Legal Aid Society urges city to pause collections from SNAP, Medicaid recipients amid COVID-19

NEW YORK — The Legal Aid Society has urged New York City’s Human Resources Administration to halt plans to resume collections from SNAP, Public Assistance and Medicaid recipients.

Despite assurances that all agency claims and collections would be paused during the COVID-19 pandemic, advocates learned billing individuals with existing SNAP, Public Assistance and Medicaid payment and settlement agreements would restart on Nov. 1.

This would end the moratorium the agency put in place at the start of the outbreak in March.

The non-profit legal aid provider requested collections be halted for the duration of the pandemic or at least 60 days after the Federal Public Health Emergency is lifted.

Advocates have warned resuming collections will worsen the burdens New Yorkers are facing.

The Legal Aid Society’s sent a letter to Steven Banks, HRA Commissioner calling for the halt:

New York is continuing to fight the virus and pandemic while

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IATA, Qatar Airways CEO Warn Of More Bankruptcies, Plea For More Government Aid

KEY POINTS

  • At least 485 airplanes have been idled this year
  • Qatar Airways, posted an all-time high loss of $1.9 billion for fiscal 2020
  • IATA warned that the airline industry will plough through $77 billion in cash in the second half of this year

While more than 40 commercial airliners have already collapsed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, some aviation officials warn more bankruptcies are looming.

Concerned with fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections around the world, the CEO of Qatar Airways said things will get grimmer for the airline industry.

“The worst is not behind [us],” Akbar Al Baker told CNBC. “There will soon be other bailouts in Europe, there will be other collapses around the world. Because of the second wave, I think it is … even more severe than in the first wave.”

Data travel company Cirium said that not only have

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U.S. government simplifies forgiveness process for smallest pandemic aid loans

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. government will greatly simplify the process by which borrowers of a $525-billion-pandemic-relief fund do not have to repay some of the smallest loans, the Department of Treasury said.

In a statement issued late on Thursday, the Department of Treasury said businesses that borrowed $50,000 or less from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) can sign a one-page document attesting that the money was spent as required by the program and the loans will be forgiven, meaning taxpayers’ dollars will be used to pay for them.

Introduced in April to help companies weather the economic shutdown brought on by COVID-19, the PPP was responsible for 5.21 million loans ranging from less than $50,000 each to more than $5 million. The rules stipulated that businesses with limited financing options could seek a loan that would later be fully forgiven if at least 60 percent was spent on

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HCA Healthcare to Return $6 Billion in Government Virus Aid

(Bloomberg) — HCA Healthcare Inc. plans to return $6 billion in emergency virus-relief aid received earlier this year, after the immediate business squeeze caused by the pandemic waned for the largest publicly traded U.S. hospital operator.



graphical user interface: In this photo illustration the HCA Healthcare logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.


© Photographer: SOPA Images/LightRocket
In this photo illustration the HCA Healthcare logo is seen displayed on a smartphone.

The company will return its federal relief funds, which include $4.4 billion in accelerated Medicare payments and a $1.6 billion distribution from the Provider Relief Fund. Under the latter program, Congress allocated $175 billion for hospitals and other medical providers, largely in grants that don’t need to be repaid.

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The relief grants allocated under the CARES Act were initially sent to help medical providers deal with lost revenue and additional expenses related to Covid. In guidance last month, the government said lost revenue would be calculated as a drop in year-over-year net operating income.

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Albanese proposes government spending to aid recovery in budget reply speech

In his budget reply speech, Anthony Albanese has flicked the switch from “we’ll have policies before the next election” to “here, have three policies”.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP



a man wearing a suit and tie looking at the camera: Anthony Albanese says Labor will lift the childcare subsidy, map a plan to encourage more trains and modernise the grid, lowering energy prices and creating jobs.


© Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP
Anthony Albanese says Labor will lift the childcare subsidy, map a plan to encourage more trains and modernise the grid, lowering energy prices and creating jobs.

So what were the big ideas the Labor leader unveiled on Thursday night?

Rewiring the nation

Labor will invest $20bn (off budget) to establish a government-owned entity, Rewiring the Nation Corporation, to rebuild and modernise the electricity grid.

