WASHINGTON – As the coronavirus pandemic continues, state and local governments and our residents are feeling the devastating health and economic impacts. The Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act falls short of providing direct, flexible relief to counties of all sizes.
National Association of Counties (NACo) Executive Director Matthew Chase released the following statement:
At a time when America’s county officials are serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are extremely disappointed that the new supplemental aid package being considered in the U.S. Senate leaves out any new fiscal relief or flexibility for county governments.
“We urge the Trump administration and leaders of both parties in the House and Senate to resume negotiations on a bipartisan relief package that provides direct, flexible aid to counties of all sizes.
“We are not looking for a special handout. Our ask reflects the simple reality that county governments, along with our state and local partners, are dealing with immense challenges at the community level.
“Counties are playing a significant role in mitigating the spread of the COVID-19 virus itself. We are also providing essential support to small businesses, schools, record numbers of unemployed individuals, and those suffering from mental illnesses and substance use disorders. And we remain focused on protecting our most vulnerable residents such as at-risk children and seniors.
"We welcome any and all dialogue on appropriate public accountability standards, or guardrails. Our aim is to ensure any federal resources are invested wisely and responsibly at the local level, both to address the immediate, far-reaching impacts of the current pandemic but also to make our nation more resilient and safer at the individual community level.
“We call on White House and congressional leaders to reach an agreement on a robust coronavirus relief bill that ensures counties of all sizes have access to additional direct, flexible funding to fight this pandemic, rebuild the economy and strengthen our communities. We urge members of the House and Senate to oppose any agreement that does not invest in counties.”
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. Additionally, 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