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U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer

July 12, 2020 - 2:54pm

Press release:

Citing COVID-19 costs too big for New York school districts to carry alone, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer revealed that without specific federal funds New York schools might not be able to reopen safely come fall. 

“Everyone wants our schools to reopen, but the federal government must lead the way by funding the safety measures that would open the doors of New York and the nation’s schools in a way that helps ensure the coronavirus does not needlessly spread or infect teachers, kids or staff,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. 

“Without federal dollars to cover the massive costs of PPE, barriers, cleaning supplies and more, local school budgets across Upstate New York would be crushed, local taxes could rise and some schools might simply stay closed—and we do not want that. That’s why we need to take action in ‘COVID-4’ and commit $175 billion to the goal of safely reopening K-12 schools for all,” Schumer added.

Schumer said costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), physical barriers and other supplies at schools, like those used for cleaning, could badly drain local resources, making it much harder for New York districts to open safely and ensure the collective protection of kids, teachers and staff.

He announced a new legislative push to include much-needed assistance in a “Corona-4” legislative package. His plan would work to substantially cover the aforementioned costs with federal dollars, allowing schools to safely reopen. Schumer is pushing for $175 billion dollars for K-12 schools across the country, and says New York would see a massive chunk of that allotment. 

Schumer’s plan, crafted alongside U.S. Senator Patty Murray, was just introduced as the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), and includes other efforts as well, each critical to supporting childcare and education amid the pandemic. Schumer explained that without major help from the federal government, New York would be devastated and the nation would risk losing 4.5 million child care slots and losing 1.9 million education jobs, exacerbating students’ learning loss. 

“The bottom line here is that the coronavirus brought with it unprecedented health and economic challenges for students, families, educators, and learning institutions across the country—challenges disproportionately felt by students of color, students from low-income families, students with disabilities, and more,” Schumer said. “So, action is needed now to save teaching jobs, preserve millions of child care slots, and ensure every student has access to a safe, quality education.”

Highlighted aspects of the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA) Schumer will fight for in COVID-4 include:

  • $50 billion for a Child Care Stabilization Fund, to ensure that child care providers can stay open, educators can continue getting paid, and working families get tuition relief;
  • $1.5 billion to address and prevent child abuse and neglect, to support the child welfare workforce and to fund community-based prevention programs that strengthen families;
  • $345 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund, including:
    • $175 billion for K-12 schools, to help schools address learning loss, implement public health protocols, and provide quality education to all students—whether they open in-person, remotely, or a hybrid of both;
    • $132 billion for higher education, to help colleges and universities deliver a quality education for their students, implement public health protocols, and provide emergency financial aid to students for expenses like food, housing, child care, and technology;
    • $33 billion for a Governor’s Fund, to allow governors to allocate funds for needed educational services to areas of their states hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
June 30, 2020 - 2:06pm

Press release:

Noting that the clock is ticking, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer called on the Trump Administration to extend the nation’s public health emergency declaration first issued this past winter to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Schumer warned that the declaration will expire on July 25th unless the feds soon act, and reminded that executive branch delay on the emergency declaration this past winter set us back in the COVID fight.

Schumer said Health and Human Services (HHS) should announce an extension ASAP and give locals across New York the reassurances they need to keep the COVID fight going. Schumer cautioned, that without action, New York stands to lose collective billions in state and local healthcare funds, FEMA disaster dollars and even tele-health services, like those for Hospice and everyday healthcare.

“If we have learned anything from COVID-19 it is that a ‘stitch in time saves nine,’ and the more we can do to be proactive, the better off the public will be,” Schumer said. “This past winter there was delay and dismissal towards those urging HHS to officially declare a public health emergency as it relates to the coronavirus.

"Well, we cannot -- and we must not -- have that kind of inaction and uncertainly now, especially with what we know and with the sustaining needs of New York. We need the public health emergency extended ASAP to keep healthcare dollars and FEMA funds flowing to this state, and we need the declaration to keep our local health departments fully supported. The clock is ticking as July dawns, so we need this action now.”

Aside from the very clear public health consequences, Schumer said New York would lose billions of dollars collectively if the Trump administration fails to extend the public health emergency declaration. Just last week, more than $300,000,000 in federal healthcare dollars were dispersed across New York State.

Those funds are part of a combined $2.5 billion in the pipeline and already secured for New York as part of the Families First Coronavirus stimulus package, which are tethered to the emergency declaration.

