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Friday, February 26th, 2021

Lawmakers urge congressional leaders to take action on COVID-19 relief

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Josh Harder (D-CA) are among a group of lawmakers urging congressional leadership to include a six-month extension for states and local governments to spend their funding allocations provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in any upcoming coronavirus relief legislation.

“We believe that a six-month extension of the Dec. 30, 2020, deadline would allow states and local governments to meet the additional challenges anticipated during the next year,” the lawmakers wrote.

They said an extension would allow schools to better close learning gaps, plan for safe school re-openings, and address other barriers and associated costs. Further, they said it would prevent unnecessary layoffs. They pointed out that states and localities have already laid off 1.1 million workers, of which half of those are in K-12 education. In addition, an extension would provide safe housing for homeless and unstably housed individuals at risk of contracting COVID-19.

In addition to Feinstein and Harder, the letter was also signed by Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Gilbert Cisneros, Jr. (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), and Juan Vargas (D-CA). It was sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), minority leader Kevin McCarthy (D-CA), Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

Also, Rep. Chris Pappas (D-NH) was among a group of Congress members to send a letter to Speaker Pelosi calling on her to pass a compromise COVID-19 relief package that provides direct support to small businesses, local law enforcement, and public safety and bolsters the health care system.

“We are asking you to bring up a bill that demonstrates our commitment to meeting them in the middle as we have expressed our willingness to do, and advance it through the House with the haste this crisis demands,” the lawmakers wrote. “The political stalemate has gone too long. We demand a vote on a clean relief package that has direct assistance for those in need. Regardless if the White House or Senate agree, we must show the American people that the House of Representatives is open to negotiations and clear in our resolve to deliver aid for millions in need.”