Efforts in Washington continued this week as Federal legislators attempt to negotiate a second round of pandemic relief aid. While many were hopeful to have a Senate bill proposal released before the end of this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has indicated otherwise. A draft proposal is now expected early next week.
The League, along with our national partners at the National League of Cities (NLC), continues to push direct financial aid to local governments in the next legislative response to the economic impact of the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, press reports indicate that lawmakers have not fully grasped the need for direct, substantial, and flexible local aid.
Instead, it is being reported that those negotiating a new relief package have been looking at direct aid to schools, and creating flexibility in how states can distribute Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF). However, as most know aid to schools is not interchangeable with aid to local governments, especially in the Garden State where local governments do not control their school districts. And flexibility in how states can distribute existing CRF money does not go far enough in providing municipalities with the aid needed.
Many of New Jersey’s federal representatives have already indicated their support of direct municipal aid and we would like to once again thank them for their efforts. Other Senators from across the country have written to Senate Majority Leader McConnell, who is the key to any bill in the Senate, imploring him to include direct municipal aid in the next relief package.
We are urging our members to continue your efforts in contacting your representatives to ensure they understand the importance of direct local aid and thank them for their support. And, although Senate Majority Leader McConnell is not part of the NJ delegation, it is important to contact him as he is key in any new relief package. It is also helpful for you to contact the Republican members of the Senate Committee on Finance to express your support for direct local aid.