Suozzi named to bipartisan task force created to assess when to lift COVID-19 restrictions


As his constituents in Queens continue to reel from life at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congressman Tom Suozzi continues to fight for the health and economic well-being of all New Yorkers.

Suozzi has been fighting for more resources for hospitals, more funding for New York state and local governments, funding for small businesses, and a safe, measured approach to the reopening of the hard-hit economy.

“It is just wrong that hospitals in New York state are not getting the money that they critically need during this crisis,” Suozzi said. “The intention of Congress was to take care of those places that needed help the most. New Yorkers need help and we need it now.”

On April 16, the White House announced that Suozzi was appointed to the Opening Up America Again Congressional Group. The bipartisan task force, which includes 97 members of the House and Senate, is just one of the task forces created by the Trump administration to assess where the country should begin lifting restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Suozzi is the only Democrat from the New York delegation and one of only ten Democrats in the nation.

“New York is at the epicenter of this storm and as a result, we need special attention for our hospitals and our state and local governments,” Suozzi said. “We need to create funding formulas that are based on the rate of coronavirus infection and not irrelevant formulas that short New York and Long Island, diverting funding that is desperately needed here and now. Serving on this task force, I will give our region a voice and a fighting chance.”

The congressman, who represents northeast Queens and a large swath of Long Island, lost his father-in-law Michael Wrotniak, 92, from complications stemming from COVID-19, but it didn’t stop Suozzi from hosting teleconferences helping small businesses in his district that have been impacted by the pandemic. He also joined 50 of his colleagues in the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus in drafting a set of recommendations focused on public health, economic rescue, and stimulus plans for the country’s immediate future. 

“Our Problem Solvers checklist provides a common-sense path forward. More testing, contact tracing, and heeding the advice of experts will be essential,” Suozzi said. “We must also understand that reopening the economy in New York is very different than reopening it in North Dakota and we will need special help in New York. Everyone must put aside partisanship and work for the common good.”

As the White House and Congress appear to be close to agreement on a $70 billion relief package, Suozzi is fighting to replenish the small business Payroll Protection Program by highlighting the needs of smaller businesses that were left out of the initial round because they lacked ties to large banks and lending institutions.

“Companies looking for $1 million are getting funded. But doctors, dentists and plumbers with small practices looking for $50,000 or $100,000 are hearing, ‘Sorry, no more money left,’” Suozzi said. “Too many banks prioritized existing clients with bigger businesses and ignored the little guys.”

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