Federal COVID-19 relief funds for New York becomes closer to reality

For months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called on the federal government to shell out more money in aid to New York due to the massive financial toll the pandemic has taken on the state.
He says New York deserves a larger allocation of the $350 billion that the federal government has set aside for state and local aid in its nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief bill.
Early Friday, the Senate approved a measure that would let Democrats muscle President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan through the chamber without Republican support. Vice President Kamala Harris was in the chair to cast the tie-breaking vote, her first.
Following Senate approval, the House passed the measure 219-209 on Friday afternoon, also without a Republican vote. The coronavirus aid package can now work its way through congressional committees with the goal of finalizing additional relief by mid-March, when extra unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid expires.
Gov. Cuomo sent a letter to the New York delegation Thursday, pleading his case for more money for his state. He says roughly $15 billion in federal money would help offset a huge budget deficit caused by the pandemic.
In his letter, the governor warned of possible massive tax hikes, layoffs and cuts to education and health care if the state doesn't get the money it needs.
Gov. Cuomo says some of the federal money would also be used to revive the state's restaurant industry, which was hit especially hard due to the pandemic.
AP Wire Services contributed to this report.