.

“In today’s world, the use of portable GPS is a daily necessity for Upstate New York drivers to travel to and from work, to see families, to recreate, to shop and to drive almost anywhere," Senator Schumer said. "However, without data on perilous at-grade rail crossings included in these GPS applications and maps, countless drivers are left to venture blind into perilous—and potentially fatal—situations.

"That’s why today I’m urging the leading providers of portable navigation systems, from MapQuest to Google, to immediately add all 5,358 New York at-grade rail crossings—both public and private—to their systems. Even one preventable death from such an accident is one too many, and with 12 in New York alone since the NTSB first issued this vital recommendation, there is no more time to waste.”

Schumer explained that in 2015, the NTSB investigated a fatal crash in Oxnard, Calif., in which a train collided with a truck that had become lodged on the train track. The NTSB concluded that the driver, who was relying on a GPS application, misinterpreted the available audio and visual cues, causing him to turn onto the railroad tracks.

Schumer said that at the time of the crash, lights and gates at the crossing were not active because no train was approaching at the time.

Given those facts and details, NTSB recommended that navigation applications include grade crossing-related geographic data “to provide road users with additional safety cues and to reduce the likelihood of crashes at or near public or private grade crossings.”

Since the NTSB recommendation was issued, Schumer highlighted, there were 273 at-grade railroad crashes across the United States in 2017, the last year that data is available. Furthermore, in just New York State between 2017 and 2019, there were 12 deaths and 44 injuries from at-grade rail crossings.

Schumer argued that as New York State and the entire country make every effort to move towards zero traffic fatalities, even one preventable death is unacceptable, let alone 12. Schumer said without these vital safety improvements, commuters, train operators and pedestrians will continue to be at risk as they travel on roads that intersect public and private grade crossings.

In conclusion, Schumer urged the GPS companies to add all 5,358 at-grade crossings into maps and programs at once, to improve safety on New York State roads and highways and, inevitably, save precious lives.

January 6, 2020 - 1:49pm

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today released the following statement, following his meeting with Commissioner of Major League Baseball (MLB) Rob Manfred:

“Last month, Commissioner Manfred and I had a productive meeting to discuss Minor League Baseball’s presence in New York. Throughout the state, from Binghamton to Auburn, to Batavia, Staten Island and beyond baseball is woven into the very fabric of our communities, with fan bases that glean a sense of pride and joy from their success.

"That is why I will continue to fight to ensure that these teams remain in those communities. It is critical going forward that all of the parties — from team owners, to local leaders, to MLB and MiLB representatives—step up to the plate and negotiate in good faith,” Senator Schumer said.In fact, I have urged MLB officials to come to these communities and hear directly from local leaders, and I expect that will occur early this year.” 

 “We appreciate Senator Schumer’s efforts to bring the parties together to discuss the issues that currently exist in Minor League Baseball,” said Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred Jr. “We are at the very early stage of negotiations and are hopeful that Minor League Baseball will come to the negotiating room and engage in good faith negotiations in an effort to make a deal.”

In November, news reports revealed that MLB proposed plans to take 42 teams that are currently affiliated with Major League teams and reassign them to compete in a newly-formed league, called the Dream League. Reports indicate that MLB’s proposal would mean the reassignment of four teams across New York State: the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, Batavia Muckdogs, Auburn Doubledays and Staten Island Yankees — and an alteration of the business plans of the Tri-City Valleycats, Hudson Valley Renegades and Brooklyn Cyclones.

In November, after learning of the proposal, Schumer wrote to MLB to express his serious concerns, request the league sit down with local stakeholders to discuss the plan and search for constructive solutions that would maintain minor league baseball’s strong presence in Upstate New York.

In the time since, MLB met with representatives of MiLB and team owners to work through and negotiate potential plans in further detail. Schumer is now urging those conversations to continue and for all of the parties to negotiate in good faith to figure out a way to preserve baseball throughout Upstate New York.

January 3, 2020 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in NY-27, Chris Jacobs, Rob Ortt, news, Charles Schumer.

Statement from State Sen. Rob Ortt, candidate for NY-27:

“Soleimani and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force has long been a terrorist organization. They are directly responsible for hundreds of U.S. servicemember deaths in Iraq. Iran’s goal has always been to destabilize Iraq and exert its influence in the Middle East. This strike eliminates one of the masterminds of those efforts.”

Statement from State Sen. Chris Jacobs, candidate for NY-27:

“I applaud President Trump for taking decisive action yesterday to neutralize a long-standing terrorist threat - Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force. Soleimani was responsible for killing hundreds of American Soldiers and injuring countless more. The organization which he headed up (Quds Force) has been designated as a terror group since 2007 and this past spring Sec. Pompeo designated him a terrorist. The airstrike which killed him is another example of President Trump’s strong leadership in confronting Iran’s continued perpetration of state-sponsored terrorism and President Trump continues to stand for freedom and justice on the global stage.”

Statement from Sen. Chuck Schumer:

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding the airstrike in Iraq against Major General Qasem Soleimani. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks:

Last night, the United States conducted a military operation designed to kill Major General Qasem Soleimani, a notorious terrorist. No one should shed a tear over his death.

The operation against Soleimani in Iraq was conducted, however, without specific authorization and any advance notification or consultation with Congress. I am a member of the Gang of Eight, which is typically briefed in advance of operations of this level of significance. We were not.

The lack of advanced consultation and transparency with Congress was put in the Constitution, or rather the need for advanced consultation and transparency with Congress, was put in the Constitution for a reason: because the lack of advanced consultation and transparency with Congress can lead to hasty and ill-considered decisions. When the security of the nation is at stake, decisions must not be made in a vacuum. The framers of the Constitution gave war powers to the legislature and made the executive the commander-in-chief for the precise reason of forcing the two branches of government to consult with one another when it came to matters of war and of peace.

It is paramount for administrations to get an outside view to prevent groupthink and rash action—to be asked probing questions, not from your inner and often insulated circle but from others, particularly Congress, which forces an administration, before it acts, to answer very serious questions.

The administration did not consult in this case, and I fear that those very serious questions have not been answered and may not be fully considered.

Among those questions:

  • What was the legal basis for conducting this operation? And how far does that legal basis extend?
  • Iran has many dangerous surrogates in the region and a whole range of possible responses. Which response do we expect? Which are most likely?
  • Do we have plans to counter all of the possible responses? How effective will our counters be?
  • What does this action mean for the long-term stability of Iraq and the trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives sacrificed there?
  • How does the administration plan to manage an escalation of hostilities? And how does the administration plan to avoid a larger and potentially endless conflagration in the Middle East?

These are questions that must be answered.

It is my view that the president does not have the authority for a war with Iran. If he plans a large increase in troops and potential hostility over a longer time, the administration will require Congressional approval and the approval of the American people.

The president’s decision may add to an already dangerous and difficult situation in the Middle East.

The risk of a much longer military engagement in the Middle East is acute and immediate. This action may well have brought our nation closer to another endless war, exactly the kind of endless war the president promised he would not drag us into.

As our citizens and those of our allies evacuate Iraq and troops prepare for retaliatory action, Congress needs answers, to these questions and others, from the administration immediately. 

And the American people need answers as well.

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