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Sen. Charles E. Schumer

April 1, 2021 - 12:24pm

 Press release:

Following his advocacy, Schumer released the following statement regarding President Biden’s Plan to Invest in the U.S. Semiconductor Industry, that included $50 billion to fund and implement the federal semiconductor manufacturing and R&D incentives, which Schumer introduced last year as part of his American Foundries Act, and that passed into law as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act: 

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said, “I have made it a top priority to work with President Biden to prioritize the absolute necessity of making a major investment in the nation’s semiconductor domestic manufacturing and R&D, which can also fuel new high-paying jobs across Upstate New York.

"President Biden delivered on my requests with his inclusion of $50 billion to implement the new federal semiconductor manufacturing and R&D programs, that I fought for and passed into law in last year’s defense authorization bill. With the industry’s top companies considering expansion and new investment at New York sites -- like STAMP in Western New York, White Pines in Central New York, Marcy Nanocenter in the Mohawk Valley, and Luther Forest in the Capital Region -- we have no time to waste.

"So I want to move quickly to pass this funding to support the semiconductor industry’s plans to invest in the United States, enhance our global competitiveness, promote our national security, and create thousands of new jobs.

"As I announced weeks ago, I am working to bring to the Senate floor this spring a competitiveness package that includes my bipartisan Endless Frontier Act to invest in American innovation and manufacturing.

"As part of this legislative effort, I am working with members of both parties and the administration to include emergency spending to fully fund the federal semiconductor manufacturing and R&D programs authorized in the defense bill.”

March 31, 2021 - 1:33pm

Press release:

Standing at the Bug Jar in Downtown Rochester, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced today that "help is on the way" to the Finger Lakes region as he detailed specifics from the American Rescue Plan Act he just led to passage in the U.S. Senate.

Using the Bug Jar as a backdrop, Schumer explained that even more for New York’s live independent venues which are eligible for their own, DIRECT, federal pandemic relief, thanks to a provision he championed.

Save Our Stages

The Save Our Stages provision included an additional $1.25 billion for independent live venues, performing arts organizations, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions and included a critical fix that allows venues to access a PPP loan and a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, deducting the PPP loan amount from the grant amount. Schumer said the additional funding and technical fix would be a lifeline for New York’s independent venues, hard-hit by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, a venue had to choose between getting a PPP loan or a Save Our Stages grant.

Just last week, SBA announced that the Save Our Stages program will open to applications on April 8th after Schumer’s continued press to implement the program. SBA also released an updated PPP application that now allows venues to apply for a PPP loan as well as a Save Our Stages grant, as Schumer intended with the fix included in the recent COVID-19 bill.

“Independent venues, like theaters, concert halls, and cinemas, are the beating heart of New York’s cultural life and a driving force in the Upstate economy. These local businesses were among the first to shut down at the start of the pandemic, are struggling to stay afloat, and will be among the last to fully reopen, costing jobs and leaving a giant hole in the fabric of our communities,” Senator Schumer said.

“That is why I made sure this relief bill included a swan song – additional reliefs dollars to boost the Save Our Stages legislation and a critical technical fix to allow venues to access PPP and flexible grant support. Getting federal dollars into the hands of struggling small businesses, like independent venues in the Finger Lakes, not only makes sense, but it’s the curtain call needed to keep small businesses like the Bug Jar going.”

Schumer said that live venues remain one of the hardest hit industries as the state carefully reopens, and dedicated assistance from the American Rescue Plan will save many venues from permanently shutting their doors to the public. It is estimated that by the end of 2020 live venues across the country lost $9 billion in ticket sales alone.

The senator said the federal assistance was imperative because independent venues not only drive economic activity within communities through restaurants, hotels, taxis and other transportation and retail establishments, but live events provide 75 percent of all artists’ income.

The December package included $15 billion to create the Save Our Stages program after Schumer’s tireless efforts to pass it into law. The program, which will be overseen by the Small Business Administration, provide assistance to independent live venue operators, promoters, producers, talent representatives, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.

Grant amounts equal to 45 percent of gross revenue in 2019 for the venue, up to $10 million, can be used for various costs, including payroll, rent, utilities, mortgage obligations, payments to contractors, regular maintenance, administrative costs, taxes, operating leases, PPE procurement, and capital expenditures related to meeting state, local, or federal social distancing guidelines.

To ensure the hardest hit of eligible applicants receive assistance, there are two priority application periods. The first 14 days, only eligible entities that have lost more than 90 percent of gross revenue can apply. The next 14 days, only eligible entities that have lost more than 70 percent can apply. A reserve of 20 percent of overall appropriated funds, $3 billion out of the $15 billion provided, will remain available for all other eligible entities to apply for after 28 days. There is a $2 billion set-aside of funds for eligible entities with 50 or fewer employees to ensure smaller applicants are not left out.

American Rescue Plan's Impact on New York

Additionally, Schumer detailed the American Rescue Plan’s tentative impact to New York as more than $100 billion dollars. The deal includes the additional round of direct stimulus checks for tens of thousands of Finger Lakes residents, on top of aid to help schools safely reopen, vaccine distribution, critical pension relief, an expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, new rental assistance, agriculture and nutrition assistance, direct local fiscal relief to revive the local economy and help solve the Finger Lakes’ budget woes, all of which adds up to essential relief for countless families, workers, restaurants, more independent live venues and small businesses across the state. 

Schumer also highlighted that researchers have said that the American Rescue Plan will cut the child poverty rate in half, which is especially important for Rochester as the city ranks the highest for child poverty among cities of a comparable size, with 48 percent of children living below the poverty line.

