FEMA Rule Change Means Federal Government Will Not Pay To Supply Teachers Or Transit Workers With PPE, Among Others

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Schools, subways and courthouses could all become a whole lot dirtier, and federal funds to buy coronavirus protective gear for teachers and students could dry up.

The risk comes from the Trump Administration’s latest attempt to defund New York City, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Friday.

It would make subways dirties, strip funds for disinfecting schools and government buildings and eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars for personal protective equipment for public employees and first responders.

MORE: Trump Administration Takes Action To Cut More Federal Funds To NYC, Affecting School, Subway Cleanings

“Marcia, I’m just furious at this,” U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said. “We’re gonna fight them and we’re gonna stop them.”

Schumer spoke about a sudden decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to enact a rule change so the operation of schools and public facilities are no longer eligible for reimbursements paid by the federal government during the pandemic.

A spokesman for Mayor Bill de Blasio said schools, courthouses, the fire department, EMS and other first responders could lose between $350 million to $1 billion.

The MTA could lose $500 million this year; $2.5 billion over four years.

RELATED STORY: Mayor De Blasio Sounds Off On President Trump’s Plan To Defund New York City: ‘Your Words Don’t Carry Much Weight’

“What I’d say to the president is cut the ‘you know what’ out. This is the city that helped you, raised you. The city is vital to America,” said Schumer. “You are cutting you nose to spite your face out of pure viciousness, meanness and political chicanery.”

The move comes after President Donald Trump ordered his aids to start a process to defund New York City by as much a $7 billion.

On Thursday night, the president was in Pennsylvania bragging about his plans to take funding from New York and three other cities: Washington, Seattle and Portland.

“Now what we’re doing is we’re holding back funds for cities that don’t know what they’re doing, where they allow crime to run rampant,” said Pres. Trump.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

There’s also a concern about what the loss of funds will mean to the MTA, which has lost billions during the pandemic. The agency already said it may have to enact draconian service cuts if it doesn’t get more federal aid.

“We’ve already lost so many fares and so many tolls, and so many dedicated taxes. This would be just the icing on the cake to destroy our once famous, fabulous transit system,”said Andrew Albert, and MTA Board member.

Mayor de Blasio spoke with the head of FEMA on Friday, telling him the changes are unacceptable and would impede the city’s recovery.

Among other things, the changes mean the city will be unable to use federal funds to pay for temperature scanners and PPE for teachers and other non-medical professionals.

CBS2 contacted FEMA for a response, but did not get an answer.

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