WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — While congressional Republicans and Democrats remain divided on a larger relief package, state and local leaders are sounding the alarm.
They’re calling on Congress to pass additional funding now before they’re forced to make sweeping cuts, warning deep job cuts are coming.
Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley, who’s president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, says COVID-19 has dramatically slashed tax revenue.
“Every single metro in Ohio has double-digit unemployment,” Whaley said.
Mayors, like Whaley, are asking Congress to send more than $300 billion directly to U.S. cities to prevent a wave of layoffs and service cuts. From March 2020 to May 2020 alone, roughly a million state and local government workers lost their jobs.
Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley says taxpayers should not be forced to pick up the tab for states run by Democrats.
“I’m certainly not going to vote for bailouts for blue states,” Hawley said. “Absolutely not.”
And Illinois GOP Rep. Rodney Davis says governors are hoarding relief funds.
“Only about 17% of the hundreds of billions of dollars that came to the state of Illinois have been dispersed,” he said.
But Whaley says the fact is, governors can’t spend the money.
“There’s still incredible restrictions on those dollars,” she said. “They’re not for revenue replacement.”
Republicans are now offering to lift spending restrictions. But Democrats, like Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne, say Congress needs to put more money in the next relief bill.
“I’m deeply concerned that we don’t have funding in (the bill) for things like state and local government support,” Axne said. “This is to support our teachers so they can educate our children.”
Democrats are asking for an additional $1 trillion to help.