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Heinrich To Introduce Coronavirus Community Relief Act To Provide Federal Assistance For Localities Under 500,000

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) announced that he will introduce the Coronavirus Community Relief Act. This legislation would provide $250 billion in stabilization funds geared towards localities with populations under 500,000 that are struggling in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Communities across the United States, such as smaller counties, cities, and towns, are currently dealing with COVID-19-related costs that include deploying emergency operations, public service announcements, and telework services. Each of these communities need direct stabilization funds to address the pandemic and recover economically when this public health emergency has passed.

“Small and rural communities across the nation either will face, or have already faced, enormous economic burdens and costs in an effort to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial that we provide the same direct emergency assurances to smaller towns, counties, and cities and grant them the same stability that we are providing our larger metropolitan areas,” said Heinrich. “I am proud to lead this effort in the Senate to expand upon the Coronavirus Relief Fund that we secured in the CARES Act and open up this critical funding so that no community is left behind, especially in New Mexico.”

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.

The Coronavirus Community Relief Act, led by Senator Heinrich, is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

“This unprecedented public health and economic crisis has hit our small towns and rural communities hard as they provide emergency operations at a time when revenues are decreasing," said Udall. "These communities need direct stabilization funds now to address the pandemic and recover economically when this public health emergency has passed. That’s why I am proud to join Senator Heinrich and Congressman Luján to introduce this legislation that will ensure communities in need – including our small and rural communities – receive the direct relief they need to continue the COVID-19 pandemic fight. As we respond to this crisis we must continue to safeguard our communities that are most at risk by putting them at the forefront of our solutions.”

The legislation is the Senate companion to the Coronavirus Community Relief Act, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, by U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Andy Levin (D-Mich.), Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.) and 70 cosponsors.

“Communities across New Mexico are experiencing the public health and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Congress has worked in a bipartisan fashion to address this crisis, we must do more to support local and state governments that are responding to this crisis. That’s why I introduced legislation in the House to bring $250 billion in direct relief that will help our communities overcome this crisis,” said Luján. “I am thankful for Senator Heinrich’s leadership in introducing this important legislation in the Senate. This crisis requires immediate action, and I remain focused on fighting for the needs of New Mexicans.”