Federal aid for people who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic is set to expire at the end of December unless Congress acts in the coming weeks.
At the same time, New York along with other states will be seeing additional effects of federal support sunsetting, including support for hospitals amid a surge of coronavirus cases that is expected to crest through the holiday season.
New York's unemployment rate has improved since the spring, but still remained above 9% in October and at 13% in New York City. Businesses, meanwhile, are bracing for a wave of coronavirus cases that could lead to more closures in the coming weeks.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a conference call on Sunday urged Congress to act on a package that extends unemployment support for jobless people.
"You allowed these benefits to expire in the middle of a public health pandemic?" Cuomo said. "It's as reckless as you can be."
Meanwhile, Congress is also considering an extesnion of hospital support payments, said Robert Mujica, Cuomo's budget director.
"There a bunch of things, in addition to the unemployment, that will impact New York if they are allowed to expire," he said.
Cuomo had previously sent a letter to top leaders in Congress to push for an extension of the aid by the end of the month. Congress additionally has to pass legislation to fund the federal government in the coming days or risk a shutdown.
State and local governments are also seeking billions of dollars in aid to boost their budgets as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc on tax revenue.
New York is facing a multi-billion budget gap next year that Cuomo has said cannot be filled without support from the federal government. Tax increases on the rich, along with deep spending reductions and borrowing will be needed to close the gap by the end of March, he has warned.
President-elect Joe Biden has said he supports a $2 trillion stimulus plan that would include funding for states. Republicans in the U.S. Senate, however, want a smaller package that would provide direct aid to small businesses as well as support for people who have lost their jobs during the pandemic.