The federal authorities should settle for an even bigger function within the coronavirus response, U.S. mayors informed Congress Friday, pleading with lawmakers for a money infusion earlier than they mull cuts to schooling, well being care or regulation enforcement.
They credited Washington for early steps to maintain the nation afloat however mentioned they’re hemorrhaging funds as they attempt to fight the virus and keep primary companies.
“Cities need real money,” mentioned Stephen Ok. Benjamin, mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, informed the House Select Subcommittee Hearing on the Coronavirus and Cities.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan mentioned early hiccups in federal testing efforts “hid the spread in our community” on the entrance finish of the pandemic. She desires the federal authorities to take a firmer hand in disease-fighting technique transferring ahead, as transmission lingers regardless of efforts to reopen the American economic system.
“Fifty states with 50 different battle plans will cause more death,” Ms. Durkan mentioned. She additionally slammed the “scavenger hunt, Hunger Games” course of during which states and cities had been compelled to compete towards one another for protecting gear and provides.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, in the meantime, mentioned the racial well being disparities uncovered by the pandemic demand an “urgent and larger national conversation.”
The Trump administration has informed states to take the lead in COVID-19 testing, saying it can assist native efforts.
It additionally says they need to see the impression of present stimulus efforts earlier than spending extra. Some GOP lawmakers say blue-state leaders are in search of a “bailout” for issues corresponding to underfunded pensions.
Mayors who testified to the House panel mentioned they need assistance now to take care of hospitals, police departments and different companies.
“We are squeezing every single dime,” Ms. Lance Bottoms mentioned.
Mary Jane Scott, mayor of Magnum, Oklahoma, mentioned native income for the previous two months is on monitor to plummet by 70-80%.
“We will need federal assistance of some kind,” she mentioned.
She additionally mentioned the pandemic uncovered the dearth of web entry in rural communities like hers. Students didn’t have sufficient wifi to finish faculty and school coursework from house, she mentioned.
Lenny Curry, mayor of Jacksonville, Florida, mentioned Congress shouldn’t, nonetheless, prolong reduction cash to municipalities trying to paper over pre-pandemic decisions. He mentioned Florida managed to go off critical harm from COVID-19 and that long-lasting quarantines will result in horrible outcomes.
“It would, in fact, be a cure worse than the disease,” Mr. Curry mentioned.
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