WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democratic lawmakers want the federal government to provide emergency funds to state and local governments in the next emergency relief package.
“I say this as a former governor, you got to have the flexibility to put this money where it’s needed and trust the governors to do what’s right for their states,” Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said.
Warner says with tax revenue dropping, cities, counties and states won’t be able to pay their employees.
“You’re gonna see local government lay off critical workers because they just don’t have the money to pay the bills,” Warner said.
Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine agrees the jobs of emergency personnel are at risk.
“If you do not let the state and local governments use the dollars we provided to them for covering revenue losses, what are their options? They have to start laying people off,” Kaine said.
But Republicans say they don’t want money meant to fight the virus used for other things.
“We would see our tax dollars maybe go, not in response to coronavirus, to other states, but to solve some of their other problems,” Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz said.
Gaetz says states like New York had budget challenges before coronavirus came along.
“We don’t want to see a bailout of irresponsible decisions,” Gaetz said.
But Democrats say President Donald Trump supports getting local and state government emergency funding into the next stimulus package when senators return in May.