Contact: Nils Robbins
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nation’s Democratic mayors and city council members call on federal government to take immediate action to provide financial support and critical health care equipment to stop the spread of COVID-19 in cities, towns
WASHINGTON, DC, March 25th, 2020 –
Democratic Municipal Officials (DMO) called on the President, the House, and the Senate today to take immediate measures to provide the resources necessary for local elected officials to reduce the spread of the devastating coronavirus. This includes a stimulus package that would provide robust general grant assistance to states and municipalities, as well as critical health care materials such as tests for COVID-19, gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer.
“We are asking all mayors, council members, and other local elected leaders to call their representatives in Congress and the Senate and urge them to provide us with the resources we need to keep our cities and towns running. There are bills in the Senate right now that are being considered, but those will only provide relief at the state level. We need the federal government to provide each state with a grant equal to seven percent of combined state and local government revenue collected last fiscal year, an estimated investment of $175 billion in our nation’s public health,” explained DMO President and Detroit City Council Member Scott Benson.
“The failure of the Trump Administration to lead in this time of crisis is placing a high burden on local officials to keep local government functioning while also protecting constituents and workers. We are aggressively working to respond to the needs of all those who are on the front lines of the pandemic, and keep communities safe, strong and calm,” said Derek Green, DMO Labor Chair and Philadelphia At-Large City Council Member.
“We are driven to ensure that city leaders, who are familiar to and trusted by voters, are heard at the national level,” said Ian Baltutis, DMO Council of State Chapter Chair and Burlington, NC Mayor.
DMOs are calling for these economic needs to be meet immediately:
- Municipal grants such as Community Development Block Grants, Surface Transportation Block Grants, and Social Services Block Grants, and suspension of the 15% cap on CDBGs
- The federal government to urge all governors and mayors to mandate the closure of all restaurants and bars, and immediately guarantee or directly pay for business interruption coverage for retailers, restaurants and other tenants, as well as landlords
- Federal dollars sent immediately and with little red tape to those in need with no means-tested restrictions
- Banks and courts not to process evictions or foreclosures during the crisis, and rent forgiveness for those unable to earn adequate income due to hardships created by the pandemic
- Utilities and telecommunications providers to not suspend service due to non-payment
- Urging state and federal governments to work with us in developing assistance plans that support small businesses
- Direct the FCC to assist local governments by increasing greater access to the internet, easing restrictions, removing data caps, refusing to cancel service due to non-payment, bringing in cells-on-wheels to areas with sub-par coverage, and to amplify telehealth funding and opportunities
- Insurance companies who have been collecting premiums on business interruption claims to pay out to businesses who have been forced to cease operation due to government mandated closures
In order to prevent the further spread of disease, our municipalities need:
- Gloves, masks, soap, and sanitizer for our hospitals and first responders
- Increased testing, which must be free, and accurate information on how to receive it
- Financial aid and strategies for treating our homeless populations
- Access to respirators and immediate training for medical professionals to use them
- Employers to mandate that their employees work from home if at all possible
- All people to be able to seek treatment for COVID-19 without the fear of crippling costs
DMO has called on allies at the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic Governors Association (DGA), Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA), Democratic Secretaries of State (DSSA), and National Democratic County Officials (NDCO) to join our demands for immediate action. They have also been working with their network of partners in organized labor and other national partners to spread factual information and provide essential resources during the crisis.
Democratic Municipal Officials is the largest network of elected officials within the Democratic Party. The organization is an association of the Democratic National Committee, and advocates for America’s 40,000 mayors, city council members, and other elected leaders serving our municipalities.
For more information, please call 202-770-8053 or email Nils.Robbins@nationaldmo.org