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Sen. Charles E. Schumer

January 15, 2021 - 11:55am

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced Thursday that after numerous discussions with President-elect Joe Biden and his team, his incoming administration’s FEMA will deliver roughly $2 billion MORE to New York State for COVID-19 relief.

Schumer said that while these funds are meant to help alleviate the mounting local costs associated with the pandemic, they will ultimately help New York State tackle COVID-related budget gaps.

The money, Schumer explained, is tied to the March 2020 FEMA Disaster Declaration declared by the Trump administration. Under that declaration and current policy, 75 percent of NYS COVID-related expenses are covered by a Disaster Relief Fund (DRF.) Now, the expenses covered will be 100 percent -- and this will deliver roughly $2 billion more to New York within the next several months.

“President-elect Biden is laser-focused on America’s economic recovery, and this recovery begins with tackling the costs states and local governments have incurred in managing the pandemic,” Senator Schumer said.

“For New York, the costs have been huge and will take years to overcome entirely, but achieving my goal of 100-percent FEMA cost share to New York will mean a sigh of relief for all New Yorkers because these critical dollars will help protect essential services and workers while we deal with badly burdened budgets that have been gut-punched by COVID. I am glad we could get this done even before the President-elect is sworn in because it shows how we will be hitting the ground running come January 20th.” 

Schumer has been pushing for 100-percent FEMA cost share since the crisis began.

Early on, in March 2020, Schumer wrote FEMA saying, “I write today to urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to wave the 25 percent state cost share associated with any coronavirus disease (COVID-19) work under the March 13 Emergency Declaration. As New York has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., I urge the FEMA to request this waiver from the President as soon as possible.”

Schumer spent the next month’s making more calls, speaking with President Trump and hammering home the critical need for 100-percent relief. His advocacy continued for months thereafter and included many meetings, calls, and additional letters.  

New York State has been responding to COVID since last March, spending limited funds on masks, extra nurses and doctors, temporary hospitals, and so much more. Because of Schumer’s earlier pushes, FEMA told the state that many of these expenses are covered, similar to insurance, under the COVID declarations.

Over time the state has submitted to FEMA a log of these expenses and FEMA has assessed those expenses. For every dollar spent, FEMA and federal government currently cover 75 cents and the state provides the remaining 25 cents. Now, after Schumer’s push, the incoming Biden administration’s FEMA will cover 100-percent of eligible expenses, delivering roughly $2 billion more to the State of New York.

January 4, 2021 - 1:13pm

Press release:

After successfully securing in July an amendment to the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which expanded the list of diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced Jan. 3 that the FY2021 NDAA included his amendment, which officially authorizes $8 billion in new benefits for vets suffering from Agent Orange-linked illnesses.

Schumer explained that upon the president’s signature, nearly 240,000 veterans around the country who might be suffering from bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and parkinsonism will be able to access healthcare and benefits, numbers that have expanded because of the senator’s amendment associating additional diseases with exposure to the herbicide commonly referred to as Agent Orange.

“After years and years of suffering and fighting, I proudly stood shoulder to shoulder with our Vietnam Vets who were exposed to Agent Orange to get Congress to finally take a major step forward so they get access to the medical care they need,” said Senator Schumer. “It’s taken far too long, but I join veterans across the country in celebrating today as a victory for those who put their lives on the line finally getting the healthcare they deserve.”

Schumer added, “I’m especially proud today to have expanded access to this incoming influx of benefits by securing an amendment that adds bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to THE LIST of diseases associated with Agent Orange. Our veterans did not hesitate in the face of danger to fight for our country, and we must not nickel and dime them as they fight for their health now.”

The senator has fought for years to not only secure funding for Agent Orange-affected veterans’ health benefits, but also to increase the number of veterans who have access to those benefits. Earlier this year, Schumer unveiled his plan to add an expansion of the illnesses associated with exposure to "Agent Orange" to the NDAA.

The senator has previously visited Staten Island, Rochester, Albany, Utica, Dunkirk, Wallkill, and Ithaca to meet with Vietnam vets and advocate for an expansion of the associated illnesses list. Schumer said that the nation’s Vietnam veterans – more than 240,000 of whom are in New York – who were exposed to Agent Orange, have been calling on the feds to expand the list of diseases associated with the herbicide exposure.

Schumer added "I am proud to have helped our Vietnam vets cut through bureaucratic red-tape and with only the president’s signature needed, New York’s vets are closer than ever to getting the medial access they deserve.”

Schumer emphasized the importance of adding added bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to the list of diseases associated with ‘Agent Orange’ exposure, and reiterated just how long this fight has been waged. Last year, the Senator secured a provision in the budget deal requiring OMB and the VA to issue a detailed report to Congress on the delay in adding these conditions to the presumptive conditions list, BUT the report was woefully insufficient and Schumer said those agencies failed to properly explain why they were denying veterans. In addition to the failure to include bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism on the Agent Orange presumptive conditions list, the VA has never acted on a 2018 National Academies report that found sufficient evidence of association between exposure to herbicides and hypertension.

Schumer also 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 has been scientific evidence linking Parkinsonism, bladder cancer and hypothyroidism to Agent Orange exposure, they are not currently on the VA’s list of recognized presumptive conditions.

