Western States Pact asks federal government for $1 trillion in relief

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The members of the Western States Pact -- California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada -- are asking the federal government for $1 trillion in aid to...

Posted: May 11, 2020 2:08 PM

The members of the Western States Pact -- California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Nevada -- are asking the federal government for $1 trillion in aid to help deal with the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

A letter signed by all five states' governors, all Democrats, was sent to Congress on Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in his daily coronavirus briefing.

The request by the Western states comes as House Democrats push ahead with a far-reaching Covid-19 recovery package that, among other provisions, would bail out cash-strapped states and cities and is expected to elicit sharp pushback from congressional Republicans.

In the letter, the governors thanked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for the "quick financial assistance" they had already provided to workers and small businesses impacted by the virus.

"But now, however, our states will be forced to make deep cuts to programs that help those same individuals without similar relief efforts for state and local governments," they wrote, citing potential cuts to funding for health care, teachers, first responders and job training programs without federal support.

"That's why we are respectfully, and urgently, requesting $1 trillion in direct and flexible relief to states and local governments," the letter continues. "Though even this amount will not replace the decline in revenue that we forecast, it will make a meaningful difference in our ability to make-up for COVID-19 revenue losses."

The governors added, "This aid would preserve core government services like public health, public safety, public education and help people get back to work. It would help our states and cities come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient."

The request highlights a battle brewing on Capitol Hill over such funding. In a letter to colleagues Monday morning, Pelosi made clear her push to help states and cities, a figure she has previously floated could cost $1 trillion.

"We must act boldly to support state and local entities to address coronavirus-related outlays and lost revenue," she told Democrats.

But the Trump administration and Senate Republicans have resisted further federal economic spending after lawmakers have injected a staggering $3 trillion in recovery programs. Senate Republicans remain divided over sending more federal aid to state and local governments after the March stimulus approved $150 billion for states and cities.

California alone is seeing record unemployment, with 4.5 million people filing claims just since March 12. The state has paid out $13.1 billion in unemployment insurance claims in that time, Newsom said Monday.

The state's unemployment rate currently stands at about 20%, but Newsom predicts it could rise to nearly 25%. Newsom said in April that his state was "in a pandemic-induced recession" -- an indication that, while official economic bodies have not declared a recession, the state is experiencing a serious economic downturn.

The pact between West Coast states was formed last month, with California, Washington and Oregon announcing they were joining forces in a plan to begin incremental release of stay-at-home orders. Newsom said at the time that the governors of the three states would collaborate on their approach to getting back to business "in a safe, strategic, responsible way." Colorado and Nevada joined the group of states in late April.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 122168

Reported Deaths: 4444
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles596922532
Riverside8303345
San Diego7798283
Orange6783165
San Bernardino5650209
Alameda364197
Santa Clara2850144
San Francisco264443
Imperial249330
Kern246245
San Mateo224484
Tulare208392
Fresno194437
Santa Barbara171414
Contra Costa154738
Sacramento149058
Ventura119035
Kings11876
San Joaquin102436
Stanislaus79230
Monterey62110
Sonoma5934
Solano55922
Marin52517
Merced3107
San Luis Obispo2881
Placer2599
Santa Cruz2192
Yolo21624
Madera1293
Napa1263
Humboldt1044
El Dorado980
San Benito962
Butte601
Nevada491
Sutter482
Del Norte470
Shasta404
Mono371
Mendocino330
Yuba311
Lake300
Inyo201
Glenn170
Calaveras160
Mariposa161
Amador100
Siskiyou90
Colusa70
Tehama61
Tuolumne50
Lassen50
Plumas40
Alpine20
Sierra10
Trinity10
Unassigned00
Chico
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 70°
Oroville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
Paradise
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 70°
Chester
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 71°
Red Bluff
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 74°
Willows
Few Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 70°
Today will be nice but much cooler weather this weekend with a chance of showers and thunderstorms, mostly in the north valley and mountains. We heat up again next week.
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