Think of it as the NBN Co of the electricity grid, a government body to make investments in infrastructure we all use that delivers an economic benefit but may not be built quickly (or at all) by the private sector.

Related: The arts sector is already suffering. This year’s budget

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Powell Warns of Weak Recovery Without Enough Government Aid

“Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” Powell told a virtual conference hosted by the National Association for Business Economics. “By contrast, the risks of overdoing it seem, for now, to be smaller. Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste.”

U.S. stocks dropped and bond yields were flat after his remarks.

Powell and his colleagues at the U.S. central bank cut their benchmark interest rate to near zero in March at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve pledged to keep rates low until the economy returns to maximum employment and have been urging Congress to pass additional fiscal stimulus on top of the roughly $3 trillion already authorized to keep the outlook for continued economic recovery intact.

Lawmakers have been debating additional aid since the end of July, when the

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Powell Warns of Weak U.S. Recovery Without Enough Government Aid

(Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned of a weak U.S. recovery without sufficient government aid and said providing too much stimulus wouldn’t be a problem.



a laptop computer sitting on top of a table: Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, speaks during a virtual news conference seen on a laptop computer in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero and signaled it would hold them there through at least 2023 to help the U.S. economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.


© Bloomberg
Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, speaks during a virtual news conference seen on a laptop computer in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. The Federal Reserve left interest rates near zero and signaled it would hold them there through at least 2023 to help the U.S. economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Powell’s remarks Tuesday came amid Republicans’ opposition to a larger relief package that’s kept talks with Democrats at a stalemate in Congress since aid to jobless Americans and small businesses expired in July and August.

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“Too little support would lead to a weak recovery, creating unnecessary hardship for households and businesses,” Powell said in the text of a speech for a virtual

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House Democrats pushed through an aid package with little chance of becoming law.

House Democrats on Thursday pushed through a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan that would provide aid to families, schools, restaurants, businesses and airline workers, advancing a wish list with little chance of becoming law.

The pandemic relief measure passed the House on a 214-to-207 vote, with at least 17 Democrats joining Republicans in opposing it. The handful of moderate Democrats who bucked their party argued that with negotiations still taking place with the Trump administration, the chamber should vote on a bipartisan deal.

Republicans had already panned the relief bill as too large.

The decision to put it to a vote anyway on Thursday evening reflected mounting anxiety among some rank-and-file Democrats at the prospect of facing voters next month without being able to point to some action to provide relief. There was also a desire among some party members to formalize their latest offer.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that there

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Southwest Airlines warns furloughs, wage cuts still possible without more government aid

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told employees Thursday that the Dallas-based airline may still have to furlough workers or cut wages and benefits if the aviation industry doesn’t get another round of economic aid.

Southwest, which has said it won’t furlough employees this year even as competitors began letting go of workers Thursday, is still lobbying for Congress to extend the Payroll Support Program that gave $25 billion in grants to airlines to cover worker costs and another $25 billion in loans.

“But, I need to be honest with you and remind you, if the PSP extension fails, as we have warned for months, we’ll be forced to find a way to further reduce our spending, reduce our salaries, wages and benefits specifically by seeking concessions, or as a last resort, layoffs and furloughs,” Kelly said in the video message to employees posted Thursday afternoon.

Passengers walk through a largely empty check-in area for American Airlines at Miami International Airport during the coronavirus pandemic, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Miami. The airline industry has been decimated by the pandemic. The Payroll Support Program given to the airlines as part of the CARES Act runs out Thursday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

A similar program passed in

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Letter from Trump taking credit for aid now mandated in government food boxes: report

The Department of Agriculture is mandating that letters from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump signs bill averting shutdown after brief funding lapse Privacy, civil rights groups demand transparency from Amazon on election data breaches Facebook takes down Trump campaign ads tying refugees to coronavirus MORE be included in millions of food assistance boxes, according to Politico.

The $4 billion Families to Farmers Food Box Program has distributed 100 million boxes already, the USDA announced Wednesday. The program delivers surplus goods that would normally go to restaurants to families experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Organizations tasked with distributing the food have complained that the messaging and campaign-like letters included in the boxes appear to have the goal of boosting the president’s image ahead of the election.

“In my 30 years of doing this work, I’ve never seen something this egregious,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio

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