HEROES Act, nursing home investigations among questions congressional leaders answer


ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Congressional representatives from across New York State joined Nexstar stations for a second Town Hall on Tuesday night.

Driving to Washington, D.C., Democrats put forth the “HEROES ACT”, a $3 trillion relief plan for a vote on Friday. Congressional leaders were split on their decision but the bill passed by a slim margin.

Congressman John Katko, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, and Congressman Tom Reed voted no for the bill.

While in agreement the “HEROES ACT” gives relief to many areas in need, the concern of partisanship was cited as a number one concern. “Poison pills” as Congressman Katko called them.

Congressman Anthony Brindisi, on the other hand, voted in favor of the relief plan. “The bill is far from perfect but New York has been hit hard and there are a lot of provisions that will help,” said Brindisi.

Among those provisions are an increased funding for testing, hazard pay for essential workers, aid for farmers and veterans, and funding for state and local governments, all provisions that New York Congressional leaders agree are important.

Congressman Katko supports a bipartisan bill that delivers aid to states but one that would also deliver aid directly to municipalities to keep critical services in those communities from being cut. “We’re all going to feel a pinch and we can’t solve every problem….”

Congressman Brindisi emphasized the immediacy for local governments to receive funding. He said if the “HEROES ACT” is not passed in the Senate, the measures that have bipartisan support should be passed as stand-alone bills.

Congresswoman Stefanik has put forth a bill in bipartisanship with U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, (R-LA) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) that will support all regions of the country and will deliver critical, federal resources to the states and communities on the frontlines of the COVID-19 fight.

Nursing homes have been hit hard by the pandemic. Congressional leaders call for funding that would give nursing homes additional resources like testing and tracing. Congressman Brindisi said the “HEROES ACT” he voted yes for provides additional aid for virtual visitations, strike teams to help contain the virus.

As someone who is directly affected by having loved ones in assisted living facilities, Congressman Katko said an investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s shifting policies and underreported cases is important.

Congresswoman Stefanik agrees; she’s heard from many families who were not notified of ongoing issues inside senior living facilities. She said people are owed answers concerning their loved ones.

You can watch the Town Hall meeting in its entirety here.

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