Schumer said if an Agent Orange-related condition isn’t specifically listed on the presumptive conditions list then the VA forces the suffering veterans and their families to argue their claim in a lengthy, bureaucratic appeals process that can last years and often end in a denial. In many cases the veteran will die before the process is even concluded.

Schumer said veterans shouldn’t have to wage their own war to gather the scientific facts and medical opinions about hypothyroidism in order to receive the care and benefits needed to treat the illnesses they contracted because they served our nation. Schumer said that is absolutely crucial that thousands of Vietnam-era veterans in New York State receive the healthcare benefits they need and deserve, and final passage of his amendment in the NDAA will allow that to happen.

December 23, 2020 - 1:36pm

Press release:

Just back from Washington, D.C., U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said about $800 million for Upstate NY and NYS, separate from New York City, is now on the way to help ensure the coronavirus vaccine and other coronavirus care efforts will be available here.

Schumer said local Upstate governments should not be on the hook for a single dollar related to the costs of distributing the new vaccine, along with testing or tracing for the virus.

Schumer said these just-locked fed funds will help to ensure New Yorkers can access the vaccine at local hospitals. He detailed the federal dollars as he explained what this means for public health and those most at risk to the virus across New York State.  

“The biggest thing we want to ensure about the coronavirus vaccine is universal access—no barriers—for New Yorkers,” Senator Schumer said. “Part of the way we do that, and to ensure a free vaccine is available here in New York, centers on the federal funds we just secured in the COVID relief bill voted on late last night.

"Communities throughout Upstate will get a sizable share of over $775 million dollars to do these things, and I am here to say the money is on the way, and to get the word out about what happens next for localities as they ramp up with distribution.

“All in, New York communities and the state will be getting about $800 million to distribute the vaccine, test, trace, and for any other public health initiatives related to COVID. This can mean nursing home safety, home care, any sort of mitigation—we worked to get this language and the funding into the bill, and now it is time to get the word out so great public hospitals, and all our New York hospitals, can succeed in the collective goal of public health."

For Upstate New York and New York State, Schumer detailed the exact dollar breakdowns, now that the bill has passed:

$1.55 Billion – Vaccine, Testing, and Tracing, and Flexible Local Health Funding. The breakdown means Upstate New York will get a sizable share of $775 million dollars.

  • $127M for NYS for vaccine distribution (Upstate to get a sizable share)
  • $648M for NYS testing, tracing, isolation support and COVID mitigation (Upstate to get a sizable share)

“This is a start, it’s not the entirety of what we need—this entire bill was not that—but this is a down payment amid an ongoing pandemic,” Schumer said.“State and local governments should not be out a single dollar to distribute the new COVID vaccine, test or trace for the virus, and these new federal funds mean a measure of help is on the way to support that endeavor.”

Nationally, Schumer said the just-passed relief bill provides essential funding for vaccine procurement and distribution, providing roughly $20 billion for manufacturing, production and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, and ancillary supplies, nearly $9 billion to the CDC and states for vaccine distribution and more than $3 billion for the strategic national stockpile.

This includes $300 million specifically directed to high-risk and underserved populations for vaccine distribution, including communities of color.

The bill provides more than $22 billion, all sent directly to states, for testing, contact tracing and COVID-19 mitigation programs. Of this total, $2.5 billion will be distributed for targeted use in high-risk and underserved populations, including communities of color, like here in New York.

Sufficient funding for vaccine distribution has been a key priority for President-elect Biden, who, according to reports, has pledged to oversee the administration of 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in his first 100 days in office.

Biden has said publicly that without proper funding for distribution, the efforts described above could slow or be delayed. Schumer says we do not want that to happen, and why we must continue to assess funding needs in real time.

Public health officials have said the goal is to provide vaccinations to as many as 20 million Americans by the first week of January.

December 21, 2020 - 2:00pm

Press release:

With a bipartisan spending and COVID-19 relief deal just reached, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer detailed its pending impact on Upstate New York as more than $50 billion.

The deal includes direct stimulus checks, extending enhanced unemployment insurance, and secures another round of forgivable PPP for small businesses, restaurants and nonprofits across the state. As part of the deal, more than $13 billion flows DIRECTLY to New York State government via education funding, vaccine distribution, COVID-19 health funding, emergency assistance for renters and more.

“Today’s deal marks $50 billion-plus for New York workers, families, renters, communities, healthcare organizations and New York government —the things the federal government must immediately fund to get us through this pandemic,” Senator Schumer said. “This marks the second biggest relief bill in the nation’s history—second to the CARES Act—and it delivers aid that is urgently needed by the unemployed, by renters at risk of losing their homes, by small business owners throughout New York that are worried about going out of business, by people seeking vaccination, by schools that spent money to keep kids safe, by families struggling to make ends meet and so much more.

"Clearly, there is more to be done –this is not a stimulus this is an EMERGENCY SURVIVAL bill, and we will fight for more relief under President(-elect) Biden, because this crisis is not over. New York State governments will directly receive over $13 billion dollars in a variety of ways from mass transit aid, to education aid, to money for vaccinations and testing.

"In addition to direct stimulus checks, extending enhanced unemployment insurance, this deal provides another round of PPP and grants for small businesses across the state, including set-asides for minority-owned and other underserved businesses and new larger forgivable loans for restaurants as part of a funding bridge to the Biden Administration where we will fight secure additional relief."

