Stay at the table and deliver for America
Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) President and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer released the following statement regarding the ongoing negotiations over a new coronavirus relief package:
“As Congress stands on the precipice of failing to include direct fiscal assistance for cities, mayors across the country are alarmed, perplexed and livid that scores of first responders, police, firefighters, and other essential workers will lose their jobs and residents will lose the services they provide as cities struggle to balance their pandemic-ravaged budgets. Unable to find a compromise on COVID-related liability and local and state government aid, their failure to provide emergency aid for state and local government prioritizes political convenience over helping intergovernmental partners and the people we serve. The abdication of will to find a bipartisan solution on this issue will have significant damaging consequences for our citizens’ health and our nation’s recovery.
“At a time of national crisis, when the federal government is relying on cities to help lead the response and recovery efforts, this bill fails to deliver the resources mayors need to effectively protect the health and well-being of residents and the jobs of our first responders. On behalf of our constituents, we welcome the forthcoming federal resources that will support vaccine distribution and offer some economic relief for American families, small businesses, and the unemployed. However, our federal partners should recognize that municipal workers are constituents, too.
“There is no doubt that the pandemic has wrecked the budgets of local governments from coast to coast, and Washington’s unwillingness to help will cost people jobs and make communities less safe. Nearly 1.3 million state and local government employees lost their jobs over the last year—exceeding the total number of public sector jobs lost during the Great Recession. History has shown us that we cannot have a strong economy without strong cities. Congress is now making it much harder for our economy to rebound.
“This package cannot be the final act in response to a devastating pandemic that shows no signs of letting up. Mayors call on Congressional leaders to honor their promise to support cities and the essential workers who have shown up during this pandemic every single day for months on end to protect their fellow Americans. This fight is far from over. The vaccine is here, and there is an end in sight to the scourge. Now is the time for Washington to have the collective skill and will to come up with a solution for local partners to get us to the finish line and beat this pandemic.”