Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (21st District of New York)
COVID-19 Updates and Information
Serving NY-21 on the President’s Bipartisan Task Force on Reopening the Economy
I am honored to be named to the bipartisan Task Force on Reopening the Economy by President Trump. Over the past month, I have been speaking directly with North Country hospitals, health departments, local elected officials, small businesses, farms, and hardworking families in my district about their specific concerns and ideas throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Prioritizing the needs of Upstate New York and rural communities as a whole will be critical to protecting public health and restarting the American economy, getting people back to work, and easing the burden on so many families across my district and the entire country. Additionally, my district borders Canada, our closest trading partner. We must recognize the importance of our cross-border operations and need to prioritize Northern Border issues as part of this public health and economic recovery plan. I’m looking forward to working with my bipartisan colleagues and the Trump administration as we beat COVID-19, protect the public’s health, and rebuild our economy. Read more here.
For the most up-to-date information and resources for COVID-19, please visit my website here.
If you filed a tax return in 2018/2019 but did not provide banking information for direct deposit, be sure to look here to submit your banking info and get your stimulus check quickly.
Thanking Local Banks
Today, I joined the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, Saratoga Chamber, and Saratoga Economic Development Corporation to thank our local banks. I delivered coffee to Glens Falls National Bank employees in Schuylerville to thank them for the hard work they are doing during this unprecedented time to help our local businesses and families. We are grateful for their swift work in processing PPP and EIDL grants to support our small businesses!
Protect Yourself from Scams
Congress recently passed the CARES Act for COVID-19 relief to help individuals and businesses. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have raised concerns about scammers and fraudsters that impersonate federal employees and ask you to verify personal account information in order to receive a payment. Here are some helpful security facts:
- The U.S. Government will not contact you about these payments – period.
- The U.S. Government will not ask you to verify payment information of any kind.
- The U.S. Government will not ask you to pay any fee or charge to receive payment.
- The U.S. Government will not offer to expedite your payment for a fee.
To protect your personal information:
- Hang up if you receive a telephone call from someone who claims to be from a government agency asking for verification of personal information.
- Ignore or delete it if you get a pop-up message, email or text that directs you to call a certain number or visit a website to verify personal information.
- Never reply to a phone number or use a website that is part of a suspicious call, pop-up or text message to verify personal information.
- Phishing emails are near-replica websites of a trusted or well-known institution such as your financial institution or a government agency. When in doubt, you should initiate contact through a known telephone number or website.
Be diligent and ask yourself: Why would your financial institution or the government need to contact you for personal information to make or receive a payment—they already have it! Please do not hesitate to reach out to any one of my offices if you have questions or concerns.
Announcing Over $3 Million in FTA Funding for Glens Falls
I have announced $3,458,374 in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funding through the CARES Act will be provided to the City of Glens Falls. This funding will support operating expenses necessary to maintain operational ability, system readiness, and respond to community transit needs during the COVID-19 emergency and after. Our North Country communities need direct assistance in order to cover costs related to the COVID-19 outbreak, including those related to transportation. It is critically important that Glens Falls is receiving this funding to respond to the transit needs in their area, and I will continue to advocate for direct funding to be provided to our communities in order to provide relief from this unprecedented crisis. Read more here.
Calling for the Replenishment of Paycheck Protection Program
It is inexcusable that Speaker Pelosi and Senator Schumer blocked critical funding for our small businesses who are facing unprecedented challenges during this pandemic. This critically important program has already helped so many small businesses throughout the North Country, but as the COVID-19 crisis continues, many more small businesses need these funds in order to avoid closing their doors for good. I urge Democratic Leadership to quit playing political games with the livelihoods of so many hardworking families in my district. In the meantime, my office is working closely with local businesses who are in need of the PPP to prepare them for when more funding is made available, so they know exactly how to access it. I encourage any small businesses in the North Country to reach out to my office for assistance. Read more here.
Requesting Nursing Home Funding from HHS and CMS
This week, I sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting that they prioritize funding for nursing homes, especially those in COVID-19 “hot spots”, to meet their needs. According to data provided by the New York State Department of Health, at least 2,000 nursing homes residents across New York State have now died from COVID-19. Nursing home deaths in New York may continue to climb because of chronic staffing shortages that have been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 crisis, a shortage of protective supplies, and a continued lack of available testing. This bipartisan letter was signed by members of the New York delegation. As the Representative for the highest population of seniors in New York State, ensuring they are protected is a top priority. I am joining my New York colleagues in calling on HHS and CMS to prioritize funding for long-term care facilities, who are already facing issues with a lack of PPE and available testing. I will continue to work with our North Country public health officials and nursing homes to meet the needs of our most vulnerable. Read more here.
