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Congressional Democrats Introduce New Stimulus Package, Would Provide State and Local Aid

Sen. Chuck Schumer (Twitter @SenSchumer)

May 12, 2020 By Allie Griffin

A new coronavirus stimulus package was unveiled by Congressional Democrats Tuesday that would provide billions in relief funds to help state and local governments.

U.S. Representative Nita Lowey and Senator Charles Schumer announced the Democrat-backed bill today that would provide $67 billion in aid to New York municipalities– including $34.4 billion to the state, $17.2 billion for New York City as well as another $15.1 billion to counties, villages and townships.

The legislation, dubbed the Heroes Act, comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo and Democrats across the country have called on Congress to enact a relief bill that would provide funds to state and local governments.

Many municipalities are in economic turmoil. New York City’s tax revenue, for instance, is projected to drop by $7.4 billion across fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

The passage of the Heroes Act would help state and local governments retain their essential workers, such as healthcare workers and first responders.

Both the governor and mayor have been warning New Yorkers that they might be forced to cut funds for public hospitals, medical centers and other public services if they don’t receive relief funds.

“Our state, county and local governments have ratcheted up their spending to confront the COVID challenge, even while the virus has ripped a hole in their budgets due to collapsing revenue,” Sen. Schumer said in a statement.

“Providing urgent relief to state, county and local governments is not an abstract concept – it is keeping cops, firefighters, bus drivers and more on the job; it is preserving vital services during a pandemic; and it is staving off tax hikes at the worst possible time for the economy,” he added.

The legislation is part of a $3 billion stimulus package that would also provide middle and lower income Americans with another $1,200 stimulus check; hazard pay for essential workers; forgiveness of student debt; and an extension to the $600 weekly unemployment program.

The House is expect to vote on the package as soon as Friday. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said that their is no urgency to pass it and Republicans have expressed hesitancy in supporting it.

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Larry Penner

Today’s Congressional generation could learn much from the late Idaho Republican Senator James A McClure. For 18 years, he read every word of every bill before voting on it. Members of Congress will have to take an Evelyn Wood speed reading class to absorb the 1200 pages contained in Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelopsi (co sponsored by Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer) $3 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill. Only lobbyists and key Congressional staff members (employed by the House and Senate leadership teams) who actually wrote the fine print on behalf of their bosses have any idea of the details buried in the actual contents. There should be a two week minimum time out period. This would provide adequate time for members of Congress, ordinary citizens, the media and independent good government watch dog groups the opportunity to understand all of the contents contained in this legislation. Everyone would also have the option under an open process to comment and discuss the benefits or consequences before others vote up or down for adoption. Congress could hold a series of public hearings in the light of day instead of meeting in the back room of Speaker Pelosi’s office.

If we print more money to pay for this, we run the risk of runaway inflation. We can’t count on tax revenue to cover this and don’t want to borrow money to pay for it. The only nation that could lend us the money is China, which is why we are in this bind in the first place..

Sincerely,

Larry Penner

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Larry Penner

Diogenes is still searching for someone honest in Washington after passage of the most recent $484 billion Corona Virus relief bill. This is the fourth one passed by Congress and signed by the President in the past two months. They total $3 trillion in borrowed money. What about our federal $23 trillion long term debt projected to grow $1 trillion more annually until 2030? We just added another $3 trillion on top of that. Now Senator Schumer and House Speaker Pelosi and their Democratic caucus want another $3 trillion! Pelosi is forcing a vote on this 1200 page bill later this week. She offers no time for anyone to read the fine print. Only the Washington Beltway K Street lobbyists who behind the scenes worked with Congressional staffers to help draft this legislation are aware of all the goodies that will be delivered to their clients. Why no public hearings to discus the details? What happened to open transparency in government? Who is going to bail out Washington? Only government can get away with maxing out its credit cards with no consequences. Sooner or later China and other creditors are going to call in the bill. You can’t continue spending money you don’t have forever.

All levels of government and the private sector must make difficult financial decisions on how to use existing resources. Americans prioritize their own family budgets. They make the difficult choices in how existing resources will be spent. If it can wait till later, it should be postponed. Why can’t we wait until the next federal budget is adopted on or before October 1st in less than five months for federal fiscal year 2021 to consider additional COVID-19 funding?

Shouldn’t the President and Congress find the courage to offset some of these costs by reducing expenditures within the current $4.8 trillion budget? We must freeze future federal spending levels in coming years. This would provide a down payment in paying off this debt.

Larry Penner

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