Congress’ Next Move to Help Finish the Fight Against Coronavirus
Op-ed by Congressman Lee Zeldin
On Long Island, every level of government has worked together to help provide our communities with the resources necessary to combat the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to securing over 1.2 million pieces of PPE for Suffolk County in one month alone when Coronavirus first hit Long Island, I’ve worked with others in government to deliver over $280 million in federal funding for Suffolk County government, while also working to provide Long Island taxpayers with critical tax relief, by successfully getting the Municipal Liquidity Facility’s federal financing assistance expanded to include Suffolk County.
However, in the next Congressional coronavirus relief bill, there’s more that needs to be done so we can get back to our way of life once and for all. There must be additional funding for our local small businesses now struggling to survive. The Paycheck Protection Program saved over 177,000 jobs in Suffolk County alone, especially the second tranche of funding which was rolled out significantly more efficiently and effectively than the first. In addition to providing more funding for this program, we must also increase the amount of the loan eligible for forgiveness so we can provide maximum relief to Long Island’s small business owners.
In addition to funding for small businesses, our state and local governments need additional direct funding to recover fiscally, while ensuring they have the resources to stave off any future coronavirus upticks. Almost all economic activity ceased in order to prevent the spread of this pandemic, and, as a result, our local governments have incurred massive financial losses.
This next Coronavirus response bill should also include additional help for individuals and families, education, testing, food assistance and more.
However, what’s in the next coronavirus relief bill is as important as what’s not in it. It must be legislation crafted with bipartisanship, debate, vetting, discussion and compromise. Unfortunately, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put forward proposals that include a massive prison release, the ability for people illegally in our country to receive stimulus checks, an unemployment insurance provision that would keep too many people out of the workforce well into 2021, and drastic election changes that will open the door for voter fraud by legalizing ballot harvesting throughout America, banning voter ID nationally, and far more.
The only legislation that will provide Long Islanders coronavirus relief is legislation that can get over the finish line, and Speaker Pelosi’s partisan messaging bills hurt the people who need relief most.
The only way to end the fight against coronavirus is not as Democrats first or Republicans first, but as Americans first. As we put together the next coronavirus relief package, we must work in a nonpartisan manner to deliver the resources Long Island needs to emerge from this year stronger than ever before.
Congressman Lee Zeldin represents New York’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives where he serves as a member of the bipartisan Congressional Coronavirus Task Force and the White House’s Opening up America Again Congressional Group.