WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today introduced the updated HEROES Act, the potential next phase of relief for the coronavirus pandemic. The bill provides $89.5 billion in vital relief to counties to address both lost revenue and increased health expenditures as the result of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill also extends deadlines for state and local governments to use federal dollars provided in the CARES Act.
National Association of Counties (NACo) Executive Director Matthew Chase issued the following statement:
We are grateful to Speaker Pelosi for reviving the prospect of additional coronavirus relief. With our vast public health, safety and economic responsibilities, we support direct, flexible federal aid to counties of all sizes.
“In every way, counties are on the front lines of the nation’s pandemic response. We provide many essential services, especially for our most vulnerable residents, and support small businesses that are so important to our communities and our economy.
“This financial and public health crisis continues to have massive budgetary effects on counties – as much as $202 billion through FY2021. These impacts are resulting in job losses, service reductions, and cuts and delays in job-creating capital investment projects.
“Federal relief for counties should be a bipartisan issue because investing in counties means investing in every corner of America. We are committed to working with the House, Senate and White House to secure direct, flexible and equitable funding for counties of all sizes, with the shared goal of keeping our residents healthy and our communities safe and vibrant.
“Further, we are committed to deploying federal aid in a fiscally responsible manner, ensuring resources are invested wisely at the local level. We are not interested in using federal relief dollars for purposes that are unrelated to COVID-19’s impacts.
“We thank Speaker Pelosi and Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey for their commitment to local governments. We call on the House and Senate reach a deal. Together, we can fight this pandemic, rebuild the economy and strengthen our communities.”
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