THIS PLAN:

  • Makes the Child Tax Credit (CTC) fully refundable and increases the credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per child age 6 to 17 (and $3,600 per child below the age of 6). An estimated 3.56 million children across New York will benefit from this expanded tax credit, and it will lift 680,000 children in the state above or closer to the poverty line. It is estimated that New York families will receive $7.03 billion in relief from the enhanced CTC.
  • Strengthens the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers, many of whom are in lower-paid but essential jobs on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response, benefitting 910,000 of these workers in New York. It is estimated that New York families will receive over $786 million will receive in relief from the enhanced ETIC.

Money for the Finger Lakes Region

Sends $22 million in direct payments of $1,400 to over 9 million New Yorkers. That includes approximately $1.4 billion in direct payments for more than an estimated 556,000 households in the Finger Lakes Region: An estimated 344,000 households in Monroe County will receive approximately a total of $858 million; an estimated 41,500 households in Wayne County will receive approximately a total of $104 million; an estimated 51,000 households in Ontario County will receive about a total of $127 million; an estimated 29,000 households in Livingston County will receive approximately a total of $72 million; an estimated 18,500 households in Orleans County will receive approximately a total of $46 million; an estimated 26,500 households in Genesee County will receive approximately a total of $66 million; an estimated 18,000 households in Wyoming County will receive approximately a total of $46 million; an estimated 16,000 households in Seneca County will receive approximately a total of $39 million; and an estimated 11,500 households in Yates County will receive approximately a total of $29 million.

As part of the deal, more than $23.8 billion in state and local aid will be going to New York, with more than $566.31 million going directly to the Finger Lakes Region. New York State government will receive over $12 billion, solving the state’s budget woes. 

With 50 percent of Rochester’s rental units currently occupied by tenants spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, Schumer explained that rental assistance, included in the American Rescue Plan, is also a necessary tool of fighting poverty.

This funding is a win-win allowing residents to cover past-due rent and future rent payments while maintaining rental streams for property owners needed to maintain this housing. Without this federal aid, too many families would be unable to make payments, through no fault of their own, and be faced with the prospect of being thrown out of their homes in the middle of a pandemic.

EPPI 2.0 builds and improves upon the success of EPPI 1.0, which was launched last summer thanks to funding Schumer secured in the CARES Act. Changes in the second round of the program include less cumbersome eligibility guidelines to qualify for rent relief; and the ability of landlords to apply for relief on behalf of their tenants with their consent.

Funding for Education

The American Rescue Plan also includes $9 billion for New York’s K-12 schools – these flexible funds will support school districts in reopening safely for in-person instruction and addressing the many needs that students are facing due to the pandemic. Finger Lakes school districts will receive $404.5 million in total in K-12 support funds.

New York’s Colleges and Universities will also receive $2.6B from the American Rescue Plan, half of which must be distributed to students in the form of financial aid awards to address hardships caused by COVID-19. Finger Lakes colleges will receive $163.8 million in total.

Funding for Transit 

Schumer was able to secure more than $7 billion in transit funding for New York, with $45.5 million going toward the Rochester Transit Services (RTS), $12,061,336 for Rochester’s Frederick Douglass Airport, and $219,000 for other Finger Lakes airports.

Multiemployer Pension Plan Relief

The legislation also delivers critical relief for suffering multiemployer pension plans – which have experienced significant additional challenges as a result of this economic crisis – without cutting benefits retirees have earned. In New York State alone, there are more than 1.3 million participants in multiemployer pension plans, and around 624,600 New Yorkers are participants in plans that are expected to receive relief directly through this legislation.

“As Majority Leader, I fought hard to ensure this deal sent real relief to the tune of $100 billion to New York for workers, families, farmers, healthcare, small businesses, including our hard-hit industries like restaurants, and communities in Ithaca—the things we need to support in order to weather this crisis and then work to recover,” Schumer said. “This marks the second biggest stimulus bill in the nation’s history—second to the CARES Act—and it comes just in time, because Finger Lakes residents still need real help to get through this.”

March 30, 2021 - 1:37pm

Press release:

After announcing that a strategic partnership between Intel and IBM will bring hundreds of new semiconductor R&D jobs to New York’s Capital Region, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer followed up on his efforts to cement Upstate New York as the global hub of the semiconductor industry and pitched Intel’s recently appointed CEO Pat Gelsinger on how Intel should build on its new partnership with IBM and locate their next semiconductor fabrication (“fab”) plant in Upstate New York.

Last week, Intel shared its plans to select a second site for its next U.S. manufacturing facility within a year, following the announcement of the IBM R&D partnership.

Schumer said New York boasts several sites across Upstate ready to be home to Intel’s next Chip fab, or the supply chain Intel would require, from Alabama's STAMP campus in Western New York and the White Pines campus in Central New York, to Marcy Nanocenter in the Mohawk Valley and Luther Forest in the Capitol Region.

Plus, Upstate New York boasts a thriving semiconductor ecosystem as evidenced by the just announced IBM partnership, the state’s top notch universities and world-class workforce, and a diversity of companies across the supply chain. Typically, semiconductor fabs bring thousands of new jobs into a region, a number which Schumer said would be a win-win-win for the local economy, Upstate New York workforce, U.S. competitiveness, and Intel itself.

“Intel’s plans to invest in a second U.S. semiconductor fab offers a game-changing opportunity for Upstate New York and I made it clear to Intel all that New York has to offer to make their U.S. expansion a huge success for the company and the country,” Senator Schumer said.

