Suozzi, House Democrats Pass COVID-19 Relief Package that Will Deliver Relief to New York
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Tom Suozzi (D-Long Island, Queens) voted to pass President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 relief package that will meet the needs of millions of New Yorkers struggling through the pandemic. Video of Suozzi speaking on the House floor in support of the relief package can be found here.
The COVID-19 relief package will provide aid to state and local governments, help administer COVID-19 vaccines for New Yorkers, help struggling small businesses, create a targeted grant program for live venues, restaurants, and catering halls, issue a new round of $1,400 stimulus checks, and provide enhanced unemployment benefits.
“The pandemic has been cruelly uneven. Some have been unscathed, while others have done well, working remotely, not knowing anyone who has gotten sick or died in their immediate circle,” said Suozzi. “New York was one of the first and hardest-hit states during the pandemic. Carrying the financial burden of the pandemic response has left our state and local governments crippled. But help is on the way for anyone and everyone in need.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Suozzi has been steadfast in his advocacy for federal relief that will benefit New Yorkers, their families, and their businesses. In addition, Suozzi has remained adamant that any future COVID-19 relief package must include desperately needed funding for state and local governments, as well as targeted aid for restaurants, live venues, and catering halls. Congress is slated to pass Biden’s plan by mid-March.
Background on the key provisions of the relief package:
State and local aid:
New York is slated to receive over $23 billion, with $12.6 billion going to the state and $10.8 billion going to counties and other municipalities.
This money will be used to cover the cost of fighting the pandemic, make up lost revenue due to the economic shutdown, and help keep public employees like teachers, firefighters, and police officers employed.
Direct aid for restaurants, live venues, and catering halls:
A targeted grant program for struggling restaurants, catering halls, and live entertainment venues. The proposal stands at $25 billion and will be included in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Under the proposal, individual restaurants or catering halls in New York could qualify for up to $10 million in aid. Of that amount, $5 billion will be reserved for restaurants making under $500,000 a year.
The grant program would be overseen by the Small Businesses Administration and would be available to food and drinking establishments that are not part of a chain or franchise operating system with more than 20 locations. Under the proposed program, restaurants could use the grants to cover payroll, mortgages or rent, set up outdoor seating, provide personal protective equipment, provide paid leave for employees, or cover other expenses that have arisen because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Support for small businesses:
Provides an additional $15 billion for Economic Industry Disaster Loans – a program used to help businesses and non-profit organizations experiencing a loss in revenue. In addition, the relief package has $7.25 billion to offset the cost of expanding the Paycheck Protection Program to include non-profits, unions, and internet-only news publishers.
Provides over $20 billion to establish a national COVID-19 vaccination program and improve the administration and distribution of vaccinations, including:
- Providing $7.5 billion for the CDC to prepare, promote, distribute, monitor, and track COVID-19 vaccines.
- Providing $7.5 billion for FEMA to establish vaccination sites across the country.
- Providing $600 million to be directed to the Indian Health Service for vaccine-related activities.
- Providing $5.2 billion to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to support advanced research, development, manufacturing, production, and purchase of vaccines, therapeutics, and ancillary medical products for COVID-19.
Child tax credits:
The plan would raise the $2,000 Child Tax Credit to $3,000, set the credit at $3,600 for parents of children under the age of 5, and create eligibility for the credit available to parents with 1–17-year-olds. In addition, it would make the credit fully refundable to help benefit low-income households. For a household with a 4-year-old and 7-year-old that doesn’t earn enough to pay income taxes, the plan would boost their maximum child tax credit from $2,800 to $6,600.
A new round of direct payments of $1,400 to supplement the already-enacted $600 payments that were in the end-of-year package from 2020. This new round of stimulus checks will now apply to dependents, no matter what age. A family of four who makes less than $150k would receive $5600. The full amount phases out after $75k for individuals and $150k for married couples.
In New York, over 9.8 million individuals received stimulus checks during the first distribution of stimulus checks last spring.
An extension of the temporary federal unemployment programs that increases the per-week federal supplemental benefit from $300 to $400 until September. If no action is taken, pandemic-related unemployment benefits are set to expire by March 14, cutting off a crucial lifeline for millions of American workers and families.