Nambé, N.M. – U.S. House Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), along with Congressmembers Joe Neguse (D-CO), Andy Levin (D-MI), and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), introduced the Coronavirus Community Relief Act – legislation to provide $250 billion in stabilization funds for local communities, towns, and cities across the United States that need relief amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, signed into law on March 27th, provided stabilization funds for states and larger communities, but capped the localities able to receive direct support at those with populations of over 500,000. This excludes some large metropolitan areas, as well as towns, cities, and rural counties that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. Only one county in New Mexico has a population exceeding 500,000, according to the most recent U.S. Census data. Congressman Luján’s district includes chiefly rural counties and Tribal nations that have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19, making this legislation critically-needed for local governments in New Mexico to access direct relief.
“New Mexico is 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.”
“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.”
“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 every day 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.”
Last week, Congressmembers Luján, Neguse, Levin and Malinowski 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.