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US mayors request $250 billion in urgent coronavirus aid

The money would cover critical activities to stem the spread of the virus and bolster city services and economies.

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The US Conference of Mayors (USCM) has sent an urgent request to House and Senate leaders for financial assistance to tackle coronavirus (Covid-19).

 

In a letter signed by the USCM leadership, mayors are seeking a total of $250 billion covering a wide range of critical activities needed to stem the spread of the virus and bolster city services and economies.

 

The request includes resources for public health departments, displaced workers, small business support, food insecurity and substance abuse programmes, as well as existing federal programmes.

 

Bold actions

 

USCM is a non-partisan organisation of over 1,400 mayors who represent cities with a population of 30,000 or larger.

 

The letter said: “The White House has stated that its ‘All of America’ approach will be ‘locally executed’ and ‘federally supported’. To that end, we respectfully request that $250 billion in flexible, emergency fiscal assistance be allocated directly to cities by formula as quickly as possible. This will empower the nation’s mayors to immediately take the bold actions necessary to protect the American public from both the pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout.”

"This will empower the nation’s mayors to immediately take the bold actions necessary to protect the American public from both the pandemic and the subsequent economic fallout."

It added that direct financial assistance to cities will help ensure that mayors can continue to provide vital public services (including public safety, water, sewer, solid waste, and municipal electricity) and that local governments are not forced to make cuts that further exacerbate the economic impact of this crisis.

 

“This funding will support those most critically impacted by the crisis – financially vulnerable residents, small businesses on the margins, and community-based organisations – and will protect public health, human services and the economy in this extraordinary time,” the letter stated.

 

At the time of writing, there were 9,415 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US, with 120 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. To date, 106 people in the US have recovered.

 

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