WASHINGTON — New York is expected to receive $54 billion in emergency coronavirus relief to help its staggering economy once Congress passes a long-awaited $900 billion aid package later Monday, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told The Post.
The deal will include $20 billion in small business loans, $9 billion in $600 direct cash payments, $6.4 billion for enhanced unemployment benefits, $4.2 billion for the cash-strapped Metropolitan Transit Authority, $4 billion for the state’s public schools and $1.3 for emergency rental assistance, his office said.
While the package will be an urgently needed shot in the arm for the state that has suffered the highest COVID-19 death rate, Schumer (D-NY) admitted it didn’t go far enough.
“It’s not enough but it deals with the emergency,” Schumer told The Post ahead of a vote on the bill later Monday.
“There’s $4 billion for mass transit, which is what the MTA said they needed to avoid significant cutbacks, and there’s going to be significant money for schools,” he continued.
“I hope we can get a bigger, stronger bill in a few months with a new president. This bill, you know, is sort of a bridge until we get a bigger bill and the vaccine,” he said.
Another $15 billion in the federal “Save Our Stages” provision, spearheaded by Schumer, will support Broadway and other comedy halls, music venues and cultural institutions around the country.
In a tweet Monday, comedian Jerry Seinfeld thanked Schumer and shared a photo of them on stage at the Gotham Comedy Club in September.
“Thanks @SenSchumer for getting SAVE OUR STAGES in the COVID relief bill. I got to help a tiny bit. Politics is much easier than I thought. Let’s keep fixing things!”
Lawmakers who had been at loggerheads for months are expected to finally pass a $900 billion relief package Monday evening with just days left in this year’s legislative session.
Democrats and Republicans had been at odds over how much to spend.
House Democrats passed the $3.3 trillion CARES Act in May, but it went nowhere as GOP lawmakers concerned with government spending refused to pass anything with a price tag higher than $1 trillion.
Schumer, a key figure in the negotiations, said he was optimistic that Democrats could secure another wave of relief in Joe Biden’s Washington — even as control of the upper chamber in 2021 hangs in the balance ahead of two Georgia Senate runoff races.
“Even if the Republicans stay in control, I think with a Democratic president pointing out how great the needs are and many Republican senators who realize those needs but didn’t want to buck Donald Trump, I think we have a good chance to get a bigger bill no matter who’s in charge,” he speculated.
When asked what his biggest priorities were for the next package, the New York senator named funding for broke state and local governments and the reeling restaurant sector.
The Big Apple’s once-booming hospitality industry is facing a disastrous winter ahead after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he was banning indoor dining as temperatures drop.
With tens of millions of Americans facing food insecurity, Democrats and Republicans who waited nine months to pass more relief were criticized for not reaching a deal sooner.
Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who caucuses with the Democrats, criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for not taking a $1.8 billion deal offered by the White House in October.
Progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) last week also fired a broadside at Pelosi and Schumer, saying it was time for the party to change leaders and pass the reins to a younger generation.
When asked about the comments Monday, Schumer responded: “I’m not commenting on that.”