Published by Keith Lobdell

December 14, 2020

WASHINGTON | Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R) said, on Dec. 14, that the final week of the Congressional year will be a big one.

“My first priority is delivering COVID relief that we very much need,” she said. “This week will likely be our final week in session, and I am optimistic that we are going to come to a COVID relief deal.”

Stefanik said there need to be several key areas covered by a new COVID-19 relief bill, including support for small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program while reforming aspects of the program.

“Because of the Department of Treasury’s interpretation, small businesses will not be allowed to deduct expenses for payroll, rent, and utilities from their federal taxes if they used PPP funds,” said Stefanik. “That was not the congressional intent, so we need to fix that. We do not want to ever give a tax increase on our business community, especially during challenging times like this.”

Stefanik also supports funding to school districts as they deal with pandemic guidelines and procedures.

“Our school districts locally have done an incredible job through this crisis, and they have prioritized in-person learning as much as possible, and they have faced increased costs, so that federal support is going to be critical,” she said.

The Congresswoman added hospitals would also need a second round of funding to help fund them during the uptick of COVID cases, along with relief funding for local chambers’ of commerce, tourism organizations, and 501-C-6’s through the PPP.

“We are pushing to get a deal,” said Stefanik. “It will likely be attached to the government’s funding, which is important so we can avoid a shutdown.”

Along with COVID relief, Stefanik stressed the importance of enacting the National Defense Bill.

“I helped to write this bill, and it passed with an overwhelming margin in both the house and senate,” she said. “The President (Donald Trump) has issued a veto threat, but we will see what action he takes. I am optimistic that we will have a veto-proof majority to get this done and make sure our men and women in uniform have the resources they need.”

Looking forward

Heading into the new Congressional session in 2021, Stefanik said the pandemic will still play a major role in policymaking, with a shift to making sure all Americans will have the opportunity to get the vaccines made possible through “Operation Warp Speed.”

“We want to make sure the funding and rollout of vaccines effectively reach rural America,” she said. “We do not want to be left behind. We need to make sure we are vaccinating those who are most vulnerable, including our front line healthcare and EMS workers.”

Stefanik also said Congress needs to make sure businesses and manufacturers have the tools they need to help rebuild the economy, which includes added funding for rural broadband.

“We have had a spotlight shown on the disconnect of access online between rural and urban America.”

Last week, Stefanik announced $99 million in rural broadband funding through the Rural Opportunity Fund, money she said was a direct result of her conversations with the head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

“This is a result I personally have been able to deliver because initially, New York State was not going to qualify for that round of funding,” she said. “Based on my conversation directly with FCC chair Ajit Pai, I made sure that New York was eligible and there will be hundreds of towns and villages in my district that will benefit from these funds.”

Spotlighting the North Country

Along with the broadband funding, Stefanik said there had been several times where she has had to address the fact there is more to New York State than the urban hubs.

“I often remind my colleagues that there is a lot more geography to New York than Manhattan and New York City,” she said. “I think I have really raised the profile of the needs of northern New York and broader upstate New York in Washington and that has been, I think, very positively received. You can see it in the results we have been able to deliver to the district, and I am constantly trying to make sure that the North Country has a seat at the table at the highest level.”

You can read the full article at: