April 15, 2020

Harris, Feinstein, Senators Will Introduce Bill to Make Small, Rural Communities Eligible for Relief Funds

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced they will join with Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) to introduce the Coronavirus Community Relief Act. The legislation would provide $250 billion in stabilization funds geared towards localities with populations under 500,000 that are struggling in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communities across the United States, including smaller counties, cities and towns, are currently dealing with COVID-19-related costs that include deploying emergency operations, public service announcements, and telework services. Each of these communities need direct stabilization funds to address the pandemic, replace lost revenue, and recover economically when this public health emergency has passed.

“Communities across California are struggling to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Harris. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in announcing the Coronavirus Community Relief Act– providing vital funding directly to communities of all sizes is essential so they can meet the needs of this crisis. We’re all in this together.”

“The coronavirus pandemic isn’t restricted to large cities,” said Senator Feinstein. “Small and rural communities are also being affected by the pandemic – both in terms of public health and lost revenue – and they should qualify for relief. Our bill will ensure that all communities across the country get much-needed funds, regardless of size.”

“Small and rural communities across the nation either will face, or have already faced, enormous economic burdens and costs in an effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial that we provide the same direct emergency assurances to smaller towns, counties, and cities and grant them the same stability that we are providing our larger metropolitan areas,” said Senator Heinrich. “I am proud to lead this effort in the Senate to expand upon the Coronavirus Relief Fund that we secured in the CARES Act and open up this critical funding so that no community is left behind, especially in New Mexico.”

The Coronavirus Community Relief Act would ensure that all communities receive the direct relief they need to continue the COVID-19 pandemic fight and allow additional flexibility on how state and local governments could use funds to mitigate the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

Under the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, funds disbursed to state and local governments with a population under 500,000 could use the funds for costs including but not limited to lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, and increases in costs reasonably believed to have been caused or as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

The Coronavirus Community Relief Act is also cosponsored by Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Andy Levin (D-MI), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and 70 additional cosponsors.

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