“In addition, the center of New York’s cultural life—independent music and live event venues, independent movie theaters, museums and other cultural institutions—will receive dedicated aid to stay alive here in New York. Direct aid in the form of education funding, transit funding and highways, vaccine distribution and COVID health funding, along with emergency assistance for renters are just some of the immediate ways this legislation will help the state and city’s budgets amid the crisis."

The details and the impact on New York appear in the breakdown below. These numbers are tentative.


$5.8 Billion – Education Stabilization Fund

  • $4B – Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, provides relief to K-12 public schools across the State of New York.
  • $1.4B – Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, directs funds to New York’s university system, like SUNY and CUNY.
  • $313M – Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, the governor can use these funds at his discretion to support the state’s K-12 education and higher education needs related to COVID-19. 

----Including a set-aside that will be prioritized to private schools serving low-income students who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

$200 Million – Emergency Transit Relief will support county bus services and upstate transit agencies.

$426 Million -- Critical aid to the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to backstop declining revenues and support construction jobs.

$105.5 Million – Relief for New York airports to continue operating safely during the pandemic. Upstate airports will receive: $6.4M for the Hudson Valley, $6.5M for the Capital Region, $6.9M for Central New York, $4.8M for the Finger Lakes, $7.6M for Western New York, and $4.1M for the Southern Tier. 


$1.6 Billion – Vaccine, Testing, and Tracing, and Flexible Local Health Funding: $810M for NYS and $810M for NYC

  • $135M for NYC for vaccine distribution
  • $135M for NYS for vaccine distribution
  • $675M for NYC testing, tracing, isolation support and COVID-19 mitigation
  • $675M for NYS testing, tracing, isolation support and COVID-19 mitigation


$1.3 Billion  -- Emergency Rental Assistance funding. This is a historic and unprecedented federal emergency rental and utility assistance program. It will assist multiple New York government entities and by extension help provide critical aid to keep thousands of New Yorkers safely in their homes.

The CDC federal eviction moratorium will also be extended until Jan. 31 and can be extended further by the next administration.


 $465 Million – Child Care Development Block Grants (CCDBG) – These funds ensure that the child care sector will continue to assist essential workers and working families, and to support child care providers in meeting their increased operation costs during the pandemic.


$1 Billion -- FEMA estimates that in Fiscal Year 2021 New York will receive about $1 billion in FEMA aid for COVID-19 alone. Schumer just negotiated an increase of these funds in this Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) account.





Over $6.5 Billion for NY in Enhanced Unemployment Compensation – This bill provides billions in additional federal relief for struggling New Yorkers by extending the historic unemployment insurance reforms established in the CARES Act through March 14. Importantly, it reinstates the critical lifeline of the enhanced unemployment assistance, providing an additional $300 per week on top of all state and federal unemployment benefits. The bill also:

  • Extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides unemployment benefits to the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers, part-time workers and other New Yorkers in nontraditional employment, and increases the number of weeks of PUA benefits an individual can claim from 39 to 50.
  • Provides 24 additional weeks of federally funded unemployment insurance benefits to New Yorkers who have exhausted their regular state benefits.
  • Continues the full federal financing of state Shared Work programs, allowing thousands of New York employers to keep their valued employees on payroll during this downturn.
  • Delivers a federally funded $100 per week additional “mixed-earner” benefit to New Yorkers who have a combination of traditional (W-2) and independent employment (1099) income and are disqualified from receiving PUA because they are still eligible for regular state benefits.

$9 Billion for New Yorkers – Direct cash payments to New Yorkers, including $600 for individuals making up to $75,000, $1,200 for couples making less than $150,000, and an additional $600 per child. This amounts to $2,400 for a family of (4).              

$260 Million – FEMA’s funeral assistance – financial aid to those who have lost a loved one among the over 35,000 deaths in New York caused by COVID – which comes at no cost to the state. This historic use of FEMA’s funeral assistance program ensures those grappling with unspeakable loss are not also saddled with the financial burden of exorbitant funeral costs.


Over $20 Billion for New York – Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide a second round of forgivable loans to New York small businesses, including restaurants, nonprofits and grant assistance to very small, underserved businesses and live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions, as well as:

  • New dedicated set-aside for PPP lending through Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, and other community lenders to reach minority-owned and other underserved small businesses and nonprofits.
  • New dedicated set-aside for very small businesses to gain greater access to PPP.
  • New larger forgivable loans for the restaurant and hospitality industries and the ability to use funds for PPE, outdoor dining enhancements, and more.
  • “SAVE OUR STAGES” ($15B NATIONALLY) -- Dedicated relief for Broadway, comedy halls, music venues, other live entertainment, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions—New York is positioned to get a large share of the $15 billion. 
  • Housing cooperatives, tourism organizations, and local newspaper, TV and radio stations made eligible for PPP.
  • $10,000 SBA grants will be available for very small and underserved businesses in low-income communities.
  • Provides $3.5 billion to resume debt relief payments of principal and interest (P&I) on small business loans guaranteed by the SBA under the 7(a), 504 and microloan programs.
  • Includes $2 billion to enhance SBA’s core programs, including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and the Microloan program, by making them more affordable and useful to small businesses.
  • SBA Microloan Program is funded at $57 million to provide technical assistance and leverage about $64 million in microloans for minority-owned and other underserved small businesses.

