U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer called the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package “the exact kind of medicine” that the nation and the state needs.
During a conference call with U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Wednesday, Schumer said nearly every New Yorker will likely be touched by the aid package.
“We can tell New Yorkers that help is on the way,” said Schumer. “It's quick aid and large aid, big aid.”
The package includes billions for state and county governments, including $128 million for Monroe County, and funding for transit systems like RTS, hospitals, small businesses, nonprofits, Native American reservations, and extended unemployment payments.
The package also includes funds for nearly every adult in the country. For many, that will be $1,200, but it'll vary based on the size of your family and how much you make. He said many Americans will receive it in a few weeks.
Gillibrand said the bill was a product of hard-fought compromises aimed to lessen the blow of the virus on everybody.
“This is triage,” said Gillibrand. “We are trying to put the most resources into the hands of the people who need it most right now, so that people can actually buy groceries, so that hospitals don’t have to turn off the lights. So that hospitals don’t have to declare bankruptcy.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the package does not do not enough for the state. He said New York had a budget deficit before the pandemic and has spent a billion dollars on relief efforts so far. He expects that number to balloon.
“I’m telling you,” said Cuomo. “These numbers don’t work. And I told the House members that we really need their help.”
Schumer and Gillibrand said that Democrats wanted the bill to be larger and include guaranteed sick leave for Americans, but they insisted that this bill will do a lot for New York. Gillibrand said Cuomo's criticism loses sight for what the bill is for.
"This is just a first step," said Gillibrand. "No one should think that this is going to complete the New York state budget for the year. It has nothing to do with the New York state budget or the hole that we're making because of the amount of expenses that we're making. What this does is provide emergency relief to hospitals, people, businesses, and small businesses right away."
Schumer said Cuomo’s appraisal of the bill isn’t taking into account large swaths of the bill that put money directly in the hands of New Yorkers.
With that money and other disaster relief likely, Schumer says New York is getting one of the largest percentages of the aid package in the country. He estimates that between $60 billion and $100 billion will be spent on New York state.
And, he said, more aid is likely.
“This will not be the last package,” said Schumer. “There'll be more money that’s coming in. But we think this is a very strong, strong medicine for New York to help fight the economic and health care crises caused by corona.”
Final approval of the package is expected Wednesday night.