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COVID-19: Trump Administration Pulls Funding For Disinfecting NY Schools, Public Facilities

Schools and transit companies are no longer being assisted by FEMA under the guidance of the federal government.
Schools and transit companies are no longer being assisted by FEMA under the guidance of the federal government. Photo Credit: MTA

With schools reopening and more employees using mass transit to return to work, funding may reportedly be pulled by the federal government that is earmarked for COVID-19 sanitation in New York.

A New York Daily News report said that President Donald Trump’s administration is planning to strip millions of dollars in COVID-19 aid from the state that could impact sanitizing protocols that have been put in place.

Since the outbreak began in early March, FEMA has assisted states with funding to assist in combating the spread of COVID-19 by providing aid to disinfect schools, transit stations, and stocking up on PPE.

However, this week, FEMA announced that schools and other public facilities are not deemed “emergency protective measures eligible for reimbursement,” claiming there is no immediate need to protect public health and safety.

Under the new guidance, city or state governments will no longer have access to FEMA funds to purchase PPE for non-medical employees, including transit employees and educators.

Sen. Chuck Schumer was reportedly among those most outraged by the unexpected change by FEMA, lambasting the move to the Daily News.

“An absurd change like this one — that actually takes money away from New York that’s now being used to clean the subways or prepare schools for classes — is a slap in the face to frontline workers and kids,” Schumer reportedly said.

“This is a downright dirty plan just when we need to keep sanitizing and PPE a federal priority.”

The move comes after Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have repeatedly traded verbal barbs both in the media and on social media.

“President Trump has actively sought to punish New York City since day one,” Cuomo said this week. “He let COVID-19 ambush New York. He refuses to provide funds that states and cities must receive to recover.

“He is not a king. He cannot ‘defund’ New York City. It’s an illegal stunt.”

A FEMA spokesman reportedly declined to explain the new mandates, telling the Daily News that the organization is no longer supporting the day-to-day operations and expenses of (some) facilities. 

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