DETROIT – On Monday, Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14) introduced legislation to help give state, territorial, and local governments the critical funding they need to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Emergency Relief for State, Territorial and Local Governments Act would require the Federal Reserve to commit to purchasing short-term municipal debt as necessary for stabilizing funding needs during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Emergency Relief for State, Territorial and Local Governments Act, the Fed’s purchasing power will ensure that state governments can easily roll over debt and meet their funding needs throughout the COVID-19 crisis by relieving some of the stresses weighing on the secondary municipal market.
“Our local government and municipalities are always the first to respond in a time of crisis, as they are the closest to touching the lives of all our residents, and are on the front lines when it comes to providing services. Time and time again, the Federal Reserve has bailed out banks and corporations. It’s time to put residents first and ensure our communities have the resources they need to combat COVID-19 so they may stand on a solid economic foundation once this pandemic is over. I’ve heard from communities in my district, and many are working to make sure our neighbors are protected. The Emergency Relief for State, Territorial and Local Governments Act would allow that work to continue while making sure those governments remain as financially stable as possible,” said Congresswoman Tlaib.
Rep. Tlaib recently wrote about the need for this bill to be a part of an economic response to COVID-19.
“Our partners in state, local, and territorial government are on the front lines of this crisis, and it’s our responsibility at the federal level to ensure they have every tool possible at their disposal to contain and mitigate this pandemic,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “As our municipal leaders work to protect their communities from COVID-19, the last thing they should be worrying about is running out of funding. The Emergency Relief for State, Territorial and Local Governments Act will ensure that that our local leaders are able to focus on the public health emergency at hand and have the financing they need to weather this unprecedented crisis.”
“States and other local governments have so far borne the financial brunt of COVID-19, just like they did in 2008 during the financial crisis. Now, we must do everything in our power to ensure the Fed works aggressively to limit the losses in jobs and income for our localities,” said Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez.
The bill currently has more than 20 co-sponsors and has been mentioned by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as an important aspect of the House’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is included in the Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act, the House’s third coronavirus response bill.
The text of the bill can be viewed here.