Stefanik supports stimulus payments, $400 unemployment bump, but says it’s time to incentivize returning to work
BY JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week
CANTON -- Congresswoman Elise Stefanik says she supports Pres. Donald Trump’s executive order that will give $400 a week to people collecting unemployment as well as a second round of stimulus checks.
The congresswoman visited Canton Tuesday, where she held a brief press conference.The unemployment proposal would require states to pay 25 percent of the cost, which has been a point of contention for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
While questions still surround the legality of Trump’s order, she expects Congress will validate the action once the stalled coronavirus relief package is finally passed.
“I support the President’s executive action. This is because of Democrats in Congress failure to act. Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer walked away from negotiations,” she said.
She says she’d also support a stimulus payment of $1,200 for people making less than $100,000 per year.
Stefanik said while she does support additional unemployment funding she wants to see the bill create an incentive to get people back to work.
“I also think it’s important to consider the challenges we are facing in this crisis. We have a high number of people that are in economically challenging circumstances. But we also have jobs locally in the community where they can’t find people to come back to work,” she said.
She said it’s important to help those in need and that includes businesses as well as those without job opportunities.
“As I visit businesses, there are people working harder than they ever have before, but there are also businesses that are struggling to rehire people because of that additional $600."
She credited the president's action on moving stalled coronavirus relief funding as Congress has failed to pass a bill to aid those suffering from the economic problems associated with the pandemic.
“I think it’s important for the president to act when Congress has not done so,” she said.
Among the things she wants included in the package, which she says will likely fall between $1 trillion to $3 trillion, are significant funding to help schools with costs associated with providing education during the pandemic and funding for local governments that are shouldering additional costs.
Stefanik credited local school districts for putting together plans to get kids back in the classrooms, but said the federal government should assist with additional costs associated with implementing them.
In regard to the local government funding, she said she is a supporter of the SMART act which would provide $500 billion to municipalities, though it’s unclear how much would be targeted to St. Lawrence County at this time.
“The aid needs to be focused on COVID relief and addressing the state's previous fiscal challenges,” she said. “We need to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”