The bill also extends and expands the refundable Employee Retention Tax Credit. The extension of this tax credit, through July 1, will help keep thousands of additional New Yorkers on payroll and small and mid-size employers all across New York afloat.

$15 billion to renew the CARES Act Airline Payroll Support Program which will save thousands of New York airline jobs by keeping workers on payroll without furloughs or reducing pay rates and benefits until March 31 New York will receive sizable share of these funds.

$1 billion in CARES ACT Contractor Payroll Support Program will help thousands of New York’s aviation industry contractor workers keep their paychecks.


$7 billion -- Emergency Benefit for Broadband Service to provide free or low-cost broadband service to low-income families or those who have been recently laid off or furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New York will receive sizable share of these funds.


$1 billion to New York in support and relief for hospitals, mental health, community health centers and providers.


$13 billion nationally in Nutrition Assistance (NY will get a sizable share), which includes:

  • A 15-percent increase in SNAP benefits from January through June 30 to support the nearly 2.8 million New Yorkers who receive benefits;
  • Increased access to nutrition benefits by waiving college student work requirements;
  • Provides $5 million to add additional retailers to online SNAP, including for farmers markets and direct to consumer sales;
  • Additional funding for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to fund the continued work of New York’s food banks;
  • Funding for senior nutrition through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) and Meals on Wheels program;
  • Includes critical improvements to the Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) program, which provides additional nutrition benefits for families with children who are eligible for free school lunches to help cover the cost of meals children would have otherwise received at school; 
  • Allocates $4.6 billion nationally to expand P-EBT by extending the program to help cover cost of meals for kids enrolled in childcare programs;
  • Nutrition assistance grants for Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;
  • Funds to support the food supply chain through food purchases, donations to food banks, and support for local food systems.


$13 billion nationally in Agricultural Assistance (NY will get a sizable share), which includes:

  • $400 million set aside to support dairy product donations to encourage donations of dairy products and minimize food waste;
  • $325 million set aside for specialty crops, including $225 million for supplemental payments to producers of specialty crops for losses in 2019 and $100 million for Specialty Crop Block Grants (SCBG) to support investments in specialty crop marketing, increasing training, and research investments;
  • $100 million for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP), which supports the development and expansion of local food businesses and markets, and helps increase consumer access to locally and regionally produced agricultural products;
  • $28 million in state block grants to support farmer and rancher stress management and mental health.


$300 million nationally in fisheries assistance, which includes:

  • $300 million available nationally for assistance to fisheries participants to help mitigate coronavirus-related economic impacts;
  • $30 million set aside for Tribal fisheries of federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native groups;
  • $15 million set aside for fishery participants in states bordering the Great Lakes.


December 7, 2020 - 2:35pm

Press release:

Following his unveiling of his bipartisan American Foundries Act and successful addition of this bill as an amendment in July to the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced the final version of the FY2021 NDAA includes his provision to bolster U.S. leadership in the semiconductor and broader microelectronics industries.

The senator explained that the new programs included in NDAA will increase federal support for semiconductor manufacturing by providing new federal incentives to conduct advanced research and development of semiconductor technology, secure the supply chain, and ensure national and economic security by reducing reliance on foreign semiconductor manufacturing.

“The economic and national security risks posed by relying too heavily on foreign semiconductor suppliers cannot be ignored, and Upstate New York, which has a robust semiconductor industry, is the perfect place to grow domestic semiconductor R&D and manufacturing by leaps and bounds,” Senator Schumer said.

“America 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. With today’s victory, we are one step closer to ensuring our domestic microelectronics industry can safely and securely supply our military, intelligence agencies, and other government needs.

"This is a step essential to our national security and to U.S. leadership in this critical industry. I’m pleased to deliver this win in this year’s final NDAA for the Upstate New York economy and the entire country’s national security and competitiveness."

The senator 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 U.S. 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 senators 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.

Schumer has long-championed increased efforts to expand the domestic microelectronics industry, supporting companies like GlobalFoundries, which houses their most advanced "Fab 8" manufacturing facility in Malta, New York, IBM, and others. With New York home to multiple major companies and research institutions in the semiconductor industry, the state is positioned to securely supply the U.S. government with critical technologies and maintain U.S. leadership in this technology. It offers a tremendous opportunity for New York’s semiconductor companies to expand operations, create more jobs in Upstate New York, and help the United States reduce its reliance on foreign semiconductor manufacturing.

Supporters of the original amendment included 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.

"We applaud Senator Schumer for his leadership and dedication to attract significant semiconductor investments and innovations back to America," said Steve Hyde, President and CEO of the Genesee County Economic Development Center. "The strategic advantages created by Senator Schumer‘s amendment are a critical step forward for our economy. The semiconductor industry has a clear pathway for success through New York's unmatched talent base and the high-capacity infrastructure available at the 1,250-acre Western New York Science & Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park in Genesee County."

Emmanuel P. Giannelis, vice provost for Research and Vice President for Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property and Research Policy at Cornell University, said, “Senator Schumer has long recognized that the best way to keep America at the forefront of the technology revolution is to invest in research and development here at home.

"Not only does the American Foundries Act of 2020 direct critical resources into expanding the domestic production of microelectronics, it also points the way to the future with substantial funding for research and innovation. It is especially fitting, given the importance of the semiconductor industry to national security, that this important proposal is moving through Congress as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. Cornell University is pleased to support the American Foundries Act and commends Senator Schumer for his leadership.”

