U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer paid a visit to Glens Falls today to tout the benefits of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan stimulus package signed by President Biden.
In his first visit to Glens Falls as majority leader, Senator Schumer appeared with local officials and business owners at the downtown Wood Theater.
The Democrat came to tout the rollout of the American Rescue Plan COVID relief package.
“To the City of Glens Falls and the County of Warren, and the Capital Region: Help is on the way,” said Schumer.
Under the stage lights, Schumer wore a facemask printed with the words Save Our Stages, to celebrate the legislation of the same name. The $15 billion Save Our Stages Act passed in December, and a $1.25 billion provision in the American Rescue Plan bolstered the program.
“If this bill hadn’t passed, just about all of them hadn’t gone under. Gone. Because there’s no money. And it’s not just here, the Wood Theater, but the Strand Theater, the Historic Park Theater…all very, very important,” said Schumer.
Beginning next Friday, venues will be able to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans and Shuttered Venue Operators grants.
Emily Murphy, the Wood Theater’s Executive Director, said the theater did offer virtual programming under shutdown orders, but the funding is sorely needed.
“We did things like a virtual talent show and holiday craft classes all online, either through YouTube or Facebook, those kinds of things. But we’re a staff of just three here and our resources are extremely limited. And we also knew that entertainment dollars were also extremely limited. They are in a normal world. But we knew that our community was impacted just like us, so it was difficult to sell tickets to those kinds of things,” said Murphy.
Schumer also touted the funding the American Rescue Plan makes available to state and local governments. The City of Glens Falls will receive $12.2 million and is forming a commission to determine how to utilize the federal aid. Mayor Dan Hall, a fellow Democrat, addressed the Senator on stage.
“You kept your promise, you were going to help the local governments. And again, that was something that was coming up in the debate about, you know, ‘We’re not going to give money to the state and to the governments because they’re just going to spend it on frivolous things, but you fought for fought hard for that and we can’t thank you enough for that and it really is going to help us,” said Hall.
Washington County will receive $11.8 million and Warren County $12.4 million. During his visit, Schumer recognized the 2020 death of Ed Bartholomew, a former Republican Mayor of Glens Falls who at the time of his death had been serving as the city’s economic development director and President of EDC Warren County.
Republican Warren County Board of Supervisors Chair Rachel Seeber presented Schumer with a baseball cap printed with the words “Team Warren County,” which Schumer put on.
“So when you think about our friend Ed Bartholomew, we think about teamwork. So on behalf of Warren County, please accept our Team Warren County hat…”
Schumer also invited a local chef to speak about the Save Our Restaurants Act, and a working mom and small business owner to highlight the $1400 checks to individuals that are still being rolled out. He also said recent Department of Labor statistics showing a growth in U.S. jobs over 900,000 in March shows Washington’s recent actions are “helping America.”
Asked by reporters about the federal stimulus spending and its impact on the deficit, the Democrat defended the bill.
“When you have a ditch brought on by a plague or something outside, the way to get things going is pump some money into the economy and put more money in than you’re taking out. So this will increase the deficit. But let me tell you, if we did nothing the deficit would be much worse.”