WASHINGTON (KRON) — As part of the HEROES Act, House Democrats are pushing $1 trillion to state and local governments to stay afloat during the pandemic.
But the idea and the dollar amount are getting serious pushback.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, California had a budget surplus of $21 billion.
“We now have a $54 billion deficit we’re projecting for this year,” Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.) said.
Congressman Mike Levin says California’s not unique. Nationwide, the pandemic dried up local tax bases.
He says state and local governments need the unprecedented $1 trillion Democrats have proposed in the HEROES Act to avoid going under.
“We need to make sure we take care of these massive holes the pandemic has left in state and local budgets,” Rep. Levin said.
“Yes, everyone’s concerned about deficits. But when you have such low interest rates, there’s the opportunity to spend to make sure we don’t have massive unemployment,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said.
Congressman Ro Khanna acknowledges the dollar amount is huge but says the moment calls for massive investment.
“To me the trillion dollars part makes a lot of sense,” he said.
But some Senate Republicans say state and local governments still have unspent money left over from the CARES Act. They say a trillion more isn’t sustainable.
“We’ve already spent three trillion dollars. The federal reserve has spent another three trillion dollars,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said.
Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy says the dollar figures alone make the HEROES Act unrealistic.
“The Speaker knows it’s got no chance,” he said. “It’s not a serious or mature effort to legislate.”
Sen. Kennedy supports a plan to ease restrictions on the money Congress has already approved for cities and states but he says the HEROES Act will not pass the Senate.