Two Brooklyn lawmakers got their names — and maybe even their stamp — on the most important piece of legislation since the Great Society.
Reps. Ed Towns (D–Fort Greene) and Nydia Velazquez (D–Gowanus) were two of only nine co-sponsors who are listed as “co-sponsors” of the President Obama-backed economic stimulus package, which sailed through the House on last month, despite unanimous Republican opposition.
Towns’s name was attached to the bill because he’s now chair of the Oversight Committee. But beyond that formality, he hopes that the $819-billion bill, which includes tax cuts, but also big bucks for infrastructure, education and health care, and the unemployment, will have a real impact in Brooklyn.
“I’d like to see progress on some of the over $500 million, shovel-ready construction projects in my district like transforming Malcolm X Boulevard, fixing the lighting at Bayview Houses, updating the water treatment center in the 26th Ward, and maintaining the Brooklyn Bridge,” the 14-term congressional veterans said in a statement. “To get this work done, Brooklyn needs this stimulus package.”
Velazquez, whose name was put on the bill because she chairs the Small Business Committee, cheered the $520 million allocated for public housing as something that would “put New Yorkers to work at a time when jobs are hard to come by.”
But how the stimulus money will reach Brooklyn — and just how much of it we’ll get — is up in the air, regardless of our borough’s high-powered “leadership” on the bill.
“If money goes to the state first, as opposed to coming directly to the city, New York City might not get the amount it deserves,” said Mark Lavorgna, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, which has been advocating that the cash be sent directly to major cities.
The bill was still being debated in the Senate as we went to press.