New York set to receive $23 billion in COVID relief deal, report finds

March 9, 2021
In The News

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. House is finalizing the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package after top House Democratic leaders announced Tuesday a final vote is scheduled Wednesday.

Locally, both Congressmen from the Twin Tiers – New York Republican Tom Reed and Pennsylvania Republican Fred Keller – are expected to vote against the nearly $2 trillion COVID relief package when it comes up for a vote in the House once again. That is despite some cost-cutting changes in the senate over the weekend.

Those changes include removing the $15-per-hour minimum wage from bill. Moderate Senate Democrats also forced federal unemployment benefits to remain their current level of $300 dollars instead of $400-per-week as House Democrats previously approved.

Reed and Keller want a more targeted approach, arguing another massive relief effort is not needed right now as more Americans are becoming vaccinated against the virus that has caused a year-long pandemic.

“We need to have this dialogue to make sure prisoners who are serving 20 years for molesting children are not getting a $1,400 check,” Reed said. “That, to me, should be a no-brainer.”

“We already appropriated $4 trillion last year,” Keller said, referring to previously approved COVID relief packages. “There is still $1 trillion of that $4 trillion that has not yet been deployed.”

The bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, would give $350 billion to state and local governments. Democrats say it’s necessary. However, Republicans argue that number is far too high. WENY News has been digging into the numbers to see how much our area could receive.

New York state and local governments would receive $23.2 billion under the plan, according to a March 3 report from the Tax Foundation. The State would receive roughly $12.6 billion, while the other $10.6 billion would be dispersed to local and county governments impacted by the pandemic. However, the $23 billion is significantly higher than the total revenue lost during the pandemic, which the reports lists as $1.2 billion.

Pennsylvania, along with state and local governments in the commonwealth, would receive a combined $13 billion under the plan, according to a March 3 report from the Tax Foundation. That’s despite losing just $67 million of revenue in 2020, the report found. The result: state and local governments will receive over 10,800 percent more money than they actually lost in the last year.

A final House vote is not expected until Wednesday morning. If the House passes the Senate version of the bill in its current form, President Biden is expected to sign it by the end of this weekend.