Brindisi Fights for And Secures Upstate Priorities In Coronavirus Relief Legislation


March 26, 2020
Press Release

Following Brindisi’s Call For Washington To Put Politics Aside, Sweeping Bipartisan Deal Announced To Deliver Crucial Economic Relief & Aid For Medical Institutions


Congressman Supports Relief for Workers, Families, Small Businesses, Health Care Facilities & More


Brindisi: We Are In A Global Crisis & We Need To Work Together; The CARES Act Delivers Critical Relief For New York


Congressman Anthony Brindisi announced his support of a bipartisan coronavirus economic relief package. Following Brindisi’s call for Washington to put politics aside, Congress announced a bipartisan deal for an economic relief package for hard working Americans. 


Brindisi fought to secure critical dollars for New York in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Brindisi worked to ensure workers, families, small businesses, health care workers, counties, and rural hospitals have the resources they need. Because of Brindisi’s work and this legislation, Americans in need will receive a check, small businesses will see relief, and medical workers will have access to the equipment and resources they need.  


“We find ourselves in a global crisis and I am proud to have put politics aside, worked together, and delivered real economic relief and aid to our families, small businesses, consumers, health care workers, counties, and local governments,” Brindisi said. “This legislation delivers resources for our local communities and supplements the more than $30 million I secured earlier this month. Whether you are a worker who recently became unemployed, a parent who became a home-school teacher, a small business owner forced to close your doors, a farmer worried about getting your product to market, or a health care worker on the front lines, or anyone across New York: help is on the way. We will get through this together.”


During negotiations Brindisi advocated for Upstate New York priorities and delivered.  Thanks in part to Brindisi’s advocacy, this legislation will:

  • Provide direct payments to Americans of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, expand unemployment insurance, and deliver additional relief for small businesses, including $10 billion for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
  • Ensure medical professionals and first responders have access to critical equipment with a $16 billion investment in the national stockpile of equipment like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other critical supplies
  • Exclude political riders like proposed plans to include the Green New Deal or corporate slush-funds
  • Provide economic and relief for farmers, specifically dairy farmers, including a $9.5 billion in disaster funding for USDA to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus including targeted support for fruit and vegetable growers, dairy and livestock farmers, and a $14 billion  increase to the Commodity Credit Corporation
  • Prioritize relief for rural communities and ensures schools, communities, and rural areas have access to reliable broadband by investing millions
    • $100 million ReConnect Pilot-The bill provides grants for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas
    • $25 million for Distance Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband Program-The bill provides additional funding for the DLT grant program, which supports rural communities’ access to telecommunications-enabled information, audio, and video equipment, as well as related advanced technologies for students, teachers, and medical professionals.
  • Aid our rural hospitals by providing $150 billion in relief to hospitals and medical centers

Earlier this month, Brindisi fought to secure more than $30 million for local counties. Additionally, he worked to pass legislation that secured emergency paid leave, small business assistance, and free coronavirus testing for all. 


Brindisi’s efforts were praised by local advocacy groups and members of the community.


“This pandemic has been devastating financially to millions of Americans, especially New York and to the health care system of New York,” said Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, President and CEO of Mohawk Valley Hospital System. “We need every dollar we can get and not settle for less. We appreciate Congressman Brindisi for going to bat for the healthcare system in New York."


“The passage of the CARES Act will assist Food Bank of Central New York, along with the nationwide network of 200 food banks, to continue to provide nutritious foods to the communities we serve during this unprecedented pandemic,” said Karen Belcher, Interim Executive Director at Food Bank of Central New York. “At a time like this, additional funding for vital nutrition programs like TEFAP and SNAP that many children, individuals, families, and seniors need is crucial for the ongoing work of Food Bank of Central New York. We thank Congressman Brindisi for voting in favor of critical funding that is necessary to continue to strengthen the safety net of services for our friends and neighbors in need during these uncertain times.”