“With an existing semiconductor ecosystem, including leading R&D companies, premier universities to train the next-generation workforce, a thriving supply chain, and robust utilities that can host advanced manufacturing, Upstate New York is tailor made to be the home of Intel’s new manufacturing facility.”

Schumer added, “An Intel fab in Upstate New York would not only help shore up our domestic production of chips, but it also positions the company to take even more advantage of its partnership with IBM to develop and lead in next generation semiconductor technology, a point I made to Intel’s CEO as they consider further building out their U.S. manufacturing operations in the year ahead.

"I stand ready to give my all out support in helping Intel harness all that the federal government has to offer to continue to lead the tech industry and position New York as a global hub of semiconductor manufacturing, including pushing to fully fund the federal incentives I created in last year’s defense bill so companies like Intel receive support to invest in U.S. competitiveness and create thousands of new jobs.”

Schumer has long emphasized the importance of active federal support for the semiconductor industry. This includes his push to include provisions in the FY2021 NDAA to create new federal semiconductor manufacturing, R&D, and training programs.

He notes that even though the United States revolutionized the semiconductor and broad microelectronics industries and invented nearly all of the key technology used to this day, by 2030, non-U.S. competitors are projected to control 83 percent of the global semiconductor manufacturing supply. And domestic production could be less than 10 percent, threatening U.S. reliance on foreign-made microelectronics, including from China, and posing huge risks to U.S. national and economic security.

In a meeting with then-nominee for Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, Schumer raised the urgent need to fully fund and implement the new Commerce semiconductor manufacturing grant and R&D programs he passed into law as part of last year’s defense authorization. He pointed to this Intel investment as an example for why these federal incentives are such a high priority.

In February, Schumer announced that the Senate would work on a bill in the spring of this year that includes his bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, which would provide a major infusion of federal funds for federal R&D, including for semiconductors.

As part of this competitiveness package Schumer plans to bring to the Senate floor this spring, he will be pushing for emergency funding to implement the federal semiconductor programs created in last year’s defense bill so these critical programs can be implemented to help the U.S. successfully compete with other countries, including China, for new semiconductor manufacturing investment.

Schumer has led the effort to create these historic new federal investments in domestic semiconductor manufacturing and R&D. Last year, Schumer unveiled his bipartisan American Foundries Act to bolster U.S. leadership in semiconductor and broader microelectronics industries. He successfully added this bill as an amendment in July 20202 to the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

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, including the creation of the NSTC, secure the supply chain, and ensure national and economic security by reducing reliance on foreign semiconductor manufacturing.

March 30, 2021 - 12:45pm
posted by Press Release in ghost guns, DOJ, ATF, Sen. Charles E. Schumer.

Press release:

Saying Americans are clamoring for action on the issue of gun violence, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said Monday that under current law, the Department of Justice (DOJ) in concert with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) can do something—right now—to tackle the rising threat of untraceable and undetectable firearms known as "ghost guns."

“Amid the pain of another senseless shooting in this country, Americans are clamoring for the feds to do something, and so I’m calling for DOJ and ATF to use their existing authorities to act,” Schumer said.

“The lights are flashing red on the issue of ghost guns and the rising threat posed by these totally unregulated, available-to-anyone, no-background-check-required weapons. That is why we are demanding the feds take action now, before these easy-to-use assembly kits result in another foreseeable and preventable tragedy.” 

Schumer explained that "ghost guns" are sold in pieces or kits and come without background checks, serial numbers, or anything else that the current law demands of legally purchased firearms—despite the fact that only a few simple steps are required to turn these unfinished pieces into fully functional weapons. 

Schumer said New York has already seen ghost guns used in crimes, and that Attorney General Tish James has taken strong action to prevent their flow here, but that using existing authority to close the federal loophole allowing these weapons to proliferate across the country is a commonsense action that the feds can and must take to make New Yorkers safer, right now.

In September 2019, Attorney General Tish James sent cease and desist letters to companies behind a number of websites selling incomplete weaponry pieces—ghost gun kits—to New Yorkers that could be easily assembled into illegal assault weapons. In July 2020, Attorney General James announced that all the companies behind the sale of these firearms or firearms components had complied with her cease and desist letters and ended the sale of these weapons to New Yorkers. 

But Schumer, today, said this hard work is for naught unless the feds stop the unfettered flow of these kits across the country.

“In some states, it is harder to buy cold medicine than it is a ghost gun assembly kit,” Schumer said. “The feds know it, the people who are building these kits know it, and the public should not have to be threatened by it.”

“Ghost guns pose a grave threat to communities across this country,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “We know that these untraceable and undetectable weapons can cause the same immense destruction and harm as traditional firearms, yet they are not subject to the same regulations.

"My office has successfully shut down companies that provide access to these weapons and taken action to regulate them, but far more is needed to protect our families and our children. I thank Senator Schumer for taking the stand that is desperately needed to protect New Yorkers and all Americans.”

Last summer, Nassau County law enforcement officials recovered 22 ghost guns, along with thousands of rounds of ammunition and narcotics and bomb-making equipment, in a crime bust on Long Island.

In February of last year, Schumer wrote to then-Attorney General William P. Barr and Acting Director Regina Lombardo urging the DOJ and the ATF to take action to stem the tide of unmarked, unregistered, and untraceable firearms that continue to proliferate the country.

Schumer said "ghost guns" continue to pose a danger to public safety and have the potential to end up in the hands of convicted criminals, domestic abusers, minors and other individuals that are otherwise prohibited from purchasing handguns under existing federal law.

Today, Schumer said Biden Administration officials, including Attorney General Garland, should do what the Trump Administration failed to do and take prompt action to rectify this regulatory failure and protect Americans lives.

