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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called on the U.S. Senate Wednesday to pass a coronavirus relief bill that helps all Americans and provides unrestricted fiscal support for states. The next bill should focus on funding state and local governments, working families, state testing and tracing efforts and a real economic stimulus with no handouts to corporations who do not protect their workers and only enrich executives or shareholders. The House of Representatives has already passed a bill that includes $500 billion for states and $375 billion for locals; Medicaid funding for the most vulnerable; increased SNAP food assistance; 100 percent FEMA federal assistance; funding for testing; and repeals SALT cap to help states most affected by COVID-19.

In a press conference Wednesday Congressman Tom Reed (R- 23rd NY Congressional District) accused Cuomo of sitting on $5 billion that Reed said should have been distributed to the state's counties. He said he predicts a new bill will take distribution of the federal aid out of the Governor's hands, with the federal government distributing it directly to counties and municipalities.

"Other States are honoring the legislative intent of CARES Act One that distributes that money to the local governments," Reed said. But the governor of New York and some other governors have decided to ignore that and sit on that money in the state Capitol That being said, I'm looking forward and so over the last 60 days, I've reached out to the National Association of Counties, the US Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, and have been working with the White House, and Mitch McConnell's team. I think the reality is that you're going to see a state and local aid package put together. That is going to honor a couple of things. One, making sure that there's direct local assistance to our local governments, like our counties, like our cities, like our villages, like our towns."

Congressman Tom Suozzi (D - 3rd NYS Congressional District) in a Wednesday press conference said that New York Congressmen of both parties have joined to try to get equitable COVID-19 aid for communities in their state. He noted that over the past five years over New York State taxpayers have sent $120 billion more to the federal government than they have gotten back. He said that making sure that there is a pot of money that is distributed based upon the rate of infection to our States is non-negotiable to New York representatives.

"This just really got my interest early on in the process when we were distributing money to hospitals and those $30 billion at first tranche of money that out to the hospitals and more money went to the Texas hospitals with which at the time at two and a half percent of the cases that went to the New York hospitals, which at the time had over 30% of the cases," Suozzi said ). "And so I worked very hard getting bipartisan support from Tom Reed and every Democrat and every Republican in New York state to push for a special hotspot fund, uh, to be distributed based upon the rate of infection. We've got a $10 billion fund and of that $4 billion is going into New York hospitals."

The Governor also renewed his call for Congress to pass the 'Americans First Law' to help prevent corporate bailouts following the COVID-19 pandemic. First proposed by the Governor on May 10th, the legislation states that a corporation cannot be eligible to receive government funding if it doesn't maintain the same number of employees that the corporation had before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cuomo also urged President Trump to support a real public infrastructure program and to advance infrastructure projects in New York -- including the LaGuardia AirTrain, the Cross-Hudson Tunnels, and the Second Avenue Subway expansion -- to help supercharge the economy.

Reed said there is bipartisan support for an infrastructure program, saying that 50 Republicans and Democrats in the Problem Solvers caucus in the House of Representatives, which he co-chairs. He said it may or may not be in the next legislative package, but believes "there is an appetite for an infrastructure project this year."

"Those 25 Republicans and 25 Democrats committed to come together and we have supported infrastructure deal and even our back to work checklist that we put together as a group gave to our 75% consensus to support it, to give the seal of approval of the Problem Solvers Caucus," Reed said. "Infrastructure was part of the economic stimulus, a portion of it to go forward. And so it's not just about, roads and highways that's included, inclusive of looking over the horizon in the next 50 years, 35 years. What are the infrastructure investments that are necessary for us to go forward and up? Broadband is obviously right in the middle of that."

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