April 07, 2020

Congressman Joe Neguse Introduces Legislation to Provide $250 Billion to Local Communities in Coronavirus Stabilization Funds

Washington D.C.—Today Congressman Joe Neguse, a member of the House Democratic Leadership team, along with Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (NM-03), Congressman Andy Levin (MI-09) and Congressman Tom Malinowski (NJ-07) and the support of 70+ Members of Congress introduced the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, new legislation to provide $250 billion in stabilization funds for local communities, cities and towns across the United States that are struggling amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, signed into law on March 27th, provided stabilization funds for states and larger communities, but capped localities able to receive direct support at those with populations of over 500,000. This excludes large metropolitan areas, like Minneapolis; Dayton, Ohio; and Flint, Michigan; as well as towns, cities, and rural counties that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. Mid-sized municipalities such as Boulder, Fort Collins and Loveland in Congressman Neguse’s district were overlooked for direct funds, as well as rural communities like Eagle County that has developed one of the highest per capita rates of COVID-19 in the country. 

 “From Boulder and Fort Collins to Eagle County, communities across our district, and communities across the country are struggling with the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “Like their larger neighbors, these smaller counties, cities, and towns have faced enormous costs while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. These costs include deploying timely public service announcements to keep Americans informed, rapidly activating emergency operations, readying employees for telework to keep services running, and more. We must ensure each of our communities receive direct stabilization funds to address the outbreak and recover when this public health emergency has passed.”

“The COVID-19 virus does not respect political boundary lines,” said Colorado Municipal League Executive Director Kevin Bommer. “It is present in nearly every part of Colorado, and all local governments are on the front lines battling it. Stabilization support is critical to ensure municipalities continue to deliver services to citizens in time when revenue has dwindled. CML’s 270 member cities and towns are grateful for Congressman Neguse’s leadership and fully supports the legislation.”

“Eagle County has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 outbreak and caring for our community through the virus requires increased resources for emergency response and public health,” said Eagle County Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney. “Direct funds to aid our county and our cities would go a long way to ensure we can properly care for our communities throughout this crisis and make a full economic recovery once it has passed. We’re proud to see Congressman Neguse leading this effort to bring needed funds to our county.”

“The City of Fort Collins, a community of 175,000 residents, strongly urges Congress to provide stabilization aid directly to municipalities to assist with local response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure we have the funds to recover economically,” said Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell. “The Coronavirus Community Relief Act, led by Congress Neguse will ensure Fort Collins receives important recovery dollars that can address the devastating impacts of COVID-19 in our community.”

“Local governments like Boulder are best situated to learn and respond to challenges faced by the community in midst of the COVID crisis,” said Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver. “We appreciate the overall recognition of this fact by the inclusion of state and local funds in the CARES Act. However, we ask that future funding not be limited only to very largest governments, but that it include direct allocation to medium-sized governments like Boulder and that it provide the flexibility needed to ensure that it can provide the essential community services most needed. Our partnership with the federal government has never been so important as it is now and we appreciate Congressman Neguse’s leadership in ensuring that future federal aid recognizes the full potential of this relationship.” 

“I fully support and applaud Congressman Neguse’s efforts to include future COVID-19 funding to small communities,” said Estes Park Mayor Todd Jirsa. “Future funding would ensure that critical community services would continue uninterrupted and that this community could emerge from the current crisis with the ability to recover and prosper.”

“Jamestown has a small part time staff and limited resources to keep up with demand during this emergency.  We want to be able to keep our community informed in a timely manner and ensure that our Emergency Medical volunteers continue to have access to training and personal protective equipment,” said Jamestown Mayor Kenneth Lenarcic. “At present there is no direct provision for towns like Jamestown in the 150 billion dollar state and local stabilization fund and I fear that the funding issues for small towns like ours will not be addressed in time.”

“Communities across the United States – including in New Mexico – are experiencing the public health and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Congress has worked in a bipartisan fashion to begin to address this crisis, we must do more to support local and state governments that are incurring significant costs responding to this pandemic,” said Assistant Speaker Luján. “This legislation ensures that all communities receive the direct relief they need and I will continue to fight to provide our local communities with the necessary resources needed to overcome this crisis.” 

“I talk daily with leaders in the 21 communities in my district,” said Congressman Andy Levin. “They’re working around the clock to acquire tests and protection for their first responders, help their hospitals and schools, and more. The least we can do is make sure they have the resources to keep this essential work going. We must provide direct support to the small communities across America that are working everyday to keep families safe. That’s what this bill does.”

“COVID-19 has hit New Jersey hard, including in our smaller and more rural municipalities,” said Congressman Malinowski. “As local revenues dry up, these communities need direct support from the federal government to survive.”

See the bill text here. 

The Coronavirus Community Relief Act is co-sponsored by Nanette Barragan, Joyce Beatty, Ami Bera, Earl Blumenauer, Salud Carbajal, Kathy Castor, Judy Chu, David Cicilline, Gilbert Cisneros, Jr, Wm. Lacy Clay, Emanuel Cleaver, Angie Craig, Jason Crow, Madeleine Dean, Peter Defazio, Antonio Delgado, Ted Deutch, Veronica Escobar, Frederica S. William, Tulsi Gabbard, Ruben Gallego, Vicente Gonzalez, Josh Gottheimer, Raul M. Grijalva, Deb Haaland, Alcee Hastings, Jahana Hayes, Jared Huffman, Hank Johnson, Marcy Kaptur, Bill Keating, Joe Kennedy, Dan Kildee, Derem Kilmer, Ann McLane Kuster, Brenda Lawrence, Barbare Lee, Susie Lee, Ted Lieu, Dave Loebsack, Elaine Luria, James P. McGovern, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Grace Napolitano, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ed Perlmutter, Dean Phillips, Chellie Pingree, Mark Pocan, Ayanna Pressley, Jamie Raskin, Harley Rouda, Bobby L. Rush, Tim Ryan, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Schneider, Kim Schrier, Donna Shalala, Mikie Sherrill, Albio Sires, Darren Soto, Abigail Spanberger, Jackie Speier, Greg Stanton, Haley Stevens, Rashida Tlaib, Xochitl Torres Small, Lauren Underwood, Marc Veasey, Peter Welch and Susan Wild.

Last week, Congressman Neguse led a letter to Speaker Pelosi requesting that the 500,000 cap be removed and additional funds be authorized for cities and towns in the next stimulus package from Congress. Read that letter here.