Letter to Honorable Charles Schumer, Majority Leader and Honorable Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader - Rosen, Cortez Masto Urge Senate Leadership to Include Relief for State, Localities, and Tribal Governments in Next COVID Legislative Package
Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell:
We write today to express our strong support for additional relief for state, localities, and tribal governments in the next COVID relief package. We also strongly urge you to include a significant all-state minimum from within whatever funds are allocated.
Congress acted swiftly, and with bipartisan resolve, in March 2020 to deliver needed relief to states through the establishment of the Coronavirus Relief Fund. With those dollars, states have been able to support local businesses; invest in remote and hybrid learning models in elementary and secondary education; support institutes of higher education; and invest in the crucial personal protective equipment and other resources needed to protect frontline workers, both in and out of the healthcare industry. Many of these states, including many of ours, have exhausted these resources. Yet, the need remains, and, indeed, has grown.
For example, states continue to deal with an overburdened unemployment system functioning with antiquated equipment that cannot keep pace with demand. While schools continue with remote or hybrid learning models, families in some of the most rural parts of our states and across the country are unable to keep pace, simply because they lack adequate broadband access, putting virtual lessons sometimes out of reach. Small businesses -- the backbones of our local economies -- that are unable to access loans through the popular Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program are in need of more support. States and localities are well equipped to address these needs, but they need federal support -- and flexibility -- to do so. Further, many municipalities are wrestling with lost revenues that directly impact the delivery of many essential services to our communities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every state across the country. While instances of infection and fatalities vary state-to-state, the economic crisis is felt everywhere. As the Senate, in coordination with our partners in the House and with the Biden administration, considers additional relief, it can leave no state behind.
Strong funding to replenish the Coronavirus Relief Fund, coupled with a similarly strong all- state minimum and maximum flexibility to best utilize those funds, are essential. We strongly urge you to include these resources in the next COVID package.