“I want to thank Congressman Brindisi for securing these critical dollars to help our hospitals,” said Rome Memorial Hospital President/Chief Executive Officer Mark Murphy, RN, NP. These resources will help us try and contain the spread and ensure that our workers and facilities will be safe places to treat patients. As we fight back against the coronavirus pandemic, it is good to know we have Congressman Brindisi in our corner.”


“While the Food Bank of the Southern Tier has been working diligently in partnership with our network of pantries and meal sites to meet increased demand, we can’t do this work alone,” said Natash R. Thompson, President & CEO of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. “There are limits to what the charity sector is able to do, especially in this time of unprecedented need.  We are grateful for Congressman Brindisi’s support of this critical legislation that will provide support to organizations responding to this crisis as well as the individuals and families that have been most impacted.”  


“The bipartisan CARES Act includes critically important funding that will be vital to Upstate New York’s many dairy producers given the likelihood of widespread economic damage,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation. “We thank Congressman Brindisi for advocating for dairy farmers during these discussions, and look forward to working with him during this process further.” 


This legislation, the CARES Act, includes:

  • Relief to Small Businesses: The bill appropriates $350 billion in loan forgiveness grants to small businesses and non-profits to maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities. It provides $10 billion in funding for SBA emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs. The legislation also delivers $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
  • Direct Payments to Working-Class Americans: The legislation delivers $1,200 cash payments to working-class Americans, and an additional $500 cash payment is available per child. The full payment is available for individuals making up to $75,000 (individual) and $150,000 (married). The value begins decreasing and then phases out completely for those making over the full payment income cap. 
  • Access to Broadband and Health Care Services in Rural America: The bill provides $100 million for the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment that are necessary to provide broadband services in rural communities. It allows physicians and practitioners in rural health clinics (RHCs) and federally qualified community health centers (FQHCs) to provide distant site telehealth visits to their patients under Medicare. The legislation also increase access to critical mental health services by appropriating $250 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics.
  • Enhanced Resources Available Under Defense Production Act: The legislation provides $1 billion for the Defense Production Act to bolster domestic supply chains, enabling industry to quickly ramp up production of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and other urgently needed medical supplies, and billions dollars more for federal, state, and local health agencies to purchase such equipment.
  • $150 billion to state and local government stimulus program 
  • $260 billion unemployment insurance expansion program
  • $150 billion for a new program to provide direct aid to health care institutions on the front line of this crisis to cover costs related to this pandemic
  • $45 billion for FEMA’s Disaster Relief Fund to provide for the immediate needs of state, local, tribal, and territorial governments to protect citizens and help them recover from the overwhelming effects of COVID-19.  Reimbursable activities may include medical response, personal protective equipment, National Guard deployment, coordination of logistics, safety measures, and community services nationwide
  • $400 million for FEMA grants, including : 
    • $100 million Assistance to Firefighter Grants to provide personal protective equipment, supplies, and reimbursements
    • $100 million for Emergency Management Performance Grants which focus on emergency preparedness
    • $200 million for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program which provides shelter, food, and supportive services through local service organizations
  • More than $7 billion for affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs.  This funding will help low-income and working class Americans avoid evictions and minimize any impacts caused by loss of employment, and child care, or other unforeseen circumstances related to COVID-19, and support additional assistance to prevent eviction and for people experiencing homelessness
  • $20 billion to help our nation’s veterans, including to help treat COVID-19, purchase test kits, and procure personal protective equipment for clinicians, and $590 million in dedicated funding to treat vulnerable veterans, including homeless veterans and those in VA-run nursing homes
  • $850 million in Byrne-JAG grants for state and local law enforcement and jails to purchase personal protective equipment, medical supplies, and overtime 
  • $425 million to increase access to mental health services in communities
  • $450 million of emergency food assistance through community partners, including food banks. 

Brindisi supports the legislation and it is expected to pass the House Friday and head to the President’s desk for signature.