WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — State and cities around the country have lost massive amounts of tax revenue that will impact everything from school to police and fire budgets.
Lawmakers in Congress are using virtual meetings and phone calls to debate whether to give more help to states. In a virtual debate, Democrats and Republicans on the House Problem Solvers Caucus seemed to be in agreement: city and state governments need more federal help.
“By way of quarantine and removing that cash flow, to our local governments and state, that loss of revenue is something that should be compensated,” said Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY).
Reed and Nevada Democrat Susie Lee agreed there will be long-lasting consequences if the federal government doesn’t step up.
“Funds for schools, Medicaid and mental health programs will be cut,” Lee said.
In a conference call, Democrats from Western states worried about the coast of protecting firefighters during the pandemic as wildfire season arrives.
“Ensuring that our firefighters and local fire departments are equipped to care for communities is so critical,” said Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO).
Neguse said firefighters normally work, sleep and eat in close proximity of one another.
But bipartisan agreement seems to end at the White House. President Trump has said poorly-run blue states and sanctuary cities should not expect more help.
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley said aid to local government should not come with strings attached.
“Turning local police officers into ICE agents would be horrifically destructive and increase crime and we are not for increased crime, thank you, Mr. President,” Merkley said.
Lawmakers believe red, blue and purple states like Florida and Nevada will all need help.