Schumer requested that DOJ and ATF immediately take the following steps to address this eminent threat:

  1. Amend the definition of "firearm frame or receiver" in 27 C.F.R. section 4 78.11 such that it applies to any part of a firearm which provides housing for the trigger group, including any such part (1) that is designed, intended, or marketed to be used in an assembled, operable firearm; or (2) that, without the expenditure of substantial time and effort, can be converted for use in an assembled, operable firearm.
  2. Provide all available data on the frequency with which federal authorities are encountering these so-called ghost guns and efforts on the part of your respective agencies to collaborate with state and local law enforcement within 30 days. Should this information not be readily available, explain why and describe strategies on how to improve collaboration, monitoring and data collection.
March 29, 2021 - 12:25pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $3,702,246 in federal block grants for seven New York tribal communities through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Indian Housing Block Grants Program.

Included is $35,007 for the Tonawanda Band of Seneca in Basom.

The funding, authorized in the American Rescue Plan, will go toward developing new affordable housing projects and improving existing units on Indian reservations and lands, in turn providing tangible relief to individuals and families. 

“Let me make this clear: safe housing, especially during a pandemic is a right,” Senator Schumer said. “This federal investment gets us closer to our goal of ensuring that every New Yorker has a safe place to call home, including our neighbors in New York’s tribal communities.

"I have long believed in the importance of directing resources to historically disadvantaged communities, and that need is even more pronounced in this crisis which has done so much to worsen those inequities. I will always fight tooth and nail so all of New York’s tribal community members have a place to call home.”

“I am proud to announce this American Rescue Plan funding to combat homelessness across the country,” Senator Gillibrand said. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have exacerbated housing insecurity across New York, especially in underserved communities.

"This funding will help ensure that New York’s tribal communities have access to stable, safe, and affordable housing. No one should ever have to question whether they’ll have a safe place to sleep at night during the pandemic and beyond.” 

TRIBE

CITY

AMOUNT RECEIVED

Cayuga Nation

Seneca Falls

$186,448

Oneida Indian Nation of New York

Verona

$512,804

Seneca Nation of New York

Irving

$1,745,554

Shinnecock Indian Nation

Southampton

$67,575

St. Regis Mohawk Tribe

Akwesasne

$1,119,851

Tonawanda Band of Seneca

Basom

$35,007

Tuscarora Nation

Lewiston

$35,007

March 17, 2021 - 12:32pm

Press release:

After championing funding for education to benefit Upstate New York’s schools, children, and students throughout the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer announced today that the recently signed American Rescue Plan includes $2.5 billion that will allow Upstate New York’s school districts: to fill budget gaps; address learning loss; meet the needs of students with disabilities; assist students experiencing homelessness; provide summer enrichment and afterschool programs, and more.

Schumer explained that after the COVID crisis forced schools to close, safely reopening them has and will continue to cost tens of thousands of dollars, and the federal funding allocated for them in the American Rescue Plan will help schools bring students back to their desks when New York recovers from the pandemic and returns to "normal."

“Everyone wants schools to reopen completely and for our children to be able to return to the classroom, but it needs to be done in a way that is safe for students, families, educators, and learning institutions,” Senator Schumer said.

“COVID brought unprecedented challenges that have cost a year of learning and development for students — challenges disproportionately felt by students of color, students from low-income families, students with disabilities, and more.

"As Majority Leader, I was proud to make funding for our schools a priority, and the American Rescue Plan will deliver this much needed aid to get Upstate students back in school. Help is on the way for Upstate New York’s schools put behind the curve by the pandemic.”

New York Senator Shelley Mayer, Chair of the Senate Education Committee said, “Thank you to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for his hard work and persistence to ensure New York schools and students receive much needed support through the American Rescue Plan. This unprecedented federal funding will put us on the right path to recover from the devastation our school communities faced during the pandemic.

"I am committed to working with my colleagues to ensure that all federal aid will be used to supplement, rather than replace, state funding. The pandemic exacerbated disparities in our schools, and we must ensure that resources and staff are available to help students recover academically and work through mental and emotional health challenges. Thank you also to Majority Leader Schumer’s staff members for working closely with me in our efforts to secure additional education funds for our schools.” 

This funding is in addition to the $5 billion Schumer secured for New York school districts in the past COVID-19 relief bills. In total, Schumer has secured over $14 billion for New York school districts in the past year.

Schumer previously visited the Finger LakesNorth CountryCentral New YorkWestern New YorkSouthern Tier, and Hudson Valley to advocate for federal funding for Upstate school districts.

Genesee County is in the Rochester -- Finger Lakes Region, which is earmarked to get $392 million.

Collectively, Genesee County School districts are expected to get a total of $10,677,000:

Genesee County: Alexander Central School District $603,000.00
Genesee County: Batavia City School District $4,767,000.00
Genesee County: Byron-Bergen Central School District $1,209,000.00
Genesee County: Elba Central School District $372,000.00
Genesee County: Le Roy Central School District $1,207,000.00
Genesee County: Oakfield-Alabama Central School District $724,000.00
Genesee County: Pavilion Central School District $806,000.00
Genesee County: Pembroke Central School District $1,189,000.00
March 7, 2021 - 2:05pm

Press release:

Just back from Washington, D.C., U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced, today, that "help is on the way" to New York and New Yorkers as he detailed specifics from the American Rescue Plan he just led to passage in the U.S. Senate.

Schumer detailed the plan’s tentative impact to New York as $100 billion. The deal includes an additional round of direct stimulus checks, extends enhanced unemployment insurance benefits, will help solve New York State and Upstate New York municipalities budget woes.

