Mayor de Blasio slammed the federal stimulus deal hammered out in Congress over the weekend, calling it “months late and billions short” on Monday.
The $900 billion stimulus package announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) includes emergency relief checks for Americans hit hard by COVID and cash for vaccine delivery, but nothing in the way of direct aid for cities whose budgets have been ravaged by the fallout of COVID-19.
“I can’t even call what the Congress has agreed to a stimulus. It’s not a stimulus. It’s a short-term survival plan,” de Blasio said Monday. “There’s so much missing. You can’t call it stimulus. A stimulus would actually stim-u-late the economy. Help us move forward, help us recover … this barely helps us tread water.”
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With the prospect of having to lay off city workers looming, de Blasio has been calling on the feds for months to provide more aid to New York City. He’s found some savings through furloughs and budget cuts, but not nearly enough to make up for revenue lost because of the pandemic.
The federal stimulus bill is expected to deliver $600 direct payments to most U.S. taxpayers and provide a $300-a-week check to millions who are unemployed, but that’s half of what they received under the prior stimulus, which passed in March.
The new package includes $4 billion in relief for the MTA, a much-needed infusion, but not nearly enough to cover $12 billion in shortfalls that will remain after 2021 due to plummeting ridership.
De Blasio held out hope Monday that President-elect Joe Biden would be able to push through another stimulus upon taking office next month. But depending on the result of two Senate races in Georgia, McConnell could remain in power in the Senate and be in a position to block such a bill.
“If we don’t get substantial help, we cannot provide the services our people need. We can’t keep the good people who serve our people employed,” he said. “I have a lot of faith that President Joe Biden will make it right. We’re going to need something much bigger, much stronger going forward.”
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