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Schumer, Gillibrand optimistic new Congress will pass COVID-relief aid for states, cities

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Sen. Charles Schumer.

As the U.S. Senate gets down to businesses this week, New York’s two senators are pushing again for more aid to state and local governments, as part of the next COVID-relief bill.

Democrats Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand say the Direct Support for Communities Act, can help pull state and local governments out of the deep budget holes created by the pandemic. And Schumer said it could happen in the first weeks of the Biden administration.

"We’re going to act swiftly and decisively to provide direct federal aid so state, county and local governments can save tens of thousands of vital public service jobs,” Schumer said.

Gillibrand said 70% of the help would be delivered through cities, towns and villages that are classified as Community Development Block Grant communities. The rest would be sent to states to distribute. Gillibrand is optimistic the legislation, which has no number attached yet, will pass, especially with Schumer as the new Senate majority leader, noting it does have some GOP support.

"The ideas in this legislation and most of the COVID-relief packages have been requested by Republicans across the country,” Gillibrand said. “I believe this is something we can do on a bipartisan basis, and even if it does need 60 votes, we have that kind of support.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.