Five Western Democratic governors on Monday asked Congress for $1 trillion in aid to plug the budgetary holes created by the novel coronavirus shutdown.
The Western States Pact governors of California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington said that such “direct and flexible relief” would “make a meaningful difference in our ability to make up for COVID-19 revenue losses.”
“Without federal support, states and cities will be forced to make impossible decisions—like whether to fund critical public healthcare that will help us recover, or prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other first responders,” said the letter.
The request was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The letter comes with House Democrats pushing another stimulus package expected to include more than $750 billion for state and local governments to make up for lost tax revenue and cover pandemic-related costs.
The package has drawn pushback from Republicans who fear the influx would be used to bail out overdrawn pension funds and other preexisting budget priorities unrelated to the pandemic.
President Trump and congressional leaders have already issued a whopping $3 trillion in coronavirus relief, including loans for small businesses, aid for hospitals and testing, and checks for individuals and the unemployed.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that his state is “struggling with tens of billions of dollars in budget deficits, directly as an impact, directly because of this disease, COVID-19,” according to KCRA-TV in Sacramento.
One of the governors, Colorado’s Jared Polis, has moved to cut state spending in reaction to the coronavirus crisis, slicing $229 million from the state budget in a May 1 executive order.