Washington, D.C. — This morning, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the National League of Cities and National Association of Counties held a joint Zoom press conference urging Congress to pass the direct fiscal assistance to cities and counties included in the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan. All three organizations have been fighting for communities that have suffered greatly from the COVID-19 pandemic, and today they laid out the dire situation facing local governments everywhere. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan includes $350 billion in desperately needed direct flexible assistance to state and local governments. To date, most cities have received no direct federal assistance to help mitigate the budget crises caused directly by the coronavirus pandemic. The result has been painful layoffs, furloughs, and cuts to critical services including public safety.

Below is a statement from USCM President Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and highlights from the press conference from Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams:

“We’ve been sounding the alarm for months that big cities and small towns everywhere are struggling as a direct consequence of this pandemic,” said USCM President and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “President Biden understands that cities are the key to our nation’s economic recovery, and that without direct fiscal assistance, we’ll drag, not drive the economy for years to come. Congress must follow President Biden’s lead and give cities the assistance they need to defeat the virus and build a sound foundation for recovery.”

“Our budgets are under extreme stress … our expenses are skyrocketing … our essential life-saving services are through the roof,” said USCM Vice President and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “President Biden has put forth an aggressive plan to contain the virus and rebuild our economy. We are so looking forward to partnering with his administration to do just that, but we can’t do the partnership without help now. This is it. This is the moment. Cities are the backbone of the American economy, and if we want to build back better, we cannot let what’s left of the foundation crumble.”

“It is not true that this is a big city or a blue state problem,” said Arlington (TX) Mayor Jeff Williams. “That’s nonsense. I can tell you there are Republican mayors just like me who are in immediate need of fiscal relief. I can tell you there are cities all across Texas, big and small, that are all facing the same crunch…Just as no small business could have foreseen what would have happened, no city could have planned for a crisis of this scale.”