WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), along with U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO), Andy Levin (D-MI) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), issued a joint statement Tuesday urging Senate Republicans to include funds for local governments in their coronavirus relief package.
In April, the group of lawmakers introduced the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, legislation to ensure smaller cities and counties originally left out of the CARES Act are provided adequate relief to weather the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawmakers built broad bipartisan support for their effort and ultimately secured $375 billion in local stabilization funds in the Heroes Act, which passed the House in May. The proposal that Senate leadership released Tuesday included no additional funding for state and local governments.
“In the last two and a half months, as we have waited for the Senate to take up the Heroes Act, the urgent need to support our local communities has only grown. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow rather than abating, community resources are stretched thinner and thinner, and city, township and county budgets have been put under extreme pressure. Members of our communities on the front lines of this pandemic are looking to us to provide the resources they need. Public health workers, EMS workers, firefighters, corrections officers, sanitation workers, custodians and so many more, these workers – our neighbors, friends and families – are the real people impacted when we talk about supporting state, local, and Tribal governments.”
“The Senate’s refusal to support our workers, our cities and our families by passing direct aid for state, local, and Tribal governments is wholly irresponsible. It is leaving Americans out in the cold at a time when they need our support most. Every day they waste on political delay, our cities, townships and counties take on a heavier burden from this virus. It is absolutely critical that the Senate take up our plan to provide $375 billion for local communities with no population limits, and ensure that in every community across America our frontline workers and local leaders have the resources they need to weather this crisis.”