In Support of the State and Municipal Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Act

Adopted at the 88th Annual Meeting in 2020

  • WHEREAS, the Trump administration declared on January 31 the coronavirus outbreak to be a public health emergency in the United States, and on March 13 declared the coronavirus to be a national emergency; and

    WHEREAS, the coronavirus has spread across the world, and in the United States, the coronavirus has placed enormous pressure on local healthcare systems, first responders, and on our economy, especially on main street as businesses are forced to shut down while Americans are asked to shelter-in-place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19; and

    WHEREAS, Congress has responded quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic, passing the three coronavirus relief bills to address the fallout of the fiscal and economic challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic; and

    WHEREAS, cities are on the front lines of responding to the outbreak of COVID-19 in their community; and

    WHEREAS, cities of all sizes have been taking actions to protect public health, ensure public safety and provide timely, accurate coronavirus preparedness information while continuing to provide core services to their citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic; and

    WHEREAS, the recently enacted "Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act" or CARES Act and its provisions regarding the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF), provides assistance to states and to cities and counties over 500,000 population; and

    WHEREAS, this language leaves out many small-to-medium-size cities that are home to tens of millions of people to fully address the fiscal problems presented by COVID-19 and its fiscal and economic impact on communities; and

    WHEREAS, without direct and flexible assistance, cities will soon be faced with having to make decisions that could include laying off employees, cutting budgets, and reducing or eliminating critically needed services; and

    WHEREAS, in addition to closed business and dramatic declines in consumer and business spending, cities have closed facilities, canceled events, programs, and other activities, all of which have adversely impacted city revenues as well as city budgets; and

    WHEREAS, without direct fiscal assistance, cities will not be able to provide critical resources to address the crisis, and will not be able to take the necessary steps to reopen safely and deliver effective services; and

    WHEREAS, key members in the Senate, led by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) recently introduced a bipartisan legislative proposal, the State and Municipal Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Act, (S. 3752); and

    WHEREAS, Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) are cosponsors of S. 3752; and

    WHEREAS, the SMART Act (S. 3752) would provide $500 billion in federal relief and funding to state and local governments while targeting federal resources to states, counties, and cities severely impacted from COVID-19; and

    WHEREAS, the funds provided by the SMART Act (S. 3752) would, among other things, help states, cities and counties meet fiscal obligations, expand testing capacity and contact tracing, and provide further assistance to residents, local hospitals, small businesses, and schools, in addition to maintaining critical services residents depend upon; and

    WHEREAS, Representatives Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) and Peter King (R-NY) introduced a bipartisan House companion bill to the SMART Act (H.R. 6954); and

    WHEREAS, Representatives Tom O'Halleran (D-AZ), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Fred Upton (R-MI), Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Tom Reed (R-NY) have joined as cosponsors of the SMART Act,

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors thanks the sponsors of the State and Municipal Assistance for Recovery and Transition (SMART) Act (S. 3752/H.R. 6954) and urges Congress to promptly enact legislation that provides direct and flexible fiscal assistance to state and local governments, ensuring that states, cities, and counties have the financial resources to address the unprecedented public health, economic, and fiscal challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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