MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Mar. 24, 2020

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Espaillat Urges Federal Support of Public Transit Agencies in COVID-19 Recovery Package

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Washington Heights, Sugar Hill) wrote a letter calling for the inclusion of public transit support in the House’s COVID-19 recovery package.

Espaillat, a member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, wrote that public transit will play a critical role once we reach the phase of the pandemic where we can return to normal operations.

“Public transit agencies around the nation are facing immediate emergency needs, and we must ensure policies are in place to help foster a speedy recovery once this crisis is behind us,” said Espaillat. “I am calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy,  Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter A. DeFazio and Ranking Member Sam Graves, Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey and Ranking MemberKay Granger to ensure there are provisions in the economic stimulus package that will allow public transit, including the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), to return to normal operations while continuing their important, stimulating capital projects in New York and in communities around the nation.”

Read the full letter here.

Chin Calls for Relief for NYC Street Vendors

Council Member Margaret Chin
Council Member Margaret Chin

Yesterday, several City Council members, lead by Council Member Margaret Chin (D-Battery Park City, Chinatown), wrote a letter calling on the City to provide economic relief to street vendors.

Although businesses of all sorts have suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, street vendors have been hit particularly hard. Some have seen drops in sales as high as 80 percent. To make matters worse, as sole proprietors, they do not qualify for two of the COVID-19 relief programs – retention grants and zero interest loans – that the Department of Small Business Services is offering.

“We know that the catastrophic economic fallout of this crisis is felt by everyone, but the continued multi-agency enforcement against street vendors compounds on the stresses and record losses confronting them,” said Chin. “I urge the City to re-evaluate its priorities; instead of spending time on squeezing money out of this vulnerable immigrant workforce, we must create a comprehensive relief package that is inclusive of all types of businesses and workers. And that includes street vendors.”

Velázquez Seeks Housing Relief During COVID-19 Crisis

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-LES, Brooklyn, Queens) has written legislation that would suspend rent for public housing tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Ensuring Affordable Housing Security During the Coronavirus Emergency Act” would extend to anyone participating in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s affordable housing programs. It would also provide funding to landlords and Public Housing Authorities to compensate for the suspended rental payments.

“During crises like the current one, it is always the most vulnerable who bear the greatest cost and endure the most hardship,” said Velázquez. “Every day, I’m hearing from out-of-work New Yorkers, families, seniors and others who worry about eviction or falling behind on rent.  This legislation would ensure many of our neighbors who receive federal housing assistance won’t miss rent payments as our nation and city continue navigating these twin economic and public health emergencies.”

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