NEW YORK - In a Monday morning press briefing, Mayor Bill de Blasio called the federal stimulus package nothing more than a "short-term survival plan." He said that without much-needed direct aid, the city could be forced to implement some serious budget cuts and layoffs next year.
De Blasio has been pleading for a federal bailout to weather the COVID-19 pandemic but he claims his calls for help have mostly gone unanswered.
"If we don't get substantial help, we cannot provide the services our people need," the mayor said. "We can't keep the good people who serve our people employed. We cannot recover."
The deal will support small businesses by extending the Paycheck Protection Program but it doesn't include much relief for the restaurant industry.
This comes on the heels of the city's indoor dining shutdown.
"More PPP, I guess it's okay but it's really like a Band-Aid on a cannon wound," NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie said. "Restaurants needed the Restaurants Act, which is a bipartisan policy supported by Republicans, Democrats, the House of Representatives, where it passed, and the Senate."
The bill will also provide $4 billion in federal funding for the MTA. Chairman Pat Foye said the aid will allow the agency to get through next year without slashing service or laying off thousands of workers. However, the MTA still faces a nearly $8 billion deficit.
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"Another thing to note with this funding from the federal government is that it is only a short-term solution," Marco Conner Diaquoi, the deputy director of Transportation Alternatives, said. "It is not a long-term solution to save the MTA, to keep public transit going."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, weighed in on how the package will help address the state's unemployment crisis.
"There's also rent relief for the first time. People who might get kicked out of their homes will get some money to help pay the rent if they've lost the job through no fault of their own," Schumer said. "And there's significantly more money for our food banks to feed hungry people, as well."
Congress also passed the Save Our Stages Act, which will dedicate $15 billion to independent music venues and performance spaces. Schumer said a large portion of that money will go to New York, where Broadway theaters remain dark.