New York Senator Charles Schumer and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tuesday called on the federal government to provide funding for funeral and burial assistance across New York state.
At a news conference in Ocasio-Cortez's district, in the Queens borough of New York City, the two lawmakers said the use of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Disaster Funeral Assistance program would help low-income communities and communities of color afford to bury loved ones who have died during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They argued that New York and especially Ocasio-Cortez's district in Queens and the Bronx have been the hardest hit by COVID-19.
Schumer, who is the U.S. Senate minority leader, noted FEMA helped pay for funerals in the wake of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which struck parts of New York.
President Donald Trump approved a Major Disaster Declaration on March 20, but FEMA must approve special funeral assistance, which is currently under review.
Schumer and Ocasio-Cortez called for swift approval to help struggling families hit by the pandemic crisis.