De Blasio, Schumer cut out Cuomo as middleman in deliverance of stimulus funds

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Senator Chuck Schumer urges New Yorkers to start preparing their documentation for the funeral aid application process, which will be starting soon.
Photo by Dean Moses

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer say $6 billion in federal stimulus funding through the American Rescue Act will be coming to New York City, but not funneled through the state government.

Schumer made an appearance during de Blasio’s morning press conference on Thursday stating that it would come from the feds through a direct payment to ensure none of the funding would be raided by the Cuomo administration.

“There’s money to open our schools, and there is money for the city of New York and with the mayor’s help guidance and a little bit of priming,” Schumer said. “We made sure that money doesn’t come through Albany, it goes directly to the city, because when Albany gets the money sometimes the city doesn’t see all of it. So here we are, the state is getting more than enough money to deal with their problems as well, but the city of New York gets over $6 billion.”

Also bypassing the state will be up to 100 city Community Health Centers which will be funded by the federal government and see a surge of vaccine allocations made possible by the $1.9 billion American Rescue Plan, according to Schumer.

The mayor’s comments on recent decisions by the Cuomo administration reflected a larger lack of confidence in the embattled governor’s ability to lead at this time considering the sheer number of scandals currently in orbit around the executive chamber. Among the problems on the de Blasio list of concerns were the six women who have launched allegations of sexual harassment against Cuomo, as well as a recent report calling into question the structural integrity of the Mario Cuomo Bridge.

In response to a question about two-week quarantine orders for travelers entering New York through airports being lifted, Mayor de Blasio said it did not sit right at this stage in the pandemic recovery.

“I believe in local control. And here’s another case where New York City was not consulted, even though, you know, we’re one of the biggest cities in the world and 43 percent of the state’s population, we were not consulted,” de Blasio said. “Of course, I have concerns about this. You know, I think the introduction of the virus from outside has been one of the biggest and toughest X-factors in this whole crisis and something we worry about very much going forward. So, I will analyze it with our health team before I give you a more detailed response.”

Dr. Jay Varma, a senior advisor to Mayor de Blasio, the Cuomo administration could be jumping the gun by lifting travel restrictions at a time when, by his count, 51% of cases in the city can be attributed to foreign strains.

“We know that one of the ways to help reduce infections is to limit the amount of travel that’s going in and out of the city. And also, when people do travel to take extra precautions, like being tested before and being tested after,” Varma said. “And we think that that really does, is really an important measure to keep in place until we get to a place where a far greater percentage of our population is vaccinated.”

The debate of whether or not the governor needs to resign or be impeached advanced further as well on Thursday with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie issuing a cryptic statement that there would be a conference to discuss “potential paths forward.”

Up to 59 senators and assembly members have signed onto a statement calling for Cuomo’s resignation.