NYS Council Afternoon Federal and State Update

December 9, 2020

Earlier today during his Daily Briefing, Governor Cuomo repeated a statement he made several weeks ago about the inevitability of NY having to raise taxes and make cuts in order to address our ballooning budget deficits in the current and out years.  He also reminded New Yorkers that no one tax increase will be adequate to address our needs.  To this point, he discussed a letter he had sent this week to members of Congress pleading for NY to receive a proportional amount of state and local funding that is included in any new COVID relief deal passed on The Hill.   And he stated that 72,000 vials of the Pfizer vaccine are on their way to NYC.  On this point, the Governor reiterated what we already know — that nursing home workers and clients, healthcare frontline workers (those with direct contact to COVID 19 clients) and other first responders, are first in line for the vaccine, with other frontline workers to follow.

Yesterday OASAS Medical Director Mark Manseau confirmed that OASAS is pushing hard for congregate care facilities (staff and clients) to be included in the Phase 1 rounds of vaccination implementation, and that he believes OASAS congregate care staff and clients will be included in Phase 1.  Same is true for OMH leads who told us earlier this week that they believe they are being heard regarding the necessity for congregate care facilities to be included in the early rounds of the implementation.  What remains unclear is whether this will include those living and working in other types of housing programs (supported housing etc.)  What also remains unclear is just how many steps there are in ‘Phase 1’ of the NY vaccination implementation  — is it just 1a, 1b and 1c,  or does it go beyond this?
Directly below please find more from Politico on the $908B bipartisan proposal for COVID relief.  And at bottom we have pasted  a summary from the Governor’s Daily Briefing.

Bipartisan coalition releases details of $908B coronavirus package
By Marianne LeVine, Politico
12/09/2020 12:55 PM EST

The bipartisan group of lawmakers pushing a $908 billion coronavirus relief package has reached a broader framework for their measure, but details on liability and state and local aid have yet to be finalized.

According to an outline of the framework released Wednesday, the negotiators have an agreement in principle on providing $160 billion for state and local funding and an agreement in principle on liability “as the basis for good faith negotiations.” State and local aid and liability protections are two of the biggest sticking points among Democrats and Republicans for any Covid relief deal.

The proposal, just one of several, comes as the path forward on coronavirus relief remains unclear. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested Tuesday that liability reform and state and local funding should be scrapped during the current round of negotiations. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, however, was quick to push back and accused McConnell of trying to sabotage the bipartisan talks.

The latest version of the $908 billion package, which is being led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah), would expand federal unemployment benefits to $300 a week for 16 weeks. In addition, it would provide $300 billion to the Small Business Administration to fund the Paycheck Protection Program, $25 billion in rental assistance to states and local governments and extend an eviction moratorium until the end of January 2021. It would also include $10 billion to support child care providers and $82 billion for education providers, as well as more money for testing and vaccines.

The bipartisan group has yet to release final legislative text. The outline of the proposal comes as Congress is facing an imminent government funding deadline. Both McConnell and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have said that any coronavirus relief should be attached to an end-of-the year spending package.

But any coronavirus relief agreement will need buy-in from House and Senate leaders, as well as the White House. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin offered Pelosi a $916 billion package Tuesday. But Pelosi and Schumer responded that its provisions on unemployment were inadequate and warned that the White House “proposal must not be allowed to obstruct the bipartisan Congressional talks that are underway.”

Manchin told reporters Wednesday that the Trump administration’s proposal “didn’t make any sense.” But he thanked the White House “for at least recognizing that the $900 billion is a number that’s doable, feasible and reasonable.”

The $908 billion plan does not include direct stimulus checks to Americans, which Sens. Josh Hawley(R-Mo.) and Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.) are both endorsing and has the backing of President Donald Trump.

Here’s today’s summary from the Governor’s Daily Briefing:

COVID-19 Briefing: Positivity Rate at 5.44%; Tax Increases and Budget Cuts May Be Neccessary

The Governor held a COVID-19 briefing this morning via webinar. He was joined by Gareth Rhodes, Dr. Howard Zucker, Jim Malatras, Melissa DeRosa and Robert Mujica.

Today is day 284 of the pandemic. There were 194,595 tests conducted with a positivity rate of 5.44% positivity rate. Hospitalizations are at 4,993. 95 New Yorkers lost their lives yesterday.image.png

The Governor laid out three COVID operations: Hospital Surge and Flex, Slowing the Spread, and Vaccination. The Governor stressed that a public education campaign is necessary to battle vaccine skepticism. Further, vaccine distribution needs to be inclusive which is a matter of social justice as black + brown communities are disproportionately impacted by COVID.

Hospitals will determine who are high risk, but they expected to be emergency room personnel and pulmonary care professionals. Staff at every hospital will have access to the vaccine when available. EMS workers and other essential workers will follow.

The state will allocate the first shipment based on the number of high risk healthcare workers and nursing home residents in the state. The state has operationalized 90 regional distribution centers for the vaccine as the Pfizer vaccine is expected to be approved by the state and federal government. 6 million doses are expected to be available nationwide with 170,000 going to New York State as soon as this weekend.

New York has opted into the federal program where CVS and Walgreens will vaccinate nursing home residents and staff in facilities. The New York National Guard who serve as part of COVID-19 care will also be vaccinated. The Governor also stressed that New York will lead the way in inclusive and fair vaccine distribution.

Vaccine data will not include data regarding undocumented New Yorkers.

The Governor concluded his webinar press conference calling for federal aid to New York’s state and local governments and that such funds be distributed by need, not politics. Without aid, there will be several thousand state employee layoffs, dramatic tax increases, borrowing and increased fares and tolls.

The Governor was joined by Bill de Blasio and Mario Cilento of the AFL-CIO via web conference. “If you want the US economy to come back you need New York City, you need New York State … returning to our full strength,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.On tax increases: If Washington doesn’t provide enough relief, tax increases will be necessary, says the Governor. He stressed that it is not a political decision and will be done within the budgetThe Governor stressed he believes there will be tax increases and cuts in the budget. He also stressed that there is no tax increase that can make up for the lost revenue from Washington.