As Congress returns today to Washington, D.C., the New York State Bar Association is urging lawmakers to expand coronavirus relief to student borrowers, rural residents who lack access to broadband and nonprofits.
NYSBA president Scott M. Karson called upon the New York Congressional delegation to extend the moratorium on student loan payments, expand relief to private borrowers and provide financial support in extreme cases. The moratorium on student loan payments established by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security (CARES) ACT is set to expire at the end of September.
“More than 40 million Americans, mostly people under 35 years of age, have student loan debt,” Karson said in a letter to the delegation. “Unfortunately, we may still be facing more months of stress, uncertainty, isolation, and financial hardships. One group that is particularly impacted is recent graduates.”
On broadband access, the association is calling for “the expansion of a 21st Century digital infrastructure sufficient to provide adequate broadband access to all areas of the nation.”
NYSBA’s Task Force on Rural Justice produced an exhaustive report that documented a significant lack of technology infrastructure in vast portions of New York State. Many rural areas have limited access to broadband while others are without any service.
“The pandemic and resulting stay-at-home orders have left millions of Americans working, educating, and socializing in a virtual world,” Karson said. “It has become abundantly clear that broadband service is an important communications tool that has become vitally necessary for educational purposes, telemedicine as well as access to justice.”
The association is also urging Congress to allow trade and professional associations that operate as 501(c)(6) organizations to apply for grants and loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. He cited NYSBA as an example of a nonprofit that would benefit from such relief.
“The coronavirus pandemic has caused significant disruption to in-person meetings and programs run by NYSBA and our 26 sections and 60 committees,” Karson said in the letter. “Like other small businesses, NYSBA and other 501(c)(6) organizations throughout New York State will undoubtedly suffer adverse consequences due to reduced revenues, which will in turn impact many employees and their families.
“Including 501(c)(6) organizations as participants in the Paycheck Protection Program would help provide much-needed assistance to an important segment of New York State’s and America’s economy,” he said.
About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, the Association has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.
Contact: Susan DeSantis