After getting the package from the Senate Tuesday, U.S. House members voted this afternoon on a fourth COVID relief measure that replenishes a Small Business Administration relief programs. New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney voted in support of the package but says it’s not nearly enough.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been saying that Congress keeps delaying concrete actions to deliver aid to state governments. Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of the 18th District responds:
“Well, the governor’s right to be concerned. And don’t take my word for it. Republican Pete King is calling out Mitch McConnell for abandoning New York. It’s disgraceful. We need Republicans and Democrats from New York to stand together to fight for our state,” says Maloney. “This is a shot below the waterline for a state like New York at every level of state and county, local government, and we need help.”
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent comments have drawn ire from Long Island Republican Congressman Pete King, who tweeted yesterday that McConnell’s dismissive remark that states devastated by coronavirus should go bankrupt rather than receive federal assistance is shameful and indefensible.
“Yeah, it’s a dumb thing to say and it’s not helpful. It’s irresponsible for someone in his position to be so ignorant about what’s happening in New York and to be so dismissive,” says Maloney. “I think it’s worth pointing out that his state, Kentucky, receives $150 billion a year more than it sends to Washington, whereas states like New York send billions more than we receive back.”
Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st District spoke with reporters just before voting Thursday.
“I disagree with Senator McConnell’s statements. Again, I have been consistent and clear in support of direct funding to the counties and to the state for COVID-related issues,” Stefanik says. “New York has a lot of fiscal issues. We have had tremendous fiscal issues because of the irresponsibility of Albany for decades, frankly. And I don’t think it should be a blank check for New York state, but we absolutely have to provide federal relief, like we did during Hurricane Sandy, like we did post-9/11 and it should be targeted toward states that were hit the hardest.”
House members voted on a package that includes three major components — more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, support for hospitals and money for testing. Again, Maloney:
“With respect to the small business relief, there is $310 billion of additional capacity to support small business with forgivable loans, and $60 billion of that has been reserved for community-based financial institutions, like smaller banks and credit unions, to increase the likelihood that small businesses get the help they were promised," Maloney says. "That’s an improvement but the overall size of the program still needs to be big enough to keep faith with every person who was promised relief and who has been keeping their employees on the payroll in good faith.”
The $349 billion in funding for the Paycheck Protection Program created by the third coronavirus relief package — the CARES Act — ran out last week. Meantime, he’s calling for a bipartisan commission to look into how the pandemic was handled.
“We have an emergency and we need to take care of the emergency first but, when the dust settles, there should be a bipartisan national commission similar to the Warren Commission or the 9/11 Commission that investigates what happened and why our response was so bad,” Maloney says. “We have tens of thousands of Americans who have lost their lives. Thousands of New Yorkers are suffering. We need to have answers and we need to learn the lessons so we are never in this position again.”
Congressional members are next working on a bill that’s being called CARES 2.