Connolly, Crist lead request for assistance for state, local governments
Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Charlie Crist, D-Fla., led 43 members of Congress in writing to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to request emergency assistance for state and local governments in the next COVID-19 relief package.
Crises on the scale of global pandemic put tremendous strain on state and local governments, and their budgets are currently bearing the burden of additional coronavirus-related costs and diminishing revenue. Congress can ease that burden by providing additional funding and flexibility for the State and Local Coronavirus Relief Fund.
“The CARES Act provided $150 billion to the [State and Local Coronavirus] Fund, a welcome down payment on the emergency needs of state and local governments,” the group wrote in the letter to leadership. “It is clear, however, that states and local governments need more.”
“Additionally, we have heard concerns from governors, state representatives, mayors, local county officials, and government budget departments that the current $150 billion in the Fund cannot be used to compensate for revenue lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Members added. “It is precisely due to the implementation of federal guidance on social distancing, quarantine, and isolation that state and local government revenue projections are contracting at an alarming rate. We support these and other public health measures that effectively stem the spread of COVID-19 and do not want federal funding guidelines to disincentivize the continued implementation of necessary efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The members requested that:
- The Relief Fund receive significant additional funding in future coronavirus relief legislation, including a minimum of an additional $150 billion in the forthcoming relief package.
- The forthcoming relief package include a statutory fix to allow explicitly for replacement of lost revenue to be included as an approved use of the Fund.
“We believe these emergency measures will help our state and local partners with their life-saving efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter concluded.