WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that she will join Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and 10 colleagues to introduce the Coronavirus Community Relief Act. This legislation will provide $250 billion in federal emergency stabilization funds directly to cities and counties with populations under 500,000 to help them maintain operations, pay workers, and continue providing essential services as they face major financial challenges in planning and responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Cities and counties across the United States are being forced to cover the cost of emergency services that include deploying emergency operations, issuing public service announcements, and implementing telework services. At the same time, the public health crisis has depleted tax revenues and created major holes in the budgets of local governments. Many of these cities and counties will require emergency stabilization funds to continue providing needed services and recover when this public health crisis has passed.

“Small cities and towns across the country are under incredible stress right now, and face major financial challenges as we battle the coronavirus pandemic,” Klobuchar said. “The Coronavirus Community Relief Act will help provide the financial relief necessary for cities and counties to help them survive the current economic turmoil and continue providing essential services to keep their residents safe. Communities – big and small – need resources during this crisis to make sure their residents are getting the proper care and support they need.”  

The Coronavirus Community Relief Act would ensure that all communities receive the direct relief they need to continue the COVID-19 pandemic fight and allow additional flexibility on how state and local governments could use funds to mitigate the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

Under the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, funds disbursed to state and local governments with a population under 500,000 could use the funds for costs including but not limited to lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, and increases in costs reasonably believed to have been caused or as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to Klobuchar and Heinrich, the Coronavirus Community Relief Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-AL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Kamala Harris (D-CA).

Companion legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives is led by U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Andy Levin (D-MI), Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) and 70 cosponsors.