COVID-19 Updates and Information

June 12, 2020
E-newsletter

  COVID-19 Updates and Information 

For the most up-to-date resources and information on COVID-19, visit my website here.

According to the IRS, some stimulus payments are being sent to individuals by prepaid debit card. The cards arrive in a plain envelope from “Money Network Cardholder Services”. Learn more here.

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BUSINESS OWNERS: SBA and Treasury
have released the Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application and instructions for the application. The form and instructions are for borrowers to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, and are available here.

FARMERS: Visit USDA’s website here to learn more about applying for CFAP funding.

Calling on US & Canadian Governments to Develop Border Reopening Guidance

Today, myself and Brian Higgins (NY-26), who serve as Co-Chairs of the House of Representatives Northern Border Caucus, are calling on the U.S. and Canadian governments to develop nuanced and particularized guidance for reopening the northern border. In a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary and the Canadian Minister of Public Safety, we write, “We appreciate that the incidence of COVID-19 at communities along the border varies and we respect the public health imperative; yet, a one-size-fits-all approach toward allowing travel across the border has the impact of keeping communities apart. There must be bi-national coordination to develop a plan to safely allow for reasonable travel taking into account public health considerations but acknowledging our unique interconnected economies.” On March 24 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) imposed travel restrictions at Land Ports of Entry between the United States and Canada, limiting crossings to “essential travel” due to the ongoing pandemic. A second notice extended travel restrictions through May 20. A third agreement extended northern border restrictions through 11:59pm on June 22, 2020.  Published reports indicate restrictions will be extended again into July. Under the current order, “essential travel” includes:

  • US citizens returning to the US
  • Individuals traveling for medical purposes
  • Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions  or work
  • Individuals traveling for emergency or government response
  • Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g. cargo drivers)
  • Members of the military

Earlier this week the government of Canada indicated that they would allow individuals to reunite with their spouses, parents and dependent children, if visitors observed a 14-day quarantine. Rep. Higgins and I serve as co-chairs of the Northern Border Caucus, Congress’s oldest and largest Congressional Member organization dealing with the U.S. - Canada relationship.  Founded in 1994, this bipartisan group of Members has acted to highlight policy concerns and issues affecting the economic, cultural, and political partnership between the United States and Canada. Read more here.

Cosponsoring Great American Outdoors Act

I am cosponsoring the Great American Outdoors Act, bipartisan legislation that supports the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund. This will support the nearly $22 billion backlog of deferred maintenance projects on federal lands and also makes funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent. This bill is the House companion legislation to the Great American Outdoors Act introduced in the Senate (S. 3422) by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-C0) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). This important legislation will not only restore our national park and public lands, preserve our natural landscape, and protection recreation areas, but it will also create jobs in our communities. As Co-chair of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, I have been a longtime advocate for permanently authorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund as well as the Restore Our Parks Act, which are both included in this bill. President Trump has called on Congress to pass this legislation, and I am very encouraged by the Senate moving this forward and a House companion bill gaining strong bipartisan support. I will continue to work to protect our natural and historic areas that are so important to the culture of the North Country. Read more here.

Requesting Requesting Waiver for National Heritage Area Fund Matching Requirements

This week, I sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy requesting that language be included in any future stimulus or recovery package to allow the National Park Service (NPS) to temporarily waive the matching requirements for all National Heritage Areas in Fiscal Year 2020 and Fiscal Year 2021. As corporate, local and state governments commitments lag in the face of this economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many National Heritage Areas will find it difficult to secure the required one-to-one match for federal funds. This temporary waiver will ensure they can spend their federal funds without delay. The North Country is home to a number of historical areas, including a portion of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. As our communities face the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19, our National Heritage Areas must be supported in order to keep museums, visitors centers, and educational programs up and running. I am proud to be an outspoken advocate for our National Heritage Areas as I see the important role they play in stimulating our local economies and preserving our heritage. Read more here.

Encouraging Census Participation

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If you have not already, be sure to fill out your 2020 Census. The census determines how hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funding flow into our communities, including NY-21, which will directly fund our police departments, firefighters, schools and more. In mid-April, the Census Bureau began mailing the paper questionnaire to homes that have not yet responded online or by phone. If you receive mail through a P.O. Box, the Census Bureau will not be able to send you a response form, as they require your physical address to count you at the place where you live. Only a complete street address will help the Bureau accurately count you in the right place. If you cannot receive mail at your home, a Census Bureau worker may deliver a questionnaire, leave information about responding, or interview you. You can complete the census online at my2020census.gov. You can also call the Census Bureau at (844)-330-2020. The U.S. Census Bureau is bound by law to keep all of your reported information confidential. Visit my website here for more information.

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County Public Health Resources
Clinton County: (518) 565-4840
Essex County: (518) 873-3514
Franklin County: (518) 481-1709
Fulton County: (518) 736-5720
Hamilton County: (518) 648-6497
Herkimer County: (315) 867-1176
Jefferson County: (315) 785-3000
Lewis County: (315) 376-5453
Saratoga County: (518) 584-7460
St. Lawrence County: (315) 386-2325
Warren County: (518) 761-6580
Washington County: (518) 746-2500

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Protect Yourself from Scams 

Congress recently passed the CARES Act for COVID-19 relief to help individuals and businesses. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have raised concerns about scammers and fraudsters that impersonate federal employees and ask you to verify personal account information in order to receive a payment. Here are some helpful security facts:

  • The U.S. Government will not contact you about these payments - period. 
  • The U.S. Government will not ask you to verify payment information of any kind.
  • The U.S. Government will not ask you to pay any fee or charge to receive payment.
  • The U.S. Government will not offer to expedite your payment for a fee.

To protect your personal information: 

  • Hang up if you receive a telephone call from someone who claims to be from a government agency asking for verification of personal information.
  • Ignore or delete it if you get a pop-up message, email or text that directs you to call a certain number or visit a website to verify personal information.
  • Never reply to a phone number or use a website that is part of a suspicious call, pop-up or text message to verify personal information.
  • Phishing emails are near-replica websites of a trusted or well-known institution such as your financial institution or a government agency.
  • When in doubt, you should initiate contact through a known telephone number or website

Be diligent and ask yourself: Why would your financial institution or the government need to contact you for personal information to make or receive a payment—they already have it! Please do not hesitate to reach out to any one of my offices if you have questions or concerns.

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THANK YOU

On behalf of our entire district, I want to thank the incredible leadership, courage, and resilience of so many at this difficult, unprecedented time as we work together to combat and beat COVID-19. 

From our doctors, nurses, physician assistants, healthcare providers, hospital personnel, EMS, and first reponders who are on the front lines of our public healthy needs, to our truck drivers, manufacturers, grocers, workers, and farmers who are keeping our shelves stocked, to our county personnel and local elected officials who are working daily to ensure we have the capacity to meet the public’s needs to the best of our ability, to our teachers, caregivers, volunteers, and parents who are meeting the challenge, to our local media informing the public, our entire community is grateful for your tremendous service. 

As a community working together, we will overcome this. My office is here to serve each and every constituent. No issue is too small and we will continue to work around the clock to serve the families and small businesses of our district.

As always, thank you for subscribing to my weekly updates!