America’s mayors are using their voices to demand Congress finally take action to support cities by passing the fiscal relief for local governments included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. A letter to Congress now has 402 signatures from mayors all across America, in cities big and small, and the number continues to climb. With Republican, Democrat and Independent mayors alike, the group represents the millions of Americans whose local governments have been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The strength and depth of support is a reflection of just how dire the situation is in many cities, where local leaders are having to make painful budget decisions including layoffs, furloughs, and cuts to critical services. The full text of the letter is below and the 402 names supporting it can be found here.
Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McCarthy and Leader McConnell:
On behalf of The United States Conference of Mayors, we urge you to take immediate action on comprehensive coronavirus relief legislation, including providing direct fiscal assistance to all cities, which is long overdue. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan contains such assistance as part of an aggressive strategy to contain the virus, increase access to life-saving vaccines, and create a foundation for sustainable and inclusive recovery.
American cities and our essential workers have been serving at the frontlines of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic for nearly a year. We have been charged with executing herculean public health efforts and an unprecedented emergency response. Despite immense fiscal pressure, your local government partners oversaw those efforts, while trying to maintain essential services and increase our internal capacity to provide support for residents and businesses who have been crippled by a tanking economy.
And yet, as the economic engines of our country, local governments will be relied upon to lead the long-term economic recovery our nation so desperately needs, even as, with few exceptions, cities have been largely left without direct federal assistance. The lack of adequate support has resulted in budget cuts, service reductions, and job losses. Sadly, nearly one million local government jobs have already been lost during the pandemic. Our essential workers deserve federal relief like any other sector.
The $350 billion in direct relief to state and local governments included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan would allow cities to preserve critical public sector jobs and help drive our economic recovery. Providing direct, flexible aid to cities is the most efficient and immediate way to help families and their communities who have been suffering for far too long.
Furthermore, cities must be central to a deliberate strategy to accelerate vaccinations throughout the country. We support President Biden’s proposal to mount a national vaccination program and the provision of additional resources to cities to bolster our efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
Your quick action on President Biden’s plan is a crucial step to making meaningful progress in one of the most challenging moments in our country’s history. The United States Conference of Mayors is eager to work with Congress and the incoming Administration to meet this challenge. We encourage you to take up the President’s rescue plan as soon as possible in the 117th Congress.