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Posted on: April 17, 2020

Congress Considers Local Aid Bills

Legislation has been introduced in both Houses of Congress to provide COVID-19 impact assistance to all New Jersey municipalities. League Officers have sent letters and e-mails to all the Members of our New Jersey Congressional Delegation, urging them to assist in our efforts to secure aid for New Jersey municipalities. We appreciate their response.

New Jersey’s Tom Malinowski, along with three colleagues, has introduced H.R. 6467, the ‘Coronavirus Community Relief Act’ (CCRA). This bill will allocate $250 Billion in emergency funding to communities with populations under 500,000. Those communities, which include every New Jersey municipality, were excluded from direct stabilization aid in the ‘Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’ (the CARES Act). New Jersey Representatives Josh Gottheimer, Mikie Sherrill, and Albio Sires have joined over 100 of their colleagues as cosponsors. 

This week, Senator Cory Booker and 11 other members of the Senate have introduced a companion bill.

Please take the time to thank Senator Booker and Representatives Malinowski, Gottheimer, Sherrill, and Sires for working on behalf of local officials, local public employees, and local taxpayers in these extraordinary times. And if your Congress Member has not yet agreed to cosponsor the bill, please urge them to do so. In particular, given the need to demonstrate bipartisan support for local governments, if you are represented by Congressman Smith or Congressman VanDrew, please let them know that we need them to sign on to H.R. 6467.

The members of your League Executive Board have been phoning their Representatives. Please add your voices to theirs.

The bill would divide the $250 Billion among the States, based on each State’s share of total National population. It would, then, subdivide each State’s share among all units of local government, also proportionally, based on population. Any funds that cannot be used, for the purposes set forth in the act by an individual local government, could be transferred to another local government.   

The CCRA funding could be used to address extraordinary local costs, incurred in response to COVID-19. These costs would include deploying timely public service announcements to keep your citizens informed, rapidly activating emergency operations, readying employees for telework to keep services running, and more. 

Also, leaders in Congress and the Trump Administration are discussing an interim bill. This legislation would provide funding needed for the Payroll Protection Program, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses, increased appropriations for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and additional money for hospitals. Also being discussed is a provision to include, at least, an additional $150 billion to state and local governments. Our partners at the National League of Cities (NLC) are meeting with Congressional Leadership to ensure that at least half of that aid will flow directly to local governments.

Last night, NLC, along with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and the National Association of Counties, delivered a joint letter to the Administration and Congressional Leadership. This union of local government advocates told our federal leaders:

‘’America’s local leaders are asking for $250 billion in robust, dedicated, and flexible funding for local governments in any interim emergency coronavirus relief package. Aid for local governments is key to protecting public health and empowering economic recovery.

“As local partners working hand-in-hand with the federal government, we are ready to continue to ensure our country emerges from this pandemic stronger than we were before. Together our voices can change American communities.”

Crucial decisions will be made over this coming weekend. Please reach out to Senators Menendez and Booker and to your House delegate, expressing your support for direct local funding to aid your efforts in dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njlm.org, 609-695-3481 x121.


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