Requesting Direct Funding for Local Governments and Counties in Phase 4 of COVID-19 Relief
This week, I joined bipartisan members of the New York delegation in sending a letter to House Leadership requesting that phase 4 of Congress’ response to the COVID-19 crisis includes an expansion of the state stabilization fund from the CARES Act for direct funding to local governments and counties, regardless of population. North Country local governments are providing critical resources and services to our communities during the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, their budgets have been significantly strained due to the pandemic, and they need direct financial relief immediately. I am a strong supporter and advocate for our local governments and counties who have an essential role in serving the public health and hardworking families. Their response to the COVID-19 crisis has been swift and strong, and we must ensure they can continue providing their vital services to the North Country. Read more here.
Requesting Parity for Seasonal Businesses
This week, I sent a letter to Congressional Leadership requesting additional flexibility for seasonal businesses when calculating their average payroll for Paycheck Protection Program loans, ensuring the maximum amount they are eligible for is not weighed down by weeks they are not in operation. The letter urges leadership to make adjustments so the amount of funding seasonal businesses are eligible for truly reflects their average payroll costs. I have previously worked directly with the Department of Treasury to ensure PPP guidance provided clarity that seasonal businesses are eligible even if they were not up and running on Feb. 15, 2020. Our seasonal businesses are critically important to the North Country economy. I will continue to advocate for flexibility for their unique needs during this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, when many of them must remain closed. I will continue to urge leadership and the administration to support our small businesses and advocate for programs like PPP that provide them with some relief. Read more here.
Resources for Small Businesses
This new loan program will offer significant relief to North Country small businesses by providing working capital to allow these businesses to keep operations running and people employed.
- Existing SBA lenders and new, approved lenders brought into the program will be able to offer these loans to eligible small businesses. This will allow businesses to access these loans through community banks and other qualifying lenders, putting the money in the hands of the businesses faster.
- New Loans under this program are eligible for a forgiveness if the business maintains payroll continuity from Feb. 15, 2020 through June 30, 2020. Qualifying businesses may request forgiveness on a loan used on payroll costs, mortgage interest, forgiveness on a loan used on payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utility pay over an 8 week period.
The amount forgiven will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees retained compared to the prior year. This provides flexibility for businesses that re-hire workers that were previously laid off.
The SBA will guarantee 100% of loans provided at a 4% interest rate during the period from March 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
- All small businesses employing 500 or less employees (including 501(c)(3), sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals) that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 would be eligible to receive a loan in an amount equal to the lesser of $10 million or 2.5x the average monthly payroll based on the prior year’s payroll.
- Qualifying small businesses may use these funds to cover: payroll costs, costs related to the continuation of healthcare benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums, employee salaries, commission, or similar compensations, payments of interest on any mortgage, rent, utilities, or interest on any other debt that was incurred before the covered period.
- This bill also increases the maximum loan amount for “Express Loans” from $350,000 to $1,000,000. “Express Loans” are expedited versions of the loans provided under Section 7(a) for which the turnaround time for a response to the application is given within 36 hours.
Tax Relief for Small Businesses
- This bill provides a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of the wages paid to employees during the COVID-19 crisis for businesses that had to partially or fully close down, or those whose gross receipts decreased by over 50%.
- Employers with 100 or fewer full-time employees can receive the credit regardless of it they had to shut down. The credit counts for the first $10,000 of compensation paid per employee.
- Delivers short-term relief and liquidity to employers and the self-employed by allowing them to immediately defer payroll taxes and pay them over the next two years, with half due on Dec. 31, 2021, and the other half due on Dec. 31, 2022.
- Allows businesses to carry a net operating loss that occurred in 2018, 2019, or 2020 back five years and amend the prior year return, providing additional cash flow and liquidity.
- Helps businesses provide student loan repayments to their workers by allowing up to $5,250 in tax-free payments toward an employee’s student loans.
Increases the amount of interest expenses businesses are allowed to deduct on their tax returns, up to a limit of 50 percent of their taxable income.
