Stomach Turning Deception

Why the Coronavirus Bill Is Bad News, Especially for New Yorkers

Updated 10 weeks ago David Stone
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney signed on, "proud," to support the badly flawed Coronavirus Bill and contributed misleading claims about it.
Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney signed on, "proud," to support the badly flawed Coronavirus Bill and contributed misleading claims about it.
File Photo

The Coronavirus Bill passed by the House on Friday, set to be taken up by the Senate on Monday, is bad news. It's simply not what the politicians are pitching in the media -- and the media is repeating -- especially for New Yorkers.

“If you are sick, stay home. You’re not going to miss a pay check,” Vice President Pence said on Saturday concerning the bill.

But this good Christian was lying. Again.

Some, it seems will do anything to fall in step with the Trump-corrupted conservatives.

Not to be outdone, our local representatives in Washington joined in the Hallelujah chorus. 

Carolyn Maloney, representing the Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island and Williamsburg was "proud" to vote for the bill. Chuck Schumer? His only lament was that the Senate went into recess on Friday without voting on it.

The Roosevelt Island Daily thanks reader Sylvan Klein for his research in helping with this article.

What's right, what's wrong with the Coronavirus Bill?

The bill offers free testing for everyone, which means that you won't have to worry about paying for testing if you don't have insurance. That's good.

But what if the possible implications of testing are far worse? What if you test positive and must stay away from work for two weeks?

You'll get paid sick leave, right? No, you won't. That's not what the Coronavirus Bill offers.

In reality -- and neither Schumer or Maloney point this out -- the bill guarantees paid sick leave for only about 20% of traditional workers and no relief at all for those of us freelancing in the gig economy.

As the New York Times points out in an editorial, all employers with over 500 employees are exempt. That's over half the employee workforce. Employers with less than 50 employees can request a hardship exemption, and their employees will have no idea of that status for the immediate future. That covers another quarter of the employed workforce with no certainty of paid sick leave at all.

Yet here is Schumer at a joint press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio: "And then there is paid leave, both family and sick leave. You get 14 days of sick leave, you get full pay and then you get another three months of family leave for yourself or if your kid’s home, if your spouse is sick or whatever else."

No qualifications. No equivocation.

Also, no basis in fact. That is, he lied, and many will take time off, expecting to be paid, based on his and Maloney's statements, but they will be stuck.

Sunday afternoon, Suraj Patel, again running to unseat Maloney in the New York 12th, called for more comprehensive measures.

Congressional candidate Suraj Patel called for measures to protect workers and business far more than the Coronavirus Bill.
Congressional candidate Suraj Patel called for measures to protect workers and business far more than the Coronavirus Bill.
File Photo

“We need to pass emergency paid sick leave ASAP. In the time of a public health crisis and a likely recession - the government should cover paid sick leave to the 30% of employees that don’t currently have it. Additionally, the government should send every adult $1000 and every child $500 so they can cover necessary expenses during this time," Patel wrote in an email to The Daily.

"Congress should also authorize funding to the small business administration to cover operating expenses for small businesses as the pandemic grows.” 

But it's even worse for New York State

"Now, for New York," Schumer prattled on.

There are lots of benefits for New York, but none is bigger than what's called FMAP. And I have over the years I've been in the Senate used FMAP to channel money at times of need into state and local governments. And New York does better than just about anybody else because we have the large -- FMAP is Medicaid and we have the largest Medicaid population in the country."

But Governor Andrew Cuomo contradicted the claim.

Says Spectrum News Reporter Nick Reisman on Twitter: "Cuomo says the federal coronavirus package gives New York the lowest rate of funding of any state in the country. 'We're actually tied for last with the rate of reimbursement.'"

Schumer holds a golden opportunity to wade in and fix these things when the Coronavirus Bill hits the Senate on Monday. But based on his enthusiastic misleading of the public on the facts, it's not wise to expect much.

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