LaMalfa criticizes Newsom’s plan to disburse federal Coronavirus relief aid

Congressman Doug LaMalfa issued the following statement in response to several counties in California’s First Congressional District receiving a portion of their funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. California received $15.2 billion in funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund earlier this year, $9.5 billion of which was disbursed directly to the state with the intention of the state acting as a pass-through to send the money to smaller counties.

In the last several weeks, counties have finally begun receiving their aid months after the CARES Act was initially passed in March. As part of the state’s budget, $1.3 billion of the $9.5 billion was allocated to counties in June, with the remainder going to the governor’s other priorities. The governor has chosen to disburse this aid on a monthly basis to the counties – only after they agree to comply with his overreaching shutdown guidelines.

“Our counties should have been trusted with these funds from the beginning to address the unique challenges that their area has faced during this pandemic,” LaMalfa said. “Our rural areas do not have the same resources or needs as Los Angeles and San Francisco, and it’s nonsensical that they’ve been held to the same standard.

“As Congress expected when we passed the CARES Act back in March, counties have faced devastating financial hardships as a result of this pandemic. Rather than passing on federal aid in their time of crisis, Governor Newsom only made it more difficult for counties to receive their portion of the Coronavirus Relief Fund. He instead used the $15 billion from the CRF to pad his own budget priorities, before disbursing a fraction of the aid like a controlling father – promising to give counties their monthly ‘allowance.’”

LaMalfa has consistently pressed state and federal leaders for fair consideration of small, rural jurisdictions when determining Coronavirus aid.

Earlier this year, LaMalfa sent a letter to Newsom recommending the creation for a streamlined process for small counties and towns to request funding from California’s $15.2 billion allotments of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Along with 18 of his Republican House colleagues, LaMalfa also sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for a fix to the statutory definition of a local government to protect counties, cities and municipalities with fewer than 500,000 residents so they can directly receive aid rather than waiting for the governor’s discretion.

Additionally, LaMalfa joined a bipartisan group of his California House colleagues in sending a letter to House and Senate leaders addressing the lack of COVID-19 funding for small and midsize counties.

LaMalfa also joined legislation to ensure that every county, regardless of size receives funds to support critical services that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including public health departments, first responders, and agencies that care for our seniors. Specifically, every county would receive $1 million with additional funds distributed based on population.