Las Vegas Review-Journal - Lawmakers return to Washington to debate aid for cities, states

May 3, 2020
In The News

Help for cities

As Congress eyes a fourth relief bill, Nevada lawmakers are making the case to address the needs of the state, which was hard hit by the closure of casinos, hotels, entertainment venues and other businesses.

The National Governors Association, a group of bipartisan officeholders, is seeking $500 billion to help offset costs and the loss of revenue due to coronavirus. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, a Democrat, as well as Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, chairman of national governor’s group, support the request.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Association of Mayors is asking Congress for $250 billion for cities with populations of fewer than 500,000 — which were cut out of an earlier stimulus bill — to help mitigate lost tax revenues and to prevent layoffs of employees who provide essential services.

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., told Nevada reporters in a teleconference call last month that those funds for cities were critical. She noted that only one one Nevada city, Las Vegas, was large enough by population to apply for funds set aside in the most recent $2.2 trillion package.

In southern Nevada, Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat, spoke with mayors of Boulder City, Mesquite, Henderson and North Las Vegas about the impact or the coronavirus.

“They discussed needs in terms of personal protective equipment, testing and budget shortfalls,” Titus said, adding that she would push for funding for those cities.

Henderson Mayor Debra March told lawmakers and Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., that budget shortfalls threaten current city services.

Trillion dollar relief

The outcry from state and local governments has led Pelosi to seek $1 trillion in funding in the next coronavirus spending bill — a total objected to by McConnell in the Senate.

Senate Democrats also plan to leverage their position to get funds for states.

Cortez Masto said the fight is to get state, local and tribal governments “the funding they need to keep essential operations running and that the funding they receive is flexible so they can cover lost revenue as a result of this pandemic.”

Meanwhile, Nevada lawmakers are seeking funding for other issues. Lee wants $15 billion for workforce training.

Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., is seeking to increase unemployment benefits and an additional $2,500 per person in direct aid from the government to help families struggling with the economic fallout.