Update from the desk of Congresswoman Nita Lowey

Dear Friend:

As Westchester and Rockland continue in Phase 4 of reopening, here are some of the ways I am working to keep the Lower Hudson Valley safe and secure:

  • Securing At-Risk Nonprofits
  • Protecting International Students
  • Supporting Local Arts Organizations
  • Extending Access to PPP Funds

Securing At-Risk Nonprofits

The House Appropriations Committee, which I chair, approved by voice vote the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Homeland Security funding bill, including record funding for nonprofit security grants.

  • The Committee approved a combined funding level of $360 million in the FY 2021 bill, which would be an increase of $270 million, or a quadrupling of funding, for nonprofit security grants.
  • I recently announced that at least 25 nonprofit organizations in the 17th Congressional District have been awarded a total of $2,565,028 in FY 2020 funding from those nonprofit security grant programs. A full list of grant recipients is listed here.
  • In response to the rise in anti-Semitic incidents and violent hate crimes, this funding enables the Westchester, Rockland, and the broader New York nonprofit community to increase security measures, protect themselves against terrorism and targeted, violent extremism, and gain greater peace of mind.

It brings me great pride to know that a program I created is helping to keep families and communities safe and secure across the Lower Hudson Valley.

Protecting International Students

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that international students attending institutions with online-only courses would no longer be able to remain in the United States. This effectively puts international students in the impossible position of having to choose to transfer to a school that has in-person courses, risking their health with the COVID-19 pandemic, or deportation.

  • In response, I signed two letters led by my colleagues to condemn this guidance. Both letters call on DHS to reverse its decision and withdraw the proposed modifications to the Student Exchange and Visitor Program on the basis of the significant physical and financial harm it would cause international students and the higher education community.  
  • This new policy is cruel, xenophobic, and risks the health, safety, and security of students and faculty. The Trump Administration’s flagrant antipathy for immigrants is apparent in this announcement, and it serves only to hurt students, our higher education institutions, and our nation.

Both letters led by Representatives Jimmy Panetta and Ayanna Pressley can be viewed here and hererespectively.

Supporting Local Arts Organizations

Two Westchester nonprofit arts organizations will receive National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funds  allocated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help recovery from the pandemic. Copland House in Peekskill and Jacob Burns Film Center, Inc. in Pleasantville each will receive $50,000 to support everyday operations, help sustain essential programs, prevent closures due to revenue loss, and ultimately boost the American economy.

  • The Jacob Burns Film Center will use the grant to sustain two staff positions essential to generating revenue which has been lost during the pandemic. The federal funding will also help Copland House retain employees and continue community engagement efforts.
  • Art is a powerful mechanism for both children and adults to express their creativity and innovation. It has the power to spark dialogue in our communities and affect social change, and I’m so glad that these local groups will receive this grant funding.

As the Chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for investments in the arts during this appropriations season.

Extending Access to PPP Funds

Small businesses across Westchester and Rockland have been devastated by COVID-19 closings and require assistance to re-open and recover. The application period for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), has been extended from June 30, 2020, to August 8, 2020.

  • Small businesses and nonprofits across the Lower Hudson Valley will benefit greatly from these much-needed resources, and thus be better equipped to survive and serve our communities.
  • Additionally, I led the recent passage of The HEROES Act in the House to make vital improvements to PPP, including setting aside $10 billion specifically for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for small businesses. Senate Majority Leader McConnell must take up this legislation so that we can continue bringing vital relief for working families.

Staying in Touch

It is an honor to represent the Lower Hudson Valley in the United States Congress. To stay in touch and get the latest updates, please connect with me on Facebook and on Twitter.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact my office in Westchester County at (914) 428-1707, Rockland County at (845) 639-3485, or Washington, D.C., at (202) 225-6506, and we will do all we can to help. 

    Sincerely,

(signed)

    Nita M. Lowey
    Member of Congress   

Our constituent correspondence system is unable to receive email replies; however, if you would like to contact her further, you can reach Congresswoman Lowey via email at https://lowey.house.gov/contact.

If you would like to receive Congresswoman Lowey’s e-newsletter, “News from Nita”, please click here.

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