Details on the original amendment that has been integrated into the final NDAA can be found below. 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 180 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 microelectronics leadership and competitiveness 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 encourage the Secretary of Labor to work with the private sector on workforce training and apprenticeships in semiconductor manufacturing, and establish a Department of Defense National Network for Microelectronics Research and Development.
November 23, 2020 - 5:30pm

Press release:

Even a year as tumultuous as 2020, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Senate Democratic Leader, today completed his 22nd consecutive tour of all 62 New York State counties — an accomplishment that continues his track record as the first New York State public official to visit every single county in New York each year he has been in office.

Over the course of the year, Schumer made 86 county visits to Upstate New York and Long Island. He visited counties in the Capital Region 15 times; Western New York six times; Central New York eight times; the Rochester-Finger Lakes 12 times; the Southern Tier 10 times; the Hudson Valley 14 times; the North Country eight times; and Long Island 13 times.

"Twenty-two years ago, upon my election to the United States Senate in 1998, I promised that each and every year I served, I would visit all 62 of New York State’s diverse counties," Schumer said. "Not only has this ritual remained a steadfast passion of mine because of all I learn from my constituents and bring to Washington, D.C., as both a senator and the Democratic Leader of the Senate.

"Especially this year, when New York battled the global health and economic pandemic especially hard, visiting all 62 counties was vital for me to learn firsthand the struggles and needs of New Yorkers, from one end of the state to the other. Through a year that much has changed – I, too, traveled with masks and disinfectant in tow to much smaller and more understated events – one thing remained the same: my commitment, dedication, and love for New York.

"This year, more than ever before, I learned more about the struggles and needs of New York and saw New Yorkers resilience, perseverance, and grit and time and time again the very best New York has to offer even during our darkest of days. Although I’ve gained the title of Senate Democratic Leader, my proudest and most principal titles have been, and will always remain, New York’s Senator and ‘New Yorker.’ "

Highlights of the year include:

Delivered $167 Billion for New York in COVID Relief: During negotiations for the CARES Act, Schumer worked for days to deliver a plan that best protected New York’s workers, small businesses, and health centers so they could receive the help they needed amidst the COVID crisis.

Secured Nation’s First Major Disaster Declaration for COVID-19, Unlocking Almost $6 billion in Federal FEMA Support for New York State: Following Schumer’s tireless advocacy and early calls for broad federal support from FEMA, New York State was granted the first Major Disaster Declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic of any state in the country. Schumer has continued to push the Administrator and the President to provide all support available to New York under FEMA’s control, delivering almost $6 billion for the state thus far, with over $1 billion in reimbursement for COVID-19 costs incurred by the state, localities, and eligible non-profits, like purchasing personal protective equipment and paying health care workers overtime.

Secured Over $6 Billion in FMAP Funds For NYS and its Counties To Provide Vital Budget and Health Care Relief: Senator Schumer successfully pushed for Congress to include a cost-sharing provision in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act so New York’s counties, which pay part of Medicaid’s costs, could benefit from the increase federal Medicaid support. Schumer had successfully championed this provision in prior disaster response legislation, including after 9-11, Hurricane Sandy and the 2008 financial meltdown. The legislation immediately unlocked over $6 billion in statewide dollars related to healthcare funds known as "FMAP" for New York state and its counties to cover healthcare costs, $1 billion in unemployment benefits, free testing, pair emergency leave, meals for homebound seniors, and other critical services.

Fighting Hunger by Securing Pandemic-EBT Program Extension through September 2021: After tirelessly advocating for expanded nutrition benefits, Senator Schumer secured numerous nutrition benefits in the negotiations for the Continuing Resolution. The Continuing Resolution extended P-EBT benefits through Sept. 30, 2021 and creates a pathway to allow territories to participate in the P-EBT program. Roughly 2.1 million students across New York State are eligible for the P-EBT program, which provides families with additional nutrition assistance for students when schools are closed or in virtual learning.

Boosted NYS Hemp Growers and Producers to Create Jobs: Senator Schumer called on USDA to delay the implementation of the USDA’s U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program final rule and urged USDA to respond to the numerous concerns of hemp growers and producers in Upstate NY. The senator worked closely with the House of Representatives to include language in the Continuing Resolution that extends the authorization for the 2014 hemp pilot program regulations through Sept. 30, 2021, which will give New York hemp farmers additional time to come into compliance with USDA’s new regulations for hemp.

Secured Over $409 Million for NYS Farmers: Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Senator Schumer has pushed USDA to expand the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to include as many commodities as possible and ensure New York State farmers receive the assistance they need. Senator Schumer lobbied USDA to include more specialty crops, small livestock, goats, microgreens, nursery and greenhouse commodities, nontraditional crops, and more on the list of eligible crops for CFAP. Following his efforts, USDA expanded the eligibility lists for CFAP 1 and rolled out a second CFAP program, CFAP 2, which included a significantly expanded list of eligible crops. To date, New York farmers have received over $222 million in assistance through the CFAP 1 program and $187 million through CFAP 2.

October 21, 2020 - 2:40pm

Press release:

As coronavirus cases rise across the country, "sparking worries the next big wave has begun," school districts throughout Upstate New York face a shortage of pediatric rapid tests needed to safely and efficiently continue in-person teaching throughout the winter, and even leaving some districts unsure how students will even be tested at all.

