House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said Congress would seek to include about $1 trillion in funds for state and local governments in its next coronavirus relief bill.
Pelosi said states require $500 billion in funding, according to the National Governors Association, and municipalities and local governments have similar needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is strictly about the coronavirus. It is about what your outlays are for the virus and what your revenue loss is on that,” Pelosi said. “We’re not going to be able to cover all of it, but to the extent that we can keep the states and localities sustainable, that’s our goal.”
She added the funding could be added in multiple tranches over several years.
Some of that funding might be needed to help states with the cost of elections.
An analysis by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice found that states such as Georgia, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania could require between $60 million and $124 million to run elections in the fall due to precautions to prevent potential spread of COVID-19.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said during a meeting with President Donald Trump Thursday that his state could suffer $20 billion to $30 billion in losses due to the coronavirus.
“This is to allow us to keep firefighters, teachers, police, [emergency medical services] on the payroll, serving the communities in their hour of need,” Murphy said. “And that’s something we feel strongly about. We don’t see it as a bailout. We see this as a partnership.”
President Donald Trump met with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday, as Murphy sought federal funding for the state to recover from the COVID-19 outbreak. Pool Photo by Doug Mills/UPI
Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have opposed providing funding for states, fearing the funds would serve as a bailout for financial mismanagement by governors prior to the pandemic.
“That strikes me as a pretty outrageous number, just for state and local support,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said of Pelosi’s proposal, adding that Congress provided $150 billion in funds in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act signed last month.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell similarly said the country doesn’t need “an epidemic of lawsuits” after the pandemic.
“So if we do another rescue package, and we may, we need to take our time, do it right and it needs to include these liability protections so that all of these brave workers and brave businesses that will be reopening are not subjected to this second epidemic of litigation.”
Pelosi said House Democrats “would not be inclined to be supporting any immunity from liability.”
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