The assistance marks a not-too-soon moment of relief for countless families, workers, restaurants, more independent venues and small businesses across the state. As part of the deal, more than $23.8 billion flows directly to New York State government(s) on top of increased education funding, transit funding and highways, vaccine distribution, COVID-19 health funding, emergency rental and housing assistance and more included for New York in this bill.

“Back in November, the American people and New Yorkers sent a crystal clear message to the previous administration: deliver the robust COVID relief this country needs or get out of the way," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.

"The deal we reached with the help of a new president, and a new democratic Senate marks real relief to the tune of $100 billion for workers, families, healthcare, small businesses, including our hard-hit industries like restaurants, and New York — the things we need to support to weather this crisis and then work to recover.

“This marks the second biggest stimulus bill in the nation’s history — second to the CARES Act — and it comes just in time, because Americans and New York still need real help to get through this."

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

STATE & LOCAL FISCAL RELIEF

$23.8 billion for New York – Total amount of funding provided to New York State through the state and local fiscal relief fund, to keep first responders, frontline health workers, and other providers of vital services safely on the job as states and local governments roll out vaccines and fight to rebuild Main Street economies.

Funding can be used for assistance to households, small businesses, nonprofits, aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality, investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, and to provide premium pay to frontline workers. Local governments of every size, including all counties, cities, towns, and villages, receive dedicated federal aid awards.

A new $10 billion capital projects program also support state broadband deployment efforts. Funds are allocated in New York as follows:

  • $12.569 billion for New York State Government
  • $6.141 billion for New York’s Metro Cities
  • $3.907 billion for New York’s Counties
  • $825 million for New York’s Small Cities, Towns, and Villages
  • $358 million for a New York State Broadband Investment Program

ADDITIONAL AID TO NEW YORK

  • $3.1 billion: Medicaid FMAP increase ($2.1 billion already delivered from Schumer pushing President Biden to extend through the end of the calendar year, in addition to $1 billion from a targeted enhanced FMAP for home and community-based services from this legislation);
  • $7+ billion: New York Area Transit ($6.5B to MTA). The New York State Department of Transportation will receive $12M directly to support rural transit systems. The remainder will support county bus services, and Upstate transit agencies;
  • $418 million: New York’s hard-hit airports to continue operating safely during the pandemic. Port Authority Airports will receive: $218M for JFK, $107M for LGA, $4M for Stewart, and $164M for EWR. This includes $60M in relief at the four airports for large and small concessionaire businesses that have been hard hit by the pandemic and unable to pay minimum guarantees to airports;
  • $1.7 billion – Relief for Amtrak to help maintain operations and other expenditures during the pandemic, especially in New York;
  • $15 billion – The CARES Act Airline Payroll Support Program which will save thousands of New York airline and airline contractor jobs by keeping workers on payroll without furloughs or reducing pay rates and benefits until March 31, 2021 New York will receive sizable share of these funds.

EDUCATION – K-12 SCHOOLS & INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER ED

  • $9 billion – K-12 Schools – these flexible funds will support school districts in reopening safely for in-person instruction and addressing the many needs that students are facing due to the pandemic. A portion of the funds are targeted toward addressing learning loss, providing resources through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and implementing summer enrichment and afterschool programs;
  • $2.6 billion – Colleges and Universities – Institutions must distribute half of their allocation to students in the form of financial aid awards to address hardships caused by COVID-19. The remaining portion of the funds can be used on reopening costs, revenue losses, classroom retrofits, PPE, and other expenses;
  • $257 million – Private K-12 schools – these funds are administered by the state educational agency to provide public health and related assistance and services to private K-12 schools.

CHILD CARE & HELP FOR NY FAMILIES

  • $1.8 billion – Child Care – Through the Child Care Stabilization Fund and the Child Care Community Development Block Grants (CCDBG), these funds ensure that the child care sector will continue to assist working families, and to support child care providers in meeting their increased operation costs during the pandemic;
  • $59 million – Head Start – this is emergency funding that will continue to provide access of services for children and their families;
  • $7.03 billion: Child Tax Credit payment to New York families;
  • $786 million: Earned Income Tax Credit payment to New York families;
  • More than $1 billion in additional Emergency Rental Assistance and assistance for preventing homelessness;
  • $575 million in mortgage and utility assistance for homeowners;
  • $1.07 billion: Nutrition Assistance ($810 million for Pandemic EBT Benefits, $227 million for SNAP)

UI AND DIRECT CHECKS TO NEW YORKERS

An estimated $21.7 billion for NY in Enhanced Unemployment Insurance Benefits. This bill provides billions in additional federal relief for struggling New Yorkers – who are out of work through no fault of their own – by extending the historic unemployment insurance reforms established in the CARES Act, through Sept. 6.

Importantly, it continues 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 extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for the self-employed, gig workers, freelancers and others in nontraditional employment, as well as the additional weeks of federal unemployment insurance for workers who exhaust their regular state benefits. Notably, this legislation excludes up to $10,200 of unemployment benefits received in 2020 from taxable income, providing much-needed tax relief for workers making less than $150,000.

Over $22 Billion in Direct Payments for NY – The American Rescue Plan includes an additional round of Economic Impact Payments of $1,400 for individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $2,800 for couples making up to $150,000 per year. Eligible families will also receive an additional $1,400 payment per child and adult dependent, amounting to $5,600 for an average family of four. Nearly 9 million New York households will receive another round of direct payments, helping them to cover essential expenses like food, rent or mortgages, and medical bills during this crisis.