Today, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that the feds, specifically the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is sitting on as much as $9 billion dollars needed right now as part of a more coordinated and robust virus testing regime as new standards require any symptomatic student or family member to have a rapid turnaround test within 48 hours or the school must presume a positive result and begin contact tracing.

The senator said Upstate New York alone will need millions of dollars to conduct sufficient rapid testing and tracing programs in schools to keep students and their families safe from the virus.

Schumer demanded HHS release the testing dollars he helped to originally secure in prior COVID relief legislation right now. Schumer also announced his intention to fight for more of those funds as the possibility of a second wave emerges and as a COVID relief deal, long hamstrung by a divided White House and Senate Leader McConnell, is considered. 

“There’s absolutely no question that the health and safety of all students across Upstate New York is paramount, bar none. However, as any Upstate New Yorker can tell you, with allergy season upon us and flu season around the corner, in order to keep our students safe we’re going to need an influx of rapid tests and we’re going to need them quickly,” Senator Schumer said.

“Right now, the feds are sitting on over $9 billion that can and should be long out the door, being used to ramp up testing and tracing for students across the state. Those dollars should be used to get rapid tests to New York students and ensure peace of mind and some semblance of stability to students, families, and teachers who have already endured a tumultuous year.”

Schumer said that thousands of students and people Upstate will need to be tested every day, should a second wave hit hard, and that an effort like that will cost money the federal government is responsible for. Schumer made the case for applying the lessons learned over the past many months — right now — not after it’s too late.

According to the The New York Times, there were 4,675 new cases of COVID-19 in Upstate New York in the last week and the state reported that some regions are seeing up to a 1.5-percent positivity rate.

“This administration must remember sobering lessons and apply them. I first called for a public health emergency declaration on January 26, 2020 but that call was not heeded and inaction cost us precious time, money — and most critically — it cost this country lives.

The federal government cannot and must not repeat COVID mistakes of the past months. Instead, it must use the dollars it has and the premise of robust testing and tracing to tamp down any second wave of this virus and lead us to a true recovery,” Schumer added. 

Schumer has repeatedly expressed his concerns and fought to improve testing and contact tracing throughout the country and New York State. In March, Schumer wrote to the CDC and FDA regarding federal barriers New York was facing in its effort to fully and quickly test people for COVID-19.

The testing capacity was not sufficient to meet New York’s needs and he urged the CDC and FDA to work with New York health officials. Now, as coronavirus cases across the country are rising again, the feds are sitting on money, billions of dollars, that is critical to delivering a coordinated and robust testing regime needed to offset the chances of a strong second wave of the virus. 

According to the Washington Post, for almost a month, new COVID cases have been trending upward and more than 20 states have hit a new high in their seven-day average of case counts, and more than half of those states set records again last week. The rising numbers are especially concerning because they set the stage for an even greater surge this winter.

The newspaper warned that this upward trend comes before the increased mingling of people expected to arrive with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, much of which could be indoors as the weather cools, thereby increasing the chance of transmission.

September 17, 2020 - 2:20pm

Press release:

Continuing his fight to make a college education more accessible for every New Yorker, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced a plan to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for federal student loan borrowers.

The resolution outlines how the next president should use existing executive authority under the Higher Education Act to substantially cancel student loan debt for students in New York and across the country, and ensure there is no tax liability for federal student loan borrowers resulting from administrative debt collection.

Schumer said addressing the student loan crisis will be one of the first legislative actions he will prioritize in the new 117th Congress in January.

“Millions of young New Yorkers and their families have been crushed by student loan debt greatly impeding their ability to begin careers and build the financial resources needed to build their futures,” Senator Schumer said. “For far too long the sunny, American optimism of our young people has been clouded by crippling student debt.

"Education is supposed to be a ladder up, but studies have shown that student loans hold people back and prevent young college graduates from owning homes or starting small businesses. This holds our entire economy back, which we cannot afford after the financial devastation of COVID. That is why I will prioritize student debt forgiveness in 2021, bringing immediate relief to millions of New Yorkers and boosting our economy.”

Schumer added, “The bottom line is that the cost of college is out of control and paying for it forces millions of students and families to take on crippling debt, which greatly impedes students’ ability to get started and succeed after graduation. It is like starting a long walk with a backpack stuffed with bricks. This plan to cancel student debt on federal loans will substantially lighten that load and give recent graduates a huge boost that will launch them into a much brighter future – that will energize the economy and substantially expand our dwindling middle class.”  

The senator noted that this plan will provide complete forgiveness of student loans for more than 75 percent of borrowers across the country and at least some debt forgiveness for 95 percent of people with student loan debt. This is especially good news for the nearly 2.4 million New Yorkers with outstanding student loans and a cumulative debt of $89.5 billion as of March, according to studentaid.gov.

Schumer explained that student debt cancellation can provide immediate relief to millions who are struggling during this pandemic and recession, and give a boost to our struggling economy through a consumer-driven economic stimulus that can result in greater home-buying rates and housing stability, higher college completion rates, and greater small business formation.

More than 100 community, civil rights, consumer, and student advocacy organizations have already come out in support of using executive authority to cancel student loan debt. 