In addition, as of June 1, FEMA had obligated over $1.1 billion to New York under the state’s COVID Major Disaster Declaration and the agency is looking to the public health emergency declaration to define how much longer it will continue reimbursing New York, and in particular New York City, for related expenses. Should the public health emergency end, FEMA has indicated that the funds flowing from the Disaster Relief Fund will also stop.

“New York is by no means out of the woods with the coronavirus, especially given the upticks we are seeing in other states and the risk those upticks pose here when you take travel into account,” Schumer added. “Extending this declaration will keep New York positioned to both respond and to keep fighting.”

In addition, Schumer also detailed the CDC’s Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund, which without an emergency extension would be locked up like it was before the first declaration was made at the beginning of the year. The account’s funds are being used to support local health departments and increased staffing across the city and on Long Island.

Schumer explained that these dollars could also be used by the CDC for, amongst other things:

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

Schumer also explained how the emergency declaration has allowed vulnerable and high-risk patients to avoid potential exposure to the coronavirus at hospitals and health centers by expanding federal eligibility to receive routine care through telehealth and digital care.

Federal support and coverage for this type of medical care has saved countless lives because clinicians can use tele-health to fulfill many face-to-face visit requirements to see patients, says Schumer, adding that this has been one of the main requests of in inpatient rehabilitation facilities, hospice and home health professionals who are now using apps with audio and video capabilities to have patients visit with their doctors or practitioners.

Finally, Schumer listed other necessities that would cease unless the public health emergency is extended:

  • Nutrition assistance for kids who would normally receive free or reduced lunch in school would cease;
  • Access to SNAP would be restricted;
  • Seniors who rely on Meals on Wheels would see their access to food restricted;
  • A massive restriction on assistance hospitals and doctors rely on to keep their doors open during the crisis;
  • Reduced access for out of work individuals to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance;
  • Reduced access to prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare.
April 2, 2020 - 5:12pm

From Senator Charles Schumer's Office:

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer today sent a new letter to President Trump this afternoon (April 2) calling on the administration to immediately appoint a senior military officer as "Czar" to complete and rapidly implement a government-wide plan for the increased production, procurement and distribution of critically needed medical devices and equipment, with full and complete authority under the Defense Production Act (DPA) he originally pushed to invoke.

Schumer says that with more than 85,000 cases of COVID-19 spreading across all 62 counties in New York, that the present personnel are "not up for the job." There's a continued shortage of masks, gowns and other personal propection equipment, and ventilators.

"No one is really in charge of getting these critical items to where they are needed," Schumer said.

He emphasized that as the coronavirus spreads rapidly and its toll grows more severe, a state of affairs further compounded by the administration’s tardy response to the crisis, the immediate appointment of a senior military officer to help remedy the country’s well-documented shortage of protective equipment, tests, and medical supplies is paramount.

Read Schumer’s letter to President Trump here.

March 18, 2020 - 4:33pm

Press release:

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced today that the Senate has passed another bipartisan emergency legislative package to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19), sending the bill that will deliver billions of dollars to New York, and millions to the counties, to President Trump for his signature.

Schumer successfully pushed to include a cost-sharing provision in the legislation so New York’s counties, which pay part of Medicaid’s costs, benefit from the increase federal Medicaid support. Schumer has successfully championed this provision in prior disaster response legislation, including after 9/11, Hurricane Sandy and the 2008 financial meltdown.

The Schumer-backed emergency measure delivers billions to New York and its counties immediately, while the state, city and local governments works to contain the virus’s spread and cover mounting costs in new "hot spots."

“Enhanced FMAP funds are so important because they are immediate and flexible. The state – which gets billions and the most of any state in the nation – and counties use the money they save on whatever they want, alleviating pressure from the crisis,” Senator Schumer said.

“New York is the national epicenter in the coronavirus fight and this bill will ensure New York and its counties have the tools, the dollars, and the federal resources to go at the virus with full force. I am proud to deliver this support that will unlock billions for New York state and send money directly to counties on the front lines of this battle as we all work together to contain the virus’s spread and cover mounting costs.”

Schumer explained that statewide dollars related to healthcare funds known as “FMAP," unemployment benefits, and meals for seniors who might become homebound were included in the final bill, and said all of this will mean billions for New York. Schumer called on Leader McConnell to work with him last week to send the measure to President Trump’s desk ASAP.

“This passed in the Senate with bipartisan effort because we recognize the challenges that states, especially New York, are facing in the coronavirus battle,” added Schumer. “These are dollars for New York healthcare, free testing, paid emergency leave, unemployment insurance, meals for homebound seniors, and other critical efforts that are needed to sustain the mission.”

