Negotiations continue over the $19 billion for state and local funding through FEMA in what could possibly be the second stimulus in a devastating pandemic going on close to ten months now, but there is not enough to go around especially to support transportation.
That is what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez explained to constituents in a Dec. 17 town hall in which she alleged that Republicans continue to withhold state and local support until corporate liability protections are included as well before stimulus talks end.
“We’re going to need more, and we’re going to need more that is in a direct flow to the state, and frankly to states across the country, so that is the current status of negotiations right now on the COVID bill,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “And so, you know, this is just not enough. But we’re being held hostage right now, frankly, the Republican Party is holding 300 million Americans hostage so that they can get corporate liability protections, and it’s just a huge wrong.”
With $600 to $700 in infusions of funding directly to Americans still under negotiations, members of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives were pushing to conclude talks on Sunday. The emergency relief bill could include the $300 per week for 11 weeks, according to the Washington Post.
The funding in this bill could redefine how 2021 will be play out for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as well as New Yorkers who depend on the subways and buses.
The MTA’s proposed budget for the coming year hinges on the federal government providing $4.5 billion to supplement a $2.9 billion loan acquired from the federal reserve to prevent 40% service cuts on subways and buses and a possible 4% fare hike.
“We’re pushing for that money to get to states and localities because we have to save the MTA, and we have to make sure that our that our city remains livable for people, for people that grew up here, you know — that this isn’t just a city for the wealthy and that we are able to make sure that that we can save the actual infrastructure that makes it a place where millions of people can live,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “The MTA is the beating heart of that. It’s the beating heart of our economy and it is the beating heart of our city.”
If federal legislators do not reach an agreement by the Monday at 12:01 a.m. deadline, a government shutdown could be the result.
While the stimulus awaits finalization, disagreements in the 11th hour could arise as was seen in multiple negotiations since the CARES Act, so far the only relief for Americans, was passed.