Rep. Lee Urges Colleagues on House Floor to Support State, Local Governments
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Susie Lee (Nev.-03) delivered remarks on the House floor urging her colleagues to prioritize federal assistance for state and local governments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic fallout from the pandemic has devastated state and local budgets, which will force local communities to endure harsh cuts to education, health care, and other vital public services.
Rep. Lee has prioritized immediate action to help states and municipalities make up for lost revenue, including her bill to increase federal funding for state Medicaid programs, parts of which were included as a provision in the House-passed Heroes Act.
The following are Rep. Lee’s remarks addressed to her colleagues on the House floor, as prepared for delivery:
“I rise today to recognize Mr. Kenny Belknap, an honors and A.P. Government teacher at Del Sol Academy.
“For decades, Clark County school teachers have been forced to work with a tight budget. Like Mr. Belknap told me, ‘We’re just trying to keep our head above water.’
“He’s used to parsing materials and assigning two students to one textbook, as they fight for space in his overcrowded classroom.
“Unfortunately, that was even before a global pandemic.
“The economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis is devastating state and local budgets.
“In my home state of Nevada, the Clark County School District is expecting budget cuts of $38 million this year.
“It’s classes like Mr. Belknap’s that will hurt the most from this loss.
“Congress can help by prioritizing federal funding to states, towns, and communities to relieve budget shortfalls, so our education, health care, and public services don’t suffer.
“My colleagues: Let’s help our states and local communities, and give teachers like Mr. Belknap a chance to give his students the opportunities they deserve."
BACKGROUND: On April 17, Rep. Lee introduced legislation to increase critical federal aid for Medicaid programs as state unemployment rates worsen. The bill would create automatic triggers that increase the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP), or the share of Medicaid costs borne by the federal government, based on each state’s unemployment condition. Parts of this bill were included as a provision in the Heroes Act, which passed the House on May 15.
The Heroes Act includes another provision for which Rep. Lee strongly advocated that would expand stabilization funds for smaller communities with populations of fewer than 500,000, which were excluded from CARES Act relief. Smaller cities in Nevada’s 3rd District, like Henderson and Boulder City, would directly benefit from this aid.