Biden Relief Package Includes Money For New York’s Seaway International Bridge, A Priority For Chuck Schumer

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Thomas Catenacci Energy & Environment Reporter
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President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package includes $1.5 million for the Seaway International Bridge, a pet cause for Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, released in full by House Democrats Friday, includes $1.5 million for the “maintenance and capital infrastructure activities” of the Seaway International Bridge in Massena, New York. The bridge, which connects New York to Canada, is reportedly a priority for Democratic New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, The Wall Street Journal reported.

During his tenure, Schumer has backed numerous bills and measures involving the Seaway International Bridge and its surrounding area. In 2016, Schumer fought against an attempt to eliminate funding for the Department of Transportation subagency that oversees the Seaway in Massena.

“The attempt to defund this vital entity is severely misguided; it will hurt our economy and cost us jobs; and I will fight overtime to defeat it,” Schumer said in a 2016 statement. (RELATED: Considering Reinstating Earmarks For Political Power, Critics Say)

Rep. Jerry Nadler, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer take a tour of Penn Station in New York City on June 19, 2017. (Timothy Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

Rep. Jerry Nadler, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Chuck Schumer take a tour of Penn Station in New York City on June 19, 2017. (Timothy Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

In 2019, Schumer convinced former Transportation Sec. Elaine Chao to fully fund a $6 million renovation of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Visitors’ Center near the Seaway International Bridge.

In addition to providing funding for the New York bridge, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the coronavirus relief package includes almost $500 million for “grants to fund activities related to the arts, humanities, libraries and museums, and Native American language preservation,” the WSJ reported.

Meanwhile, emergency funding for schools included in the legislation, intended to help schools immediately return to in-person classes, won’t be fully spent until 2028. Just $38.6 billion of the $128.6 billion allocated for school funding will be spent by the end of 2022, according to a CBO report.

On Monday, the House Budget Committee will markup the bill after receiving submissions from nine committees. The full legislation is a combination of the nine parts, which is able to be done under reconciliation.

“Without this relief package, conditions will spiral further out of control and families will suffer needlessly,” Democratic Kentucky Rep. John Yarmuth, who chairs the Budget Committee, said Friday.

Schumer’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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