WASHINGTON – The National Association of Counties (NACo) today welcomed the next potential round of COVID-19 federal relief, President-elect Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan, a two-part strategy focusing on rescue and recovery that includes $350 billion in critical aid to state, local and territorial governments.
NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase said:
We thank President-elect Biden for introducing a plan that recognizes the vital, frontline role of America’s counties in mitigating and ending the COVID-19 pandemic. For our county leaders, our focus remains on ensuring the public health, personal safety and economic wellbeing of our residents.
“Throughout the pandemic, counties have dug into our local financial reserves, leveraging essential federal investments, to help mitigate the virus, keep our small businesses alive, and serve our most vulnerable residents, including our seniors, children, unemployed, sick, and 3.6 million county frontline workers.
“Even as most counties continue to suffer from ill-timed revenue losses, we remain committed to the American tradition of building back better after a major crisis. The federal resources proposed by President-elect Biden would enable county leaders to make strategic investments in the immediate task of vaccinating our residents and mitigating the spread of this deadly, destructive virus.
“The pressing challenges and needs facing our counties far outstrip our local resources. This unprecedented pandemic has killed more than 383,000 Americans, crushed countless small businesses, and impacted our children’s learning and growth. It has also stretched, beyond our wildest imaginations, county resources and services for public health, substance abuse and mental health, child protective care, coroners and medical examiners, housing, food and nutrition, and broadband access.
“Investing in counties means investing in people and places in every corner of the nation. It means investing in the frontline heroes who will ultimately help win the battle against COVID-19.
“County leaders are serious, prudent stewards of public dollars. We remain very concerned about mounting federal debt. But we must overcome this devastating pandemic together, now, so we can make the smart investments needed to pursue a brighter, more resilient future for all our residents and 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.