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In a new letter, Senator Murray pushed to get state, local, and tribal governments the resources they need to address the COVID-19 pandemic 

Letter follows legislation from Senator Murray to expand relief to Washington state’s smaller and more rural communities – MORE HERE

Senator Murray: “We can and we must work together to get this essential funding to our local partners as quickly as possible”

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, joined 32 of her fellow Senators in advocating for state, local, and tribal governments in Washington state and across the country to receive dedicated, flexible funding in the next COVID-19 emergency funding package. While Washington state has received $2.9 billion for state and local governments to support their COVID-19 pandemic response, state and local governments need more flexible, dedicated funding in the next emergency funding package.

“On behalf of our state, local, and tribal governments, it is essential that you include robust, dedicated, and flexible funding to all units of state and local government in the next interim emergency coronavirus package to support their ongoing efforts in the fight against this pandemic,” Senator Murray wrote. “Not only are these public servants on the front line of the immediate response effort, they are also major employers navigating unprecedented declines in revenue just as the need for their services hits an all-time high. We can and we must work together to get this essential funding to our local partners as quickly as possible.”

Throughout this crisis, Senator Murray has been committed to getting state, local, and tribal governments the funding and support they desperately need. The letter follows a proposal by Senate Democrats which would require the Trump Administration to submit a strategic plan for testing, provide $150 billion to state, local, and tribal governments to assist with testing purchases, and provide an extra $100 billion for health care providers. Senator Murray also recently introduced legislation that would provide $250 billion in stabilization funds geared towards localities with populations under 500,000 that are struggling in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The letter can be read in full below or click here.

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

United States Senate

The Capitol, S-230

Washington, D.C. 20500

The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin

Secretary

U.S. Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Leader McConnell and Secretary Mnuchin:

On behalf of our state, local, and tribal governments, it is essential that you include robust, dedicated, and flexible funding to all units of state and local government in the next interim emergency coronavirus package to support their ongoing efforts in the fight against this pandemic. Not only are these public servants on the front line of the immediate response effort, they are also major employers navigating unprecedented declines in revenue just as the need for their services hits an all-time high. We can and we must work together to get this essential funding to our local partners as quickly as possible.

While the Coronavirus Relief Fund authorized in the CARES Act (P.L. 116-136) was an important first step, there is no guarantee that any of that funding will reach the millions of Americans who live in communities with fewer than 500,000 residents. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has made it clear that no unit of local government representing fewer than 500,000 residents is eligible to apply for direct funding. The next interim emergency coronavirus package must include dedicated funding for the cities, counties, tribes, and other local governments that serve these communities.

The intent of the legislative language authorizing the Coronavirus Relief Fund was to provide flexible funding to state and local jurisdictions as they respond to an unfolding national health and economic crisis. Flexibility is critical as federal response guidelines change almost daily. Our local partners have to constantly adjust and adapt to maintain a consistent response while grappling with dramatically reduced state and local revenues that are the direct result of COVID-19’s effects on our economy. While we remain hopeful that the U.S. Department of the Treasury will issue implementation guidance for the Coronavirus Relief Fund that is consistent with the aforementioned Congressional intent, we also know that our state, local, and tribal partners need certainty now that they can use all current and future federal funds to cover reductions in revenues resulting from the public health emergency and faltering COVID-19 economy.

Our local partners, unlike the federal government, have a legal requirement to balance their budget. They do not have the luxury of carrying debt over year after year. We stand with our country’s governors, mayors, county officials, and tribal leaders in asking you to put politics aside and support our local partners. They cannot afford to wait any longer.

Sincerely,

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