COVID VAX & TESTING EFFORT ACROSS NY

Roughly $4 billion to support more vaccines, testing and healthcare in New York.  

 

NEW RELIEF AVAILABLE FOR NEW YORK SMALL BUSINESSES, RESTAURANTS, NONPROFITS, ARTS AND CULTURE VENUES, AND TOURISM SECTOR

$28.6 billion for Restaurants – A new restaurant relief fund, modeled on the widely support, bipartisan RESTAURANTS Act, which will provide flexible grants through the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a lifeline for New York’s restaurant industry, one of the hardest hit by the economic effects of the COVID pandemic.

Food service or drinking establishments, including caterers, brewpubs, taprooms, and tasting rooms, that are not part of an affiliated group with more than 20 locations will be eligible. To provide comprehensive support to local restaurants, grants from the fund could be used alongside first and second Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance, and the Employee Retention Tax Credit.

The new restaurants relief fund will be designed to provide flexible grants of up to $10 million per restaurant group, $5 million per individual restaurant, that can be used to cover payroll, mortgages or rent, setup for outdoor seating, PPE, paid leave, food and other supplies, or debt and other expenses. Grants can be spent on eligible expenses from 2/15/20 through 12/31/21 and the SBA Administrator may extend the period through two years from enactment if conditions warrant.

Of the $25 billion total, $5 billion is reserved for restaurants with less than $500,000 in gross receipts in 2019 for the first 60 days of the program. During the initial 21-day period, the administrator will prioritize awarding grants to eligible entities that are owned or controlled by women or veterans or are socially and economically disadvantaged businesses.

$1.25B and a Key Fix for Save Our Stages – The bill provides an additional $1.25 billion for hard-hit independent live venues, performing arts organizations, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.

The bill also includes a critical fix that allows venues to access a PPP loan and a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, deducting the PPP loan amount from the grant amount. Including access to both programs will provide a much-needed source of additional capital as these struggling businesses and nonprofits try to stay afloat during the crisis. 

$15 billion for SBA Targeted EIDL Grants -- This funding will provide hard-hit, underserved small businesses with increased flexible grant relief. These grants will be particularly helpful for very small businesses and sole proprietors, which include over 90 percent of minority-owned businesses that have been disproportionately devastated by this crisis.

Expanded PPP Eligibility for Nonprofits – This bill makes additional 501(c) nonprofits eligible for PPP. It also makes local offices of larger nonprofits eligible for PPP assistance as long as those locations are not larger than 500 employees for first PPP loans or 300 employees for second PPP loans, expanding access to vital relief for nonprofit organizations that are critical to local services and the economy.

Community Navigator Program for Underserved Businesses – $100 million is included to fund community organizations and community financial institutions with a focus on and experience working in minority, immigrant, and rural communities to serve as community navigators to help connect small business owners in these communities to critical resources, including small business loans, business licenses, and federal, state and local business assistance programs. 

$10 billion for Small Business Opportunity Fund – This funding available through the Treasury Department is modeled on the State Small Business Credit Initiative and will support state and local capital and technical assistance initiatives for small businesses responding to and recovering from the pandemic, which will be particularly beneficial to minority-owned and other underserved small businesses.

$3 billion for Economic Development Grants, Including for Tourism and Travel -- $3 billion is included for the Economic Development Administration to provide flexible grants for rebuilding the local economies of communities that have experienced significant job loss from COVID-19. A $750 million set-aside is included for assistance to states and communities that have suffered from job and GDP loss in the tourism, travel, and outdoor recreation sectors.

Extended Employee Retention Tax Credit – The bill extends through the end of 2021 the refundable payroll tax credit designed to help employers keep more of their valued workers on payroll during this economic crisis. This tax credit is available to struggling New York companies and nonprofits of all sizes, and is equal to 70 percent of qualified wages up to $10,000 per employee per quarter.

CONNECTING MORE NY FAMILIES TO BROADBAND

$632 million -- The American Rescue Plan includes $7.172 billion nationally to close the homework gap by providing internet and connected devices to vulnerable students and educators. New York is estimated to receive around $632 million in funding to help students and educators.

REDUCING POVERTY FOR NEW YORKERS

The American Rescue Plan includes a significant expansion of two of the most powerful and effective anti-poverty tools the federal government has – the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit – for 2021:

  • Makes the CTC fully refundable and increases the credit amount from $2,000 to $3,000 per child age 6 to 17 (and $3,600 per child below the age of 6). An estimated 3.56 million children across New York will benefit from this expanded tax credit, and it will lift 680,000 children in the state above or closer to the poverty line.
  • Strengthens the EITC for childless workers, many of whom are in lower-paid but essential jobs on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response, benefitting 910,000 of these workers in New York.

PROVIDING FINANCIAL STABILITY FOR NY WORKERS AND RETIREES

The American Rescue Plan importantly delivers critical relief for ailing multiemployer pension plans – which have experienced significant additional challenges as a result of this economic crisis – without cutting the hard-earned benefits of retirees.

In New York State alone, there are more than 1.3 million participants in multiemployer pension plans, and around 624,600 New Yorkers are participants in plans that are expected to receive relief directly through this legislation.

*****ROUGH TOTAL FOR NEW YORK: $100 BILLION*****

February 1, 2021 - 12:32pm

Press release:

Continuing his advocacy for New York’s craft beverage industry, today U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced the inclusion of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) in the FY2020 end-of-year omnibus legislation.

It will permanently reduce excise taxes for brewers, vintners, cider makers, and distillers and remove regulatory barriers to help New York’s craft beverage industry stay afloat.