Congress has already granted the Secretary of Education the legal authority to broadly cancel student debt under section 432(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1082(a)), which grants the Secretary the authority to modify, "... compromise, waive, or release any right, title, claim, lien, or demand, however acquired, including any equity or any right of redemption."

The Department of Education has reportedly used this authority to implement modest relief for federal student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The resolution aims to:

  • Recognize the Secretary of Education's broad administrative authority to cancel Federal student loan debt under the existing authorities of section 432(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1082(a));
  • Call on the President of the United States to take executive action to administratively cancel up to $50,000 in Federal student loan debt for Federal student loan borrowers using existing legal authorities under such section 432(a), and any other authorities available under the law;
  • Encourage the President of the United States, in taking such executive action, to use the executive's authority under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to ensure no tax liability for Federal student loan borrowers resulting from administrative debt cancellation;
  • Encourage the President of the United States, in taking such executive action, to ensure that administrative debt cancellation helps close racial wealth gaps and avoids the bulk of Federal student debt cancellation benefits accruing to the wealthiest borrowers; and
  • Encourage the President of the United States to continue to pause student loan payments and interest accumulation for Federal student loan borrowers for the entire duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Schumer introduced this resolution along with Senator Warren. The legislation follows their March effort to cancel student loan payments for the duration of the COVID pandemic and provide minimum $10K payoff for all Federal student loan borrowers.

September 16, 2020 - 2:37pm

Press release:

Continuing their tireless advocacy for New York’s hard-hit dairy farmers in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today urged U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to ensure both Canada and Mexico are held accountable to their trade commitments under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which entered into force earlier this year on July 1st.

Specifically, the senators pointed out three harmful dairy trade practices, including Canada’s recent allocation of tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for U.S. exports of several categories of dairy products, Canada’s Class 7 pricing program (Class 6 in Ontario) and lack of transparency in milk-pricing regulations, and the need for Mexico to translate its USMCA commitment of safeguarding more than 30 common cheese names for American products, into regulations.

“New York’s dairy farmers are the lifeblood of the Upstate economy, but unfortunately they have been squeezed by the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis,” Senator Schumer said. “That is why I am calling on Ambassador Lighthizer and Secretary Perdue to do everything in their power to ensure that Canada and Mexico abide by their dairy trade obligations, allowing Upstate New York dairy farmers to freely sell their product – as agreed to in the new trade agreement with both countries, the USMCA.

"The trade deal entered into force two months ago, and there can be no further delays to ensuring our New York dairy farmers can sell their products, unimpeded by unfair trade barriers, into Canada and Mexico and churn up profits that mitigate the huge losses they have suffered this year.”

“Dairy is New York’s primary agricultural product and our rural economies depend on the survival of the industry, but poor implementation of USMCA provisions on dairy will harm our dairy farmers and make it even harder for them to recover from this crisis,” Senator Gillibrand said. "Secretary Perdue and USTR Ambassador Lighthizer must hold our trading partners accountable and ensure equitable trading practices for America’s dairy farmers.”

Schumer and Gillibrand explained that under USMCA, Canada agreed to an expansion of tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) for several categories of U.S. dairy products. However, recently, it has come to the senators’ attention that Canada’s recently-released TRQ allocations weaken the intent of the USMCA and will prevent New York dairy farmers from fully benefitting from the agreement’s expanded market access opportunities.

Additionally, the senators said that under the new trade deal, Canada agreed to eliminate Class 6 & 7 pricing within six months. However, as Schumer revealed in June, Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), which represents approximately 4,000 Canadian dairy farmers, requested that Ontario’s tribunal which provides an avenue of appeal on agriculture issues grant restricted access to DFO’s pricing regulations.

The senators argued that with only a few months left until the USMCA six-month deadline to eliminate Class 6 & 7, the lack of transparency and timing of DFO’s request  in combination with the new TRQs, raises questions about whether or not Canada is seeking to circumvent its dairy commitments in USMCA.

The senators also noted that U.S. dairy farmers secured a major victory in the USMCA when Mexico affirmed a list of more than 30 terms for cheese that would remain available as common names for U.S. cheese producers when exporting to Mexico, but with uncertainty remaining over how Mexico will translate its commitment to protect these common cheese names into regulations, U.S. dairy farmers are in danger of losing out on the market share they spent years developing.

August 7, 2020 - 1:23pm

From Sen. Charles Schumer:

After successfully pushing for an extended comment period to allow Upstate New York hemp farmers to share their concerns with the final rule, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay the issuance of a U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program final rule until 2022.

This will allow hemp growers and producers across the country and in Upstate New York to continue to operate under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program regulations until that time. Schumer said with the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic across all sectors, implementing additional regulations would crush the budding hemp industry.

“When it comes to an industry as promising as industrial hemp in Upstate New York, the feds must do everything they can to nurture its potential," Schumer said. "Regulating this rapidly emerging industry is a must, but the timing of new regulations is important and the current economic crisis must be considered.

"That’s why today I’m urging USDA to delay their issuance of a final rule until 2022 so the hemp industry across the country and in Upstate New York has a chance to grow and create good-paying jobs at a time when jobs are needed the most. Delaying new regulations will help pull New York along in the recovery process as the nation deals with the impacts of the pandemic.”