- Allows businesses to immediately write off the costs associated with facility improvements instead of having to depreciate these improvements over 39 years, which is particularly important for the hospitality industry and local supermarkets.
- Amplifies all the great work being done by American distilleries to help produce hand sanitizer by waiving the federal excise tax on alcohol used for this purpose.
County Public Health Resources
Clinton County: (518) 565-4840
Essex County: (518) 873-3514
Franklin County: (518) 481-1709
Fulton County: (518) 736-5720
Hamilton County: (518) 648-6497
Herkimer County: (315) 867-1176
Jefferson County: (315) 785-3000
Lewis County: (315) 376-5453
Saratoga County: (518) 584-7460
St. Lawrence County: (315) 386-2325
Warren County: (518) 761-6580
Washington County: (518) 746-2461
Announcing Over $26 Million in NY-21 Higher Education Funding from CARES Act
This week, I announced over $26 million in funding for NY-21 colleges and universities from the CARES Act in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over half will go to students in the form of financial aid grants. College students across the country have seen their lives and education significantly disrupted due to the COVID-19 crisis. I worked in a bipartisan fashion to ensure our North Country colleges and universities were prioritized in the CARES Act relief package, and over half of this funding will go directly to students in the form of financial aid. This emergency funding will directly benefit our students who are looking forward to continuing their education throughout this pandemic while we work to combat and ultimately beat COVID-19. I will work to deliver additional funds for our local colleges in the weeks to come. Read more here.
Announcing Federal Relief Funding for Local Airports
This week, I announced over $5.9 million in grant funding for North Country Airports. The The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently announced the CARES Act Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grant allocations, totaling $9.1 billion for airports across the United States. A portion of that funding will be distributed to airports in the North Country. Our local and regional airports have faced many challenges due to travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. I am glad to announce that the recently passed CARES Act will be providing our North Country airports with relief to help keep them running during this challenging time. I will continue to advocate for support for our airports, which make significant contributions to our local economies. Read more here.
In Case You Missed It: Weekly Media Round-up
In case you missed it, Congresswoman Stefanik has done various interviews and conference calls with local media over the past few weeks on coronavirus, its impact on seniors and small businesses, local farmers, prisons and corrections officers, local hospitals, the PPP program, the CARES Act, and steps that member of the community should be taking to protect themselves. As always, I will continue to do interviews with the local media to ensure the public is fully informed on the most up-to-date information on COVID-19.
Spectrum News: Bipartisan Letter Urges Aid For New York Dairy Farms
WWNY: Lawmakers try to help local farmers hard-hit by pandemic
Post Star: Stefanik seeks extension of Paycheck Protection Program, more funding for hospitals
Press Republican: Stefanik: Testing access main priority
Press Republican: Stefanik supports halt of WHO funding
MyChamplainValley.com: Stefanik announces $30 million in federal virus relief for North Country
North Country Public Radio: Stefanik backs Trump’s decision to cut int’l health funding during COVID-19 pandemic
North Country Public Radio: Stefanik opposes federal inmate release
Watertown Daily Times: Stefanik announces millions in funding for north country colleges
WAMC: Stefanik Updates Press On COVID-19 Response
WWTI: Representative Elise Stefanik will serve as member of Opening Up America Again Congressional Group
Recognizing Public Safety Officers for National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. I had the honor of touring the Washington County 911 Call Center last year. NY-21 is so grateful to our public safety officers, especially during the COVIDー19 crisis. THANK YOU for all you do! Watch here and above.
On behalf of our entire district, I want to thank the incredible leadership, courage, and resilience of so many at this difficult, unprecedented time as we work together to combat and beat COVID-19.
From our doctors, nurses, physician assistants, healthcare providers, hospital personnel, EMS, and first reponders who are on the front lines of our public healthy needs, to our truck drivers, manufacturers, grocers, workers, and farmers who are keeping our shelves stocked, to our county personnel and local elected officials who are working daily to ensure we have the capacity to meet the public’s needs to the best of our ability, to our teachers, caregivers, volunteers, and parents who are meeting the challenge, to our local media informing the public, our entire community is grateful for your tremendous service.
As a community working together, we will overcome this. My office is here to serve each and every constituent. No issue is too small and we will continue to work around the clock to serve the families and small businesses of our district.
As always, thank you for subscribing to my weekly updates!