Schumer explained that the legislation will provide critical economic relief for craft beverage alcohol producers across the state, many of whom have seen a significant decline in revenue and are struggling to remain open as a result of the ongoing economic crisis, especially those whose sales are mainly on premise.

“Craft beverage producers throughout New York not only brew, bottle, and distill great products, but they also attract visitors and pour hundreds of jobs into their local communities,” Senator Schumer said. “By making permanent the reduced tax rates for New York producers and removing regulatory barrier to accelerate growth, we can help local brewers, vintners, cider makers, and distillers make it through this economic crisis.”

Schumer added, “I have always said that New York’s breweries, wineries, and distilleries are the crown jewel of so many of our communities, with many of them bringing the added benefit of growing and reinvesting in their local economies. So by putting more money back into the hands of these businesses and making sure they are not choked off by bureaucratic red tape, we can ensure our craft beverage producers can tap into their full potential and make a full recovery from this downturn.”

There are an estimated 462 breweries, 450 wineries, 186 distilleries and 72 cideries across the state, supporting tens of thousands of New York jobs and contributing billions of dollars to the state’s economy:

  • According to the Brewers Association, the craft beer industry has created approximately 29,000 full-time jobs in the state, with an annual economic impact of $4.9 billion.
  • The New York Wine and Grape Foundation’s 2019 Economic Impact Study reveals that New York’s wine and grape industry directly created 71,950 jobs and contributes $6.65 billion in direct economic impact.
  • According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, New York’s distilled spirits industry supports 93,860 jobs and contributes $8.3 billion to the state’s GDP.

Brewers, vintners, cider makers, and distillers across New York celebrated the inclusion of the CBMTRA.

Sam Filler, executive director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation, said, “The New York grape and wine industry applauds Senator Schumer’s steadfast advocacy for the industry in Washington, D.C., by making CBMTRA permanent, which will ensure that the industry continues to grow and positively impact New York’s economy.”

Paul Leone, executive director New York State Brewers Association, said, “For five years we’ve been trying to make the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act permanent, and for all of those five years Senator Schumer has been right there with us leading the charge to make this a reality. With everything going on in the world, he never forgot about the craft beverage community in New York State and thanks to his efforts, along with strong bipartisan congressional support, brewers in this state will continue to save money on their federal excise taxes to help them through this pandemic and beyond.”

“Thanks to Senator Schumer and his staff for working hard to build bipartisan support for this critical legislation that prevents a costly tax increase to all brewers and beer importers,” said Mary Beth Popp, vice president of corporate communications, FIFCO USA, parent company of Labatt USA and Genesee Brewing. “This legislation recognizes the significant impact our industry makes, providing millions of jobs while also contributing to the U.S. economy.”

“This is a huge help to small breweries like Ithaca Beer,” said Dan Mitchell, founder of Ithaca Beer Company Inc. “It allows us to take the savings we see from TTB taxes and put them back into the business to help us grow. Specifically, it allows us to hire more people, and address some other financial challenges we see as a small Craft Brewer."

Jason Barrett, president and master distiller Black Button Distilling in Rochester, said, “Words cannot fully express what making CBMTRA means to my team and I. The ability to not only keep our staff working, invest in our community and follow our passion has been secured by this action. When we came to Senator Schumer a few weeks ago we were just hoping for a one year reprieve.

"I never would have imagined we would have the ability to actually make long term plans for our business and sincerely thank Senator Schumer for pushing to make this happen. Thousands of New York state families will sleep a little easier now knowing their jobs will still be there in 2021.”

Kim Wagner, owner Stoutridge Vineyard and Distillery in Marlboro, said, “Small, family businesses are the backbone of the economy. The uncertainty over the last few years regarding the CBMTRA has significantly impacted our ability to grow our business. Because we age our products for multiple years, we had to manage production and cashflow to ensure that if the CBMTRA expired we would be able to make our excise tax payments when our products were ready for sale.

"Having the CBMTRA made permanent gives us the predictability we need to increase production and optimize investment in our business. Senator Schumer’s leadership and the strong support of the New York Congressional delegation was critical to making this happen. There are over one thousand craft beverage businesses in New York State and each of us, our staffs and our communities will benefit from this legislation.”

Elizabeth Ryan, farmer and owner, Breezy Hill Orchard and Hudson Valley Farmhouse Cider in Staatsburg, said "The Craft Beverage Modernization Act has been a critical instrument for supporting the expansion of the Craft Beverage industry. The growth of domestic craft beverages has been an economic engine for farms and local economies, stimulating investment and job creation.

"I have been producing hard cider in the Hudson Valley since 1996. There have been many hurdles to overcome on the regulatory and taxation front. Particularly now as craft producers face challenges both financial and operational due to the COVID pandemic, the permanent extension of the CBMA will significantly help craft producers expand and thrive instead of contracting and struggling. On behalf of farmers, apple growers, we thank Senator Schumer for his continued commitment, vision and hard work."

Schumer joined Senator Wyden (D-OR) and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the CBMTRA. Specifically, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act:

  • For beer, it reduces the rate for small brewers (making no more than 2 million barrels annually ) to $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels, and $16 per barrel on the remaining ones. Large brewers and beer importers can benefit from a reduced excise tax rate of $16 per barrel, reduced from $18 per barrel, on the first 6 million barrels. It also allows for the transfer of beer in bond between two breweries, regardless of who owns such facility.
  • For wine, it establishes a new tiered tax credit system for wine produced in the United States or imported: $1 for the first 30,000 wine gallons, $0.90 for the next 100,000 wine gallons, and $0.535 for the next 620,000 wine gallons. Hard cider is taxed as wine, subject to lower rates and a reduced credit amount.
  • For distilled spirits, it makes permanent the reduced rate of $2.70 per proof gallon for the first 100,000 proof gallons of distilled spirits produced or imported annually, and a rate of $13.34 per proof gallon for the next 22,130,000 proof gallons of distilled spirits.
January 27, 2021 - 2:10pm

Press release:

Following U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer’s call last week with Jeffrey Zients, President Biden’s pick to be the White House coronavirus coordinator, Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today (Jan. 27) announced $466,800,000 in federal funding for New York’s vaccine distribution and administration.

