WASHINGTON – As negotiations on the final coronavirus relief package of the 116th Congress near an end, critical aid to states and local governments may be left out by negotiators, even as state and local governments continue to feel the pandemic’s devastating health and economic impacts and as these frontline leaders face a crushing increase in local service demands and needs.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) continues its calls on Congress to pass a bipartisan coronavirus relief package that:
- Provides direct and flexible federal aid to counties of all sizes
- Adjusts FEMA cost-share upwards to help local governments offset the costs associated with the current national emergency response to the pandemic
- Enhances flexibility for the Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) by making “replacement of lost revenue” an eligible expenditure for counties
- Extends the deadline for Coronavirus Relief Funds to December 31, 2021 to allow local governments to continue to invest wisely in communities by supporting small businesses and protecting vulnerable residents
NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase issued the following statement:
Next week, members of Congress will return home to counties that have been working since the beginning of this pandemic to keep residents safe and our economy alive. Our ask is simple: please don’t bring us a lump of coal. Pass a bipartisan coronavirus relief package that includes critical aid to your home county.
“Our promise to you this holiday season and beyond is that we will work overtime to keep you and your families safe. 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.
“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.”
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 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