JAMESTOWN – As the effort to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package continues in Washington, Chautauqua County’s representative says it appears Democrats, who control both chambers of Congress, are no longer interested in finding a compromise with Republicans.
During a conference call Wednesday morning with regional media, Congressman Tom Reed said that Democrats are taking a partisan path in getting the package passed.
“There’s really no sincere outreach any longer to the Republican side to try to come up with a bipartisan, more targeted, more reasonable package. It is clear to me, talking to the folks on the other side, that they are committed to going down a partisan path,” Reed said.
Reed also said he is happy to see an estimated $350 billion in funding for state and local governments, but he is also concerned that will give Albany an excuse to reduce state funding.
“I know what Gov. Cuomo is going to do. I know the deal has already been struck and it frustrates the heck out of me. They’re going to give these big checks to local governments, and then Gov. Cuomo and the other governors are going to reduce their local aid and their state budget by a corresponding, if not more, amount,” Reed said.
Reed, who is a member of the House Ways and Means committee, began working Wednesday with that panel to pass several mark ups for the COVID spending plan, including a proposal to temporarily increase tax credits for workers and families to help provide relief on the income tax front. However, he held off on saying if he favored such moves until he could read the specific language for the proposal.
Meanwhile, according to the Albany Times Union, New York could receive as much as $23 billion in federal aid to state and local governments from the coronavirus relief bill. The House version of the bill allocates $12.7 billion for New York’s state government and $10.6 billion to county, city and town government.
A congressional aide, who spoke to the Times Union on the condition of anonymity to share details on unfinished legislation, said the estimates are the maximum New York governments should expect and when the Senate finishes its version, the final tallies could drop.
Asked about the forthcoming aid, Gov. Cuomo reiterated his claim Wednesday that it’s not enough and state government needs at least $15 billion to avoid budget cuts.