These federal funds are critical to the safe and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and were allocated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Specifically, this funding covers the costs of supplies required for storing, handling, distributing, transporting, and administering COVID-19 vaccines.

This includes emergency medical care, containers for medical waste, and supplies necessary for proper storage of the vaccines including liquid nitrogen, dry ice and portable storage units. Additionally, the funding supports vaccine transportation such as refrigerated trucks and transport security, medical and support staff, onsite infection control measures, PPE (personal protective equipment) for staff and face masks for patients, temperature scanners, physical barriers and disinfection services for vaccine distribution facilities. Finally, the funding will be used for facility costs, including leasing space for storage and administration of vaccines.

“In order to get these wonderful vaccines injected into the arms of millions of New Yorkers, we must also inject hundreds of millions of dollars into New York State and New York City’s budgets – so they can get this job done ASAP to keep people safe and to reenergize our economy,” Senator Schumer said. “New York continues to face unprecedented health and economic crises and is working to combat the virus with COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration.

"Federal support of the state’s vaccine distribution system is critical to delivering vaccines to New Yorkers as quickly and safely as possible. This infusion of almost half-a-billion in federal funds supports the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines to distribution sites across the state and will ensure that distribution sites are safe and equipped with the proper medical supplies, medical staff, cleaning services, and more. I will continue to fight for federal funds like these so we can effectively beat back the virus with the safe and equitable distribution of vaccines.”

“While we celebrate the authorization of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines that put us one step closer to eradicating the virus, we have to face reality – federal aid is critical to helping New York State ensure vaccinations are distributed efficiently and equitably to those who need it the most,” Senator Gillibrand said.

“I am proud to deliver nearly half-a-billion dollars in federal funding to do exactly that – get vaccines in the arms of New Yorkers. These federal dollars will help New York guard against our nation’s lagging vaccine distribution by providing resources for staff, supplies, PPE, and distribution centers. Only then can we move forward and begin to recover from the current health and economic crisis.”

Schumer and Gillibrand have been instrumental in securing federal funds for New York to fight the coronavirus and support its vaccine distribution efforts. In December, the senators delivered $1.3 billion through the COVID relief deal for vaccine distribution, testing, tracing and more. The senators previously announced $14 million in federal funding for COVID-19 vaccine preparedness and response to help New York’s public health agencies and nonprofits implement vaccine programs.

And most recently, Schumer and Gillibrand penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding the department’s failure to develop and implement a comprehensive national vaccine plan under the former administration. Senator Schumer has also spoken with and communicated that New York needs three things: predictability, communication, and vaccines, in order to have an effective and efficient vaccine distribution system.

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.

DIRECT AID TO NEW YORK STATE GOVERNMENTS

$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. 

COVID HEALTH & RELIEF

$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

RENT & EVICTION RELIEF

$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.

EMERGENCY CHILD CARE GRANTS

 $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.

FEMA DISASTER RELIEF FUND (DRF)

$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.

 

***$13+BILLION DIRECT TO NEW YORK GOVERNMENTS***

 

THE DIRECT CHECKS, UI & FEMA FUNERALS

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.

RELIEF FOR NEW YORK SMALL BUSINESSES, FAMILIES, LIVE VENUES, CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS AND OTHER ENTITIES

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.

CONNECTING MORE NY FAMILIES TO BROADBAND

$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.

NY HOSPITALS & HEALTH CENTERS

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

NEW YORK NUTRITION ASSISTANCE

$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.

NEW YORK AGRICULTURAL ASSISTANCE

$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.

NEW YORK FISHERIES ASSISTANCE

$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.

****ROUGH TOTAL FOR NEW YORK: $54+ BILLION****

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

City

Funding Amount

Middleburgh, Village of

Middleburgh

$163,000.00

Troy, City of

Troy

$399,457.64

Watervliet, City of

Watervliet

$458,093.29

Greenville Fire District

Scarsdale

$82,599.31

Southwood Volunteer Fire Department Inc.

Jamesville

$40,735.24

New Rochelle, City of

New Rochelle

$159,090.91

Hornell, City of

Hornell

$174,384.76

Coopers Plains-Longacres Volunteer Fire Company Inc.

Coopers Plains

$120,000.00

Poughkeepsie, City of

Poughkeepsie

$33,181.82

Syracuse, City of

Syracuse

$488,195.45

Dundee Village

Dundee

$154,285.71

Fulton, City of

Fulton

$26,505.71

Dewitt Fire District

Syracuse

$64,065.45

East Worcester Hose Co. 1

East Worcester

$24,376.19

Watertown, City of

Watertown

$80,138.18

Lancaster, Village of

Lancaster

$255,171.43

Otter Lake Fire Company Inc.

Forestport

$92,406.67

Oswego, City of

Oswego

$176,206.67

Fulton, City of

Fulton

$86,468.18

Worcester Hose Company Inc.

Worcester

$76,190.48

Tully Joint Fire District

Tully

$89,516.19

Batavia, City of

Batavia

$68,880.95

Auburn, City of

Auburn

$38,781.82

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