Schumer said he scored the haul by temporarily adjusting the state’s Medicaid reimbursement rate. Right now, the federal government pays 50 percent of expenses for Medicaid in New York. Under the deal, the feds would temporarily pay approximately 56 percent.

New York Essentials

+$6B in healthcare funds for New York -- Schumer explained, once signed by President Trump, on an annual basis, the bipartisan deal will deliver more than $6 billion in critical healthcare dollars to New York in the form of what is called “FMAP,” which encompasses the state’s Medicaid program. That program is jointly funded by the federal government and the states. FMAP is a matching rate enacted in 1965 that determines the federal funding share for state Medicaid programs.

The federal government matches state funds spent on Medicaid, based on the state’s FMAP, which varies by state. For example, New York’s FMAP is 50 percent. This means that for every dollar spent on Medicaid in New York, New York’s share of the cost is fifty cents (this 50 cents, in turn, is split between the State and Counties and localities), while the federal government chips in the other 50 cents.

Only some states have FMAPs of 50 percent and New York is one — Schumer’s efforts increased the federal share of New York’s Medicaid program to 56.2 percent, thereby dropping the state’s share to 43.8 percent. This delivers more federal dollars immediately to the state and localities, to the tune of more than $6B annually.  

The Breakdown

State share: $5.26 billion

NYC share: $1.038 billion

Counties share: $436 million

  • Genesee County: $1.9 million

​The Medicaid program plays a critical role in helping states respond to disasters and public health emergencies like the coronavirus. For example, Medicaid was able to provide enhanced funding and coverage in response to the Zika virus outbreak in Puerto Rico. There are also millions of Americans who depend on Medicaid for access to essential health care, including vaccines and diagnostic tests.

Recognizing that New York State and localities are in dire need of direct fiscal aid and are forced to share the cost of Medicaid, Schumer in 2009, fought to make sure that New York State counties and localities received direct aid from FMAP through the financial crisis, a roughly $12B package. Even farther back, in 2003, Schumer was successful in getting a share of FMAP for states during an economic downturn, of $10 billion in fiscal relief through a temporary FMAP increase that lasted five fiscal quarters. 

$1B for people who might find themselves out of work—Schumer explained, once signed by President Trump, the Act will also deliver more than $1B in additional unemployment benefits to states, unlocking tens of millions of new dollars to help New York as the virus’s economic impacts risk taking effect. This emergency package would also waive certain measures, such as work search requirements or waiting weeks to those who have lost their jobs over the spread of coronavirus, or those who have been diagnosed. Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs provide unemployment benefits to eligible workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own, and meet certain other eligibility requirements.  

$15M dedicated specially to New York seniors who might need meals—Schumer explained, once signed by President Trump, the emergency bill will also include a special pot of $15 million for meals homebound seniors might require. The funds would be in addition to a larger federal tranche of hundreds of millions that would deliver more resources to local food banks and pantries. Schumer said the meals for seniors is especially important because these folks are most vulnerable to the virus and might need to remain socially isolated for a certain duration.

In addition to this bill, Schumer also negotiated and passed an emergency $8.3 billion coronavirus supplemental signed by President Trump last week that will deliver hundreds-of-millions to New York State, New York City and New York institutions as they wage the fight and ramp up virus testing measures. Moreover, yesterday, at Schumer’s urging, President Trump heeded the call to enact a national emergency. The disaster declaration will allow FEMA to provide emergency protective measures to the state at a 75 percent federal to 25 percent state cost share for a wide range of eligible expenses and activities.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also delivers billions in free coronavirus testing, paid sick leave for workers, strengthens food assistance by $1B.

As of 8 a.m. today, March 18th, the New York Department of Health reported more than 1,300 cases in New York state, with 17 deaths.

While the immediate health risk to the majority of the American public is thought to remain low, Schumer has emphasized that the challenges of community spread have already begun to strain New York state and local government responses, particularly health departments, which is why this latest measure is so critical.

Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus In New York (8 a.m., March 18)

New York City

1,399 (10 deaths)

Albany

36

Allegany

1

Broome

1

Chenango

1

Clinton

1

Delaware

1

Dutchess 

20

Erie

7

Genesee

1

Greene 

2

Herkimer

1

Jefferson

1

Montgomery

1

Monroe 

14 (1 death)

Nassau

183 (1 death)

Niagara

1

Oneida

2

Onondaga

2

Ontario 

1

Orange

32

Putnam

2

Rensselaer

1

Rockland

30 (2 deaths)

Saratoga

14

Schenectady

5

Suffolk

116 (3 deaths)

Sullivan

1

Tioga

1

Tompkins

3

Ulster 

8

Westchester

538

Wyoming

1

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