COVID-19 town hall Tuesday with Congressmen Joe Morelle, Tom Reed, and John Katko

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rep. Joe Morelle (D-25), Rep. Tom Reed (R-23), and Rep. John Katko (R-24) will be participating in a News 8 COVID-19 town hall Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Send your questions for them to Newsroom@wroctv.com or through News 8’s Facebook or Twitter. News 8 will continue to do these town halls as long as the pandemic wages on.

Your COVID-19 questions for Rep. Morelle, Rep. Reed and Rep. Katko:

John Keevert: Many of us feel that COVID Stimulus spending should be focused on also dealing with the looming but longer-range climate crisis.   Please share your position on Green New Deal in general, and on component parts like spending for infrastructure repair/Good Green Jobs, raising the minimum wage, Medicare For All coverage.    Or should the priority be keeping large corporations like oil companies and airlines profitable? 

Don Onimus: I am a tax professional and business person.  I am wondering when, or if, Congress plans on dealing with the contradiction between the Congressional intent to provide tax free assistance to small business and the IRS guidance that expenses paid by PPP loan proceeds and forgiven are not tax deductible.  The IRS ruling is logically correct based on years of prior precedent.  It does, however, fly in the face of Congressional intent because it essentially makes any PPP loan forgiveness taxable income.

Bruce Holroyd: As a volunteer advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association,  I see what the Covid-19 has done to those with the disease and their caregivers.  More than ever, we need Associations like the Alzheimer’s Association to be they, fully engaged to support them.  We need Congress to expand access to credit for nonprofits by establishing an exclusive fund to support nonprofit employers with between 500 and 10,000 employees, including loan forgiveness and other provisions. This will enable the Alzheimer’s Association and other large health charities to continue to effectively serve the communities that depend on our resources now and in the future. 

Donna: For the Finger Lake Region: With the daily increase of cases and hospitalizations in Monroe County,  are we  close to shut down again?
For the Southern Tier Region- Tom Reed: Recently Schuyler County just had two cases of  people who were asymptotic. Only essential workers are being tested.  Are officials and the general public ready to say that required testing is not an over stepping  and is needed?

Jason W. Klimek: Regarding antibody testing, when will Monroe County have readily available testing for antibodies? Given the recent rise in hospitalizations while preparing for reopening, Monroe County seems to lack the antibody testing availability of Erie County.

Jared Paventi: Congressmen Katko, Morelle and Reed: Nonprofit human services organizations are an important support for individuals and families in society, and they have taken a massive financial hit during the pandemic as charitable giving priorities have shifted. Worse, many of the larger nonprofit organizations such as American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer’s Association are considered too large to qualify for relief programs, even though they operate like a small businesses with offices in communities across the nation. What will be done by Congress to protect and support nonprofits in the next stimulus package?

Sandy Brewer: Regarding opening houses of worship, are you taking into consideration all the mission work that churches do weekly? This includes church space used by AA groups, Mental Health recovery groups, Pre-School programs, Home School groups, Scouting programs, Music groups and Garden clubs. Currently, places of worship are closed and these groups can not meet together there. Many congregations have spaces much larger than needed for their current attendance and can easily accommodate social distancing. Given these concerns, and the contributions congregations make to the spiritual and mental well being of their members,  is it wise to wait until Stage 4 of the reopening to allow houses of worship to open? 

Mary Jo DiNoto: In the past few years, in the fall a STAR check has been sent to folks who have signed up for STAR.  With the economy struggling and money being lost due to the pandemic, will a STAR check still be sent out to folks who have signed up for the STAR program?

Judy Weinstein: The CARES Act stimulus package includes $400 million in new Help America Vote Act (HAVA) funds for states to utilize to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus for the 2020 election cycle. However, in order to qualify for funding, states must commit to a 20% match to be paid over two years. New York State qualifies for $20 million through the CARES Act and is required to commit $4 million in matching funds. This $20 million doesn’t come close to cover the extra costs for the primary. Is the NY delegation working to remove the matching fund requirement and to provide additional resources to ensure smooth elections?

Susan: Class of 2020 college graduates are facing an uncertain future along with many other people who owe student loan debt. The Republican’s plan calls for forgiveness only for extreme hardships or loans already past due or in collections.What is Congress doing to make sure student loan forgiveness is equitable and fair? What other measures are being considered?

Caitlin: I work in and office environment and have the ability to do so my job from home, as I have proved for the last couple months. What rights do we have as employees if we do not feel comfortable/safe going back into the office environment?  They have to guarantee our safety don’t they? Is there a way to make them allow me to permanently work from home?

Chuck: I am on social security and don’t file a tax return, I still haven’t gotten my stimulus deposit.i get my social security every 3rd Wednesday direct deposit.whats taking so long.? I know of several people in my situation and they already have their money. Thanks 

Evelyn: What about summer programs for children?

Cathy Pospula: Is someone who experienced the symptoms of COVID 19 in late February/early March eligible to have the antibody testing? If yes, what steps do they need to take to obtain the testing? Thank you.

Kathy Verzillo: Our staff has been collecting unemployment.  I want to make sure they receive the most accurate information in order to report accurate employment information to NYSDOL.
Situation:  

  • an employee is part-time, and generally works 2 or 3 days a week
  • once reopen date is known, that employee is asked to return to work
  • can that employee still collect 50% of her UI (if she works 2 days) or 25% of her UI (if she works 3 days) PLUS the $600?

Anonymous: I work for a school district as a secretary. I may have to return when phase two begins. I am able to do my work from home while the school is closed. What are my rights?

Anonymous: What phase will be for opening small gyms and indoor pool facilities?  Many ” seniors”  have in the past made daily and frequent times a week visits to these for health reasons . Walking is not a solution for all depending on why you are exercising and this has had detrimental effects. Listening to Gov Cuomo and some of the tracking they have done seniors staying in are not safer than those that venture out safely.  

Anonymous: 1. I am a widow receiving monthly widow’s benefits from SSA, direct deposit and have filed my 2019 taxes. 2019 taxes have been processed. I still have not received my stimulus check. I have already talked to a staffer from Congressman Morelle’s office who wasn’t able to find a reason for my missing check. The IRS Get My Payment website was not helpful. What should I do?  Will I experience the same delay and problem if there are any future stimulus checks? 2. The Central Library is doing curbside service. When will town libraries open?

Anonymous: We were wondering when teenagers will be able to take driver’s tests again in order to obtain a driver’s license.

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