New York Third District Congressman Tom Suozzi has spent the past few weeks jetting back and forth between his home and the nation’s capital as the U.S. House of Representatives attempts to conduct its business in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
With commercial air travel across the country all but ground to a halt, it’s been a strange experience to say the least.
“I’ve been back and forth about four times during the course of the pandemic, and when I went it was very eerie,” Suozzi said. “I had my son drive me to Newark Airport a couple times. The airport’s empty, the planes are empty except for a few people who work for the airlines. It’s a little scary.”
As strange as it is conducting business in Washington D.C. right now, things have been just as uneasy in the Suozzi household over the last few months. Both his mother in law and father in law contracted COVID-19. His wife’s mother survived, her father did not. Status aside, the congressman said his family has struggled like any other during the pandemic.
On top of everything else, since this is an election year the congressman has had to adjust to an entirely new style of campaigning from what he’s been used to over the course of his political career.
“It’s not normal campaigning,” Suozzi said. “It’s the Zoom calls. I’ve been in Zoom calls with different people in Huntington, different people in Oyster Bay, different people in North Hempstead and Queens. I’m doing my first virtual fundraiser tonight.”
In the midst of all of it, Suozzi said he is still focused most of all on trying to bring aid back to his constituents on Long Island.
“My whole Washington D.C. world is focused on how do I get money back to New York,” Suozzi said. “Early on in the process there was $100 billion that was approved for hospitals in a bipartisan bill. In the first $30 billion that went out more money went to the Texas hospitals then went to the New York hospitals. So I got every Democrat and every Republican in New York State to sign a letter saying you have to distribute funds based on rate of infection.”
Suozzi said his main focus right now is on doing what he can to help get the HEROES Act passed, and said he also managed to tack on SALT-cap repealing benefits to the bill currently being deliberated in the Senate.
“That one thing alone is what’s going to save our schools so they don’t have to get cut,” Suozzi said. “It’s going to save our healthcare, our local governments, our towns and our counties. The problem is Mitch McConnell is not playing ball yet.”