WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Police, firefighters, and other local government staff are on the front lines of battling the coronavirus. But House Democrats worry whether local and state governments can afford to keep them employed.
“Now more than ever, we need to ensure that our state agencies keep their staff going,” Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright said.
He says he wants the federal government to provide support for frontline public service workers in the next coronavirus aid package.
“Money coming into our state, our counties, our cities is only trickling in right now. And it has a big impact on people that all of us rely on,” Cartwright said.
President Donald Trump has said he doesn’t want states with budget problems before the outbreak to benefit from federal funds now. But Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild says the impact of the outbreak should outweigh this concern.
“The funding for their first responders, their emergency personnel, who are so vital to everybody is seriously jeopardized,” Wild said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested allowing states to declare bankruptcy is the best option, but Democrats say that isn’t the help states need.
“Inviting states to apply for bankruptcy protection is the opposite of solving problems,” Cartwright said.
“It suggests that we are not all equal under our system of government and that just is unacceptable to me,” Wild said.
Both Cartwright and Wild say they are talking to Republicans in the House to win over their support.