WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (Both D-Md.) joined Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and nearly three dozen Democratic colleagues urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to support the funding amount and proposed funding flexibility for state and local governments that was included in the HEROES Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The funding includes $500 billion for states, $375 billion for local governments and $20 billion each for territories and tribal lands.
As state and local governments report anticipated cuts to their budgets, this will invariably affect such services as public schools, social services and health departments, with widespread economic consequences. Local and state governments expect cuts in services to local health departments, which employ essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as child welfare workers, social workers, firefighters and more employees. Many county and state governments have been forced to furlough workers due to the pandemic. Without funding, these furloughs could become permanent job losses. Decreased local government spending may lead to a $344 billion decrease in economic output and 4.9 million less jobs.
“Providing additional funds to state and local governments will ensure that jurisdictions have the financial resources to fund first responders, and the life-saving work done in our public hospitals and by public health departments in communities large and small. Existing funding is not enough for jurisdictions grappling with these extraordinary shortfalls. Governors of both parties may be forced to balance their budgets by cutting education funding for thousands of school districts and slashing funding to support the millions of Americans who reside in nursing homes or receive care in home and community-based settings,” the Senators wrote in the letter. “It is essential that the federal government provide fiscal support for those who are responding directly to and are most affected by this unprecedented health and economic crisis.”
Also signing the letter were Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Chris Coons (D-DE), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Gary Peters (D-MI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Doug Jones (D-AL), Angus King (I-ME), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tom Udall (D-NM).
Read the letter here.