Congresswoman Velázquez is the Chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, serves the 7th district, Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan and Queens and the first Puerto Rican woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives
This is NOT a vetted endorsement.
It is communication relay from officials about topics relating to us all.
— From her office—
Unemployment Insurance Update
It is important to know that the New York State Department of Labor has recently revamped its unemployment call system. New Yorkers who call are now receiving a call back within 72 hours rather than having to wait on hold.
As a reminder, your first step to file unemployment should be visiting this site: https://labor.ny.gov/unemploymentassistance.shtm
While there continue to be delays, the Department of Labor is returning calls and trying to close out claims quickly. My office remains in touch with the State, pushing them to improve this process.
You may always reach out to my office for assistance in filing a claim. You should do so using this online form.
Economic Injury Payments Update – New IRS Portal
The Internal Revenue Service has begun distributing economic injury payments to workers. The CARES Act created these immediate, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans of $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child. The payments begin to phase out at an annual income of $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for a household.
Most people who file taxes will receive their payment, automatically, via direct deposit without having to do anything.
The Internal Revenue Service has launched an online portal to answer questions and to assist people in claiming their payment. Important: the portal includes a way for those who have not filed taxes, like SSI recipients, to claim their payment.
I recently joined with several colleagues in writing IRS demanding that this resource be translated into languages other than English. You can read more on that letter here.
Small Business Update
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which is administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA), was established through the CARES Act to provide fully forgivable loans to small businesses who keep workers on payroll. In addition, the SBA provides direct loans through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Small businesses may also be eligible for an immediate $10,000 grant to provide a quick infusion of capital through the SBA.
As of April 16, through PPP, SBA has processed 1,661,367 loans for an aggregate of $342,277,999,103.
While it is positive these funds have been committed, the agency now needs additional funding before taking new applications for both the PPP and EIDL initiatives. As Chairwoman of the Small Business Committee, I am fully committed to seeing these programs replenished.
I also believe we need transparency and accountability in these programs. There have been disturbing reports of big companies securing this assistance. Meanwhile, we are also hearing many small businesses are encountering hurdles accessing aid meant for them. We need to make sure these programs run smoothly and effectively. Equally important, we need safeguards so our struggling small businesses can receive these resources – not large corporations. To that end, I’m working around the clock in Congress on legislation that will replenish funding for PPP and EIDL, while ensuring loans and grants go to deserving small businesses, which are the cornerstone of our local economy.
As I write this, bipartisan Members of Congress in the House and Senate are currently negotiating on how to allocate more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loans, while making sure truly small businesses are not left out. It’s difficult watching this process. I know many New York small business owners are frustrated by the pace, as am I. However, we must solve this problem quickly – and we will.
Funding for Our Healthcare System
I’m continuing to fight in Congress for more funding for New York’s healthcare system.
I was proud that the CARES Act provided $19 million for local community health centers that are in or serve New York’s 7th Congressional district.
Healthcare workers – whether in hospitals or primary care settings – are on the frontlines of fighting this epidemic. As negotiations continue in Congress on future stimulus packages, steering more money to New York’s healthcare system is one of my top priorities.
This has been an extraordinarily challenging time for our city and nation. So many of us have lost loved ones, friends and neighbors. Right now, thousands of New Yorkers have an ill family member. Meanwhile, the economic hardship affecting our small businesses and working families is profound. Recovery will take time.
There are some signs that we may be turning the corner on the pandemic, but it is still very early, and we must exercise maximum caution.
All of us must continue practicing social distancing and following the guidance of public health authorities. Only by solving this public health crisis, will we be able to fully restart our economy and get back on a path to prosperity.
In the meantime, I continue working to make sure we have as many federal resources available as possible for seniors, working families, entrepreneurs and those suffering from this crisis.
As always, you should contact my office with questions, concerns or for help. The best way to do so is with this online form, which is checked daily.
I’ll be in touch with further updates in coming days.
Until then, be safe.
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