WASHINGTON – Local municipal aid remains a hot topic during the COVID-19 pandemic for local officials as many municipalities, including the City of Jamestown, are already operating on a tight budget.
Congressman Tom Reed is one of the officials who’s been on record throughout the pandemic as a supporter of increased municipal aid, saying last week during his teleconference with reporters that he’s in disagreement with a recent statement from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) saying certain states and communities should declare bankruptcy during the pandemic.
Reed said during his teleconference Tuesday that he is continuing to push for local municipalities, as well as states, to receive aid during the pandemic.
“I am a big proponent of direct local government assistance in this package when we ultimately get the state and local aid,” Reed said. “I’m not opposed to state aid, and one of the things I’m very adamant about when it comes to direct local aid to our local governments is that the governors are not in a position to manipulate, from the state capital, those budget lines that they typically do even outside the COVID-19 crisis so that the commitments made to the local governments are maintained and the efforts that the states have promised to the local governments are continued and maintained going forward.”
Reed says he’s been working with Senators Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) to finalize a bipartisan legislative agreement involving municipal aid.
“I stand with the local governments, and I stand in making sure — we took care of the large local governments of 500,000 and more (with previous legislation) — it is now time to stand with the local governments with populations below that,” Reed said. “And as we go through the debate, as I indicated, I’m not opposed to state aid, and I’ll let that fight take its own course, but I’m very much in favor of that direct local government assistance and protecting that obligation of efforts from the state budgets to the local governments going forward.”
“I think now is the time to really have the public debate as to how we can achieve relief to our local governments, and also make sure any type of state aid is appropriate and tied to the COVID-19 situation.”
Reed says the Problem Solvers Caucus has met virtually to discuss and debate various issues during the pandemic. He says Congress may be called back to Washington, D.C. next Monday, but there’s a chance that may change.
Reed adds that if Congress as a whole doesn’t work virtually, they should convene on Capital Hill.
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