Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (21st District of New York)
COVID-19 Mid-week Updates and Information
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Statement on Charter Petition to FCC to Limit Access to Rural Broadband Funding
Recently, a Challenge Petition was filed by Charter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a waiver of the Commission’s rule relating to census block eligibility for Phase I of the Rural Deployment Opportunity Fund (RDOF). I strongly oppose Charter’s waiver request to the FCC, as it would reverse much of the eligibility for rural communities to access broadband project funding through the RDOF. I worked with FCC Chairman Pai this past January to include New York State on the list of states eligible for RDOF funding and to get that funding to our upstate communities who so desperately need broadband access. I have heard directly from constituents and local elected officials that this decision would have a severe impact on their ability to gain rural broadband access, which is essential, especially during this time of crisis. Charter’s request would exclude parts of the North Country from this critical federal funding, and I will work with my upstate colleagues and the FCC to keep it available. Read more here.
Cosponsoring Bill to Allow Rural Communities to Develop High-Speed Broadband Through EDA Grants
I am cosponsoring the Eliminating Barriers to Rural Internet Development Grant Eligibility (E-BRIDGE) Act, legislation to ensure rural communities have access to Economic Development Administration (EDA) grants in order to develop high-speed broadband access during the COVID-19 crisis. This bill eliminates barriers for broadband projects under EDA grants ensuring that North Country communities are able to work with the private sector on broadband projects. Rural communities like the North Country that suffer from lack of broadband access are even more vulnerable during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time when so many are working and completing schooling from home, access to high-speed broadband is critical. This legislation to give our communities more access to EDA grants for broadband purposes will not only support efforts to strengthen our access to broadband, but will also attract new businesses to our region and support current struggling businesses. Measures like this will lay the groundwork for economic recovery in the North Country as we combat and ultimately beat COVID-19. Read more here.
Urging President Trump to Provide NY with 100% Federal Funding for FEMA COVID-19 Work
I sent a letter to President Trump along with the entire New York Congressional Delegation urging him to immediately grant a waiver to provide 100% federal funding for all FEMA emergency work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, due to the emergency disaster declaration given to New York, the state can receive reimbursement for eligible work related to COVID-19. However, this assistance comes at a 75 percent federal and 25 percent state cost share, which leaves a substantial cost burden for states like New York that have been hit hard by the pandemic. New York State is the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis, and my constituents in the North Country are dealing with the consequences. I sent this bipartisan letter along with each member of the New York Congressional Delegation urging President Trump to fully cover the cost of FEMA’s emergency work as our state responds to this public health crisis. New York must be able to access all available federal funding in order to rebuild our economy, protect public health, and slow the spread into Upstate. My district comprises the largest population of seniors in the entire state, and the consequences could be catastrophic if COVID-19 surges into the North Country the way it already has Downstate. I will continue working tirelessly to ensure we have the resources we need to combat the virus and protect the public health. Read more here.
In Case You Missed It – Media Round-up
I continue to hold various interviews and conference calls with local media on coronavirus, its impact on seniors and small businesses, local prisons and corrections officers, local hospitals, farmers, and steps that members of the community should be taking to protect themselves. As always, I will continue to do interviews with local media to ensure the public is fully informed with the most up-to-date information on COVID-19.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Stefanik: North Country can reopen sooner than downstate
News 10 ABC: Stefanik announced Glens Falls to receive $3.4 million in transit funding
Press Republican: Stefanik advocates for direct relief to counties
Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Stefanik breaks with Trump on virus testing
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