As the Senate negotiates the next coronavirus relief legislation, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is pushing for vital support for American families. While the House passed the HEROES Act more than two months ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell failed to present comprehensive legislation to address the compounding crises families are facing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, some of the desperately needed benefits authorized under the CARES Act have expired and left millions of Americans, and the economy, in the lurch. Cash-strapped state and local governments have had to minimize essential services and cut staff. More than 31 million Americans were out of work in June and, as enhanced unemployment benefits have expired, millions are struggling to make ends meet, put food on the table, and return to work under phased reopening. Many families have been unable to pay their rent and face eviction, while those who are able to return to work are challenged by the child care crisis and reduced transportation due to budget shortfalls and limited service. Gillibrand is urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to address these urgent challenges and prioritize the needs of hard working Americans in the next coronavirus relief package.
“It’s unacceptable that Majority Leader McConnell has dragged his heels and let the clock run out on benefits that were keeping families and our economy afloat,” said Senator Gillibrand. “New Yorkers, and families across the country, are suffering because of multiple crises — from food insecurity, to lost jobs, to child care shortages and the reduction of essential public services — and Congress must provide a lifeline. I will continue fighting for the inclusion of these crucial proposals in the next relief package in order to help American families face these unprecedented challenges.”
As state and local leaders have voiced growing concern about massive budget shortfalls and impending cuts to essential services due to the COVID-19 crisis, Senator Gillibrand has traveled across New York to call for the Direct Support for Communities Act to provide local governments with direct federal relief that can be used to pay for essential services and offset lost revenues and increased costs. Gillibrand has stood with leaders in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Glens Falls, Watertown, Long Island, Binghamton and Plattsburgh to call for critical funding to alleviate the $240 billion in revenue that New York is projected to lose.
Additionally, Senator Gillibrand is fighting for the following priorities for New Yorkers in the next phase of coronavirus relief legislation:
- $50 billion in federal funding to stabilize child care providers as they work to safely reopen. With nearly half of all child care providers closed due the pandemic, Gillibrand has stood with local leaders in Troy, Poughkeepsie, Ithaca, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse to call for the inclusion of a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund. The fund would provide grant funding to child care providers to stabilize the child care sector and support providers as they safely reopen and operate.
- Extension of enhanced unemployment benefits. 49 states have experienced rising unemployment and unemployment numbers continue to rise with states scaling back plans to reopen businesses. Gillibrand is calling on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to renew the $600 per week unemployment benefit, authorized under the CARES Act, through at least January 31, 2021.
- $3.9 billion in federal funding for the MTA and $3 billion for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Due to the sharp decrease in ridership and the economic shutdown, public transportation is in desperate need of relief to address devastating revenue losses. Gillibrand stood with local leaders in North White Plains to advocate for this funding and sent a letter to Senate leadership to push for its inclusion in the next relief package.
- Expansion of the nationwide moratorium on evictions.More than 14 million people are behind on rent and moratoriums on evictions are expiring across the country. Gillibrand is calling for the inclusion of the Protecting Renters from Evictions and Fees Act of 2020 to expand the nation-wide moratorium on evictions for housing through at least March 27, 2021, protect renters from immediate displacement, and prohibit evictions based on nonpayment of rent.
- Expanded SNAP and P-EBT benefits. Last week, more than 29 million American households didn’t get enough to eat. To address the alarming hunger crisis caused by the pandemic, Gillibrand is pushing the Senate to provide an increase in maximum SNAP benefits by 15%, extend the P-EBT program and expand eligibility, and expand the SNAP program so that more Americans have more options to put nutritious food on the table.