Allan Gandelman, president of New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association said, “There are over 700 registered hemp farmers across New York who would be negatively affected by the USDA's Interim Final Rule on hemp. The costs and bureaucracy of implementing the new rules as written create unnecessary financial burdens on farmers and our state agencies.

"The existing hemp pilot program has been sufficient in making sure farmers are complaint with all testing and public safety protocols. We would like to see the pilot program extended until 2022 and the USDA modify the program to let hemp become a widespread agricultural commodity like Congress intended by the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.”

Schumer explained, prior to the pandemic, the industrial hemp industry had begun to show significant growth in New York, adding a considerable number of good-paying jobs and bringing in significant revenue to the state, making it an indispensable crop in New York’s agricultural future.

Operating under the full benefits of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp farmers have reported difficulty integrating the Interim Final Rules into their operations, Specifically, Schumer said, the cost of complying with the Rules has proven to be suffocating for the emerging industry.

Compliance costs for reporting alone would be $17,363.40 according to USDA calculations, and testing would add more than $700 per sample.

The senator said these costs are simply too high for the budding industry to shoulder at a time when New York and the entire country is experiencing an economic crisis. Additionally, Schumer noted, implementing the Interim Final Rules now, also requires states to alter their Pilot Program budgets to meet standards, something which states slammed with COVID-related issues simply cannot spare the time and resources for.

Schumer also pointed out in light of COVID concerns, the timing and testing outlined in the Interim Final Rules would likely push farmers to rush harvests and increase the number of people working in facilities at once, leading to higher risk of COVID transmission among workers.

The senator says that delaying implementation until January 2022 and allowing states to continue operating under the 2014 Farm Bill will address these issues, protecting both the hemp industry in New York and farm workers from potential COVID spread.

July 30, 2020 - 4:21pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $3,351,732.05 in federal funding to fire departments across New York State to enhance departments’ response capabilities and to help them more effectively protect the health and safety of the public.

The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG).

The City of Batavia is set to get $68,880.95.

“From the peak of the pandemic to normal times, our brave firefighters are always on the front lines, risking their lives to protect their communities,” Senator Schumer said. “These courageous firefighters deserve all the federal support possible to help them do their jobs.

"I’ve fought my whole career to bring more federal resources to support our brave firefighters, and I’m proud to deliver this funding so New York’s fire departments have the resources and equipment to do their jobs and make it through the ensuing economic crisis.”

Senator Gillibrand said “Every day, first responders face dangerous conditions to protect our communities, and we must provide them with the resources needed to stay safe on the job during this health crisis. I am proud to have fought for this critical funding in support of New York’s local fire departments.

"These federal dollars will help offset costs from the COVID-19 emergency and modernize equipment that will protect our firefighters’ health and safety as they do their jobs. I will always fight in the Senate for the resources that our firefighters need to save lives.”

The senators explained that the funding comes as localities face budget shortages and consider staff cuts, including in fire departments. Schumer and Gillibrand said the funding announced today will go directly to fire departments, nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organizations, and state fire training academies.

A chart with the AFG breakdown appears below:

Organization Name


Funding Amount

Middleburgh, Village of



Troy, City of



Watervliet, City of



Greenville Fire District



Southwood Volunteer Fire Department Inc.



New Rochelle, City of

New Rochelle


Hornell, City of



Coopers Plains-Longacres Volunteer Fire Company Inc.

Coopers Plains


Poughkeepsie, City of



Syracuse, City of



Dundee Village



Fulton, City of



Dewitt Fire District



East Worcester Hose Co. 1

East Worcester


Watertown, City of



Lancaster, Village of



Otter Lake Fire Company Inc.



Oswego, City of



Fulton, City of



Worcester Hose Company Inc.



Tully Joint Fire District



Batavia, City of



Auburn, City of



July 24, 2020 - 3:50pm

July 24, 2020

The Honorable Joseph V. Cuffari Inspector General
Department of Homeland Security 245 Murray Lane, SW Washington, D.C., 20528

Dear Inspector General Cuffari:

Yesterday, in a filing in U.S. District Court in New York, the Justice Department was forced to make the extraordinary admission that officials at the Department of Homeland Security had made inaccurate or misleading statements to the court about the Department’s February 2020 decision to bar New Yorkers from several Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. While it has always been obvious that the Department’s action was taken in political retaliation against residents in my state, DHS had maintained – until now – the implausible explanation that New York’s policies were somehow a threat to national security.

The Justice Department has now confirmed the falsity of that explanation, but we do not have a full accounting of why and how false statements were made by DHS officials to the Justice Department, the public, and the court. Lying to a federal court is a very serious matter and there must be accountability for the persons involved. I therefore request that you conduct an immediate investigation and provide answers to the following questions as soon as possible:

  1. Did officials within DHS order, direct, encourage, or suggest that these false statements be made to the Justice Department, the public, or the court?

  2. With whom outside DHS did officials discuss the false narrative, including officials at the White House, Justice Department, and other agencies?

  3. To what extent were discussions of the false narrative by DHS, Justice Department, or White House officials conducted via electronic mail or messaging?

  4. Did White House officials, up to and including the President, order, direct, encourage or suggest that DHS bar New Yorkers from the Trusted Traveler programs and use a false narrative to justify that decision?

Given that the Administration’s actions in this case involve potential violations of criminal law, I urge you to treat this investigation urgently and report your findings as quickly as possible.


Charles E. Schumer United States Senator

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