WASHINGTON – U.S. Representatives Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.) and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) today introduced the Direct Support for Communities Act, a bipartisan coronavirus relief package for local governments. The bill provides much-needed aid for counties and cities to address both lost revenue and increased expenditures as the result of the pandemic.
Additionally, U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita M. Lowey announced, in coordination with Speaker Pelosi, that House Democrats will soon release a proposal for the next phase of coronavirus relief, which will include two separate, equal funds for counties and cities that will address both lost revenue and increased expenditures.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) released the following statement. NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase said:
“We are grateful to Representatives Delgado and Zeldin and Senators Gillibrand, Schumer, Manchin, Brown, Jones, Peters and Bennet for their bipartisan efforts to support counties in serving our residents. The Direct Support for Communities Act, and the proposal announced by Chairwoman Lowey, both reflect counties’ essential frontline responsibilities to deliver public health and safety services and our role in fostering economic recovery.
“This crisis is wreaking unprecedented fiscal impacts on America’s local governments at a time when our most vulnerable residents and small businesses need our immediate assistance. County revenues are plummeting while our costs are skyrocketing. We found that the pandemic could result in budgetary impacts of at least $144 billion over the next 18 months, which could result in major job losses and reductions in public health, business support and essential community services.
“Counties are committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to secure direct, flexible and equitable funding for counties of all sizes. Investing in counties is a nonpartisan issue because we focus on keeping our residents healthy and our communities safe and vibrant.
“We thank Representatives Delgado and Zeldin, Senator Gillibrand, Leader Schumer, Chairwoman Lowey and Speaker Pelosi for their commitment to local governments. We are encouraged by lawmakers in both parties working together to provide federal resources and flexibility for county governments of all sizes.
“Counties are on the front lines of addressing the far-reaching health, safety and economic consequences of COVID-19. We urge the administration and Congress to unite in supporting relief efforts on the ground.”
Led by 40,000 elected county officials and a workforce of 3.6 million public servants, America’s 3,069 counties support over 1,900 local public health departments, nearly 1,000 public 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.
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.