‘Talk is cheap’: Schumer calls on Trump to start acting on COVID-19 relief funds

Senator Chuck Schumer at a recent press conference.
Photo by Dean Moses

Senator Chuck Schumer called out President Donald Trump Monday morning to stop talking and start acting on behalf of COVID-19 relief funds. 

After a press conference on Dec. 28 in Sunset Park, pushing for South Brooklyn Marine Terminal to become the home to an offshore wind supply chain, Senator Schumer wanted to clear the air in regards to the state the highly publicized stimulus checks. 

Congress has passed a $900 billion COVID-19 relief spending bill that was signed into law Sunday night. If the bill was not signed by midnight on Monday, federal agencies would have been forced to scale back workers and the government would have completely shut down. Millions would also have lost their unemployment benefits, there would be no eviction protection, no stimulus checks, and all money toward vaccine dispersals would be frozen, as well as any other aid that was set to be distributed. 

As the COVID relief clock ticked closer to a governmental doomsday, President Donald Trump signed the bill and through Twitter voiced his displeasure with the dollar amount appearing on stimulus checks. The president believes that the checks should be increased from $600 to $2,000–Tonight he may get his wish. Another vote is now being held by the House and Senate to potentially make these changes. But Schumer isn’t convinced by Trump’s grandstanding.  

“We are fighting very hard to get this done, and we are urging Americans and everyone to put pressure on Republican senators to go along and Donald Trump is at the top of the list. He talked about it, and now he has to act. People need the money,” Schumer stressed. 

For New Yorkers, this current COVID relief bill provides $54 billion in relief, which includes $4 billion for the MTA subway systems to continue operations, $1.6 billion for vaccine dispersal (with a special dedication of $300 million to underprivileged communities), $1.3 for rent relief (including a national moratorium prohibiting eviction extension until May 1st), $20 billion for small businesses and $1 billion for save our stages. Unemployment checks will be able to be distributed uninterrupted with $300 a week. 

“The fight goes on. This bill is not sufficient. It’s an emergency but it’s not enough. And one place it is not enough is relief to people. I am fighting, senate democrats are fighting for $2,000 per person. Donald Trump talked about it, but now he has to act. The House will vote for this tonight, and pass a law for $2,000 per person for a relief check, but it is up to the Senate. Every Senate Democrat is for it, but unfortunately, we don’t have the Republicans on board. Today I am telling Donald Trump: Don’t just talk about it. Act. These Senate Republicans have followed you through thick and thin, get them now to act and support the $2,000 checks,” Schumer said. 

Schumer believes that relief must be provided immediately, but it’s an emergency distribution of funds and more should follow. “I will be on the floor of the Senate tomorrow urging that to happen asking what is called a unanimous consent request and if Republicans go along it will happen. We need that money. People are desperate, they need the help. For the president: Talking is not enough. Act. Get on the phones, get those Republicans in the senate to support $2,000 in relief and that is what we are pushing for.” 

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