WASHINGTON —The U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities and National Association of Counties sent a joint letter to Senate Majority Leader Schumer, Republican Leader McConnell, House Speaker Pelosi and Republican Leader McCarthy adamantly opposing any proposal that would repurpose urgently needed coronavirus relief funds for other activities. A copy of the letter was also sent to all members of Congress.
Signed into law in March, the American Rescue Plan Act provides critical direct aid to local governments on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic to help pave the way for economic recovery and adequately address rising expenses to fight the virus, growing budget deficits and increasing demand for support services. As President Biden’s proposed FY22 budget prioritizes infrastructure investments and the push for a bipartisan infrastructure package continues, there remains a need in communities for both coronavirus response, relief and recovery, as well as a need to rebuild infrastructure.
The letter read in part:
“America’s cities and counties – who are on the front lines of this pandemic – have been working hard since enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act to develop implementation plans that will help spur an equitable economic recovery across the nation. Local governments are using these critical recovery funds to invest in public safety, vaccine distribution, housing and rental assistance, local economic support, economic and workforce development, broadband expansion, social safety-net services, hospitality and tourism development, and hazard pay for public employees.
“Despite the obvious and critical need for these dollars, there have been recent Congressional proposals to clawback these funds. We oppose these proposals, both in general and as a pay-for for infrastructure…
“In order to help our economy further recover and compete globally for decades to come, we continue to urge Congress to pass a comprehensive infrastructure package that addresses our nation’s transportation, water, clean energy, broadband and workforce development needs, but not at the expense of reducing funds already authorized under the American Rescue Plan Act.”
The full text of the letter can be found here.