A coronavirus relief package without aid for state and local governments dishonors the work of frontline county officials whose lives and livelihoods are on the line and fails to keep our communities safe
WASHINGTON – A bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers unveiled text of a $908 billion coronavirus relief package that includes critical aid to state and local governments on the front lines of the pandemic. The group also unveiled a version of this bill that does not contain relief for state and local governments, despite widespread support from lawmakers in both parties and the Trump administration.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) renews its calls on Congress to pass a bipartisan coronavirus relief package that provides aid to all counties. NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase issued the following statement:
We are grateful to the bipartisan group of lawmakers for their commitment to delivering critical aid to local governments on the front lines of responding to this public health and economic crisis. Additionally, we thank Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader Schumer and Secretary Mnuchin for negotiating a package that includes relief for state and local governments.
“Our message today is simple: a coronavirus relief package without aid for state and local governments dishonors the work of frontline county officials whose lives and livelihoods are on the line and fails to keep our communities safe.
“We urge our federal partners to swiftly vote on the proposed $160 billion in new state and local government aid in any final package. With our vast public health, safety and economic responsibilities, we support direct, flexible federal aid to counties of all sizes.
“America’s counties are serving as the ground troops in this pandemic. We are supporting families in need, caring for the sick and our loved ones who lost their lives to COVID-19, distributing vaccines and mitigating widespread economic challenges.
“The human toll of COVID-19 is devastating, and this crisis leads to massive budgetary effects on counties – as much as $202 billion through FY2021. These impacts are an emergency, and are resulting in job losses, service reductions, challenges with local vaccine distribution planning, testing limitations and cuts and delays in job-creating capital investment projects. There is no time to waste; we need relief now.
“County leaders are committed to working with our bipartisan federal partners to secure direct, flexible and equitable funding for counties of all sizes, with the shared goal of keeping our residents healthy, our businesses open and our communities safe and vibrant.”
With 3.6 million employees, America’s 3,069 county governments support over 1,900 local public health departments, nearly 1,000 hospitals and critical access clinics, more than 800 long-term care facilities and 750 behavioral health centers.
Further, county governments are responsible for emergency operations centers and 911 services, court and jail management, public safety and emergency response, protective services for children, seniors and veterans, and the “last of the first responders” with coroners and medical examiners, among many other essential public services.
NACo’s coronavirus online hub includes county level examples of response efforts, interactive maps and analyses of federal actions. View this resource-rich webpage at www.naco.org/coronavirus.Standard