LaMalfa joins bipartisan legislation to provide COVID-19 relief for smaller counties

Congressman Doug LaMalfa joined the Coronavirus County Relief and Stability Act as an original cosponsor to address the lack of COVID-19 relief funding for small and midsize counties. This bipartisan legislation is led by Paul Cook and co-sponsored by Salud Carbajal Jimmy Panetta.

The legislation would 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.

Previous legislation provided direct assistance only to larger local governments – those with populations greater than 500,000 people – leaving 42 counties in California without vital federal support during this crisis. Earlier this month, LaMalfa and his colleagues sent a letter to House and Senate leadership requesting that any additional COVID-19 aid packages also include direct assistance to these counties.

“In the North State, we were fortunate to have fewer confirmed COVID-19 cases than the rest of the country,” LaMalfa said. “However, rural counties run on tight budgets, and most were unprepared for the deficits they’d have this year. Despite Congress’s clear directive that the Coronavirus Relief Fund be used to assist local governments, several governors continue to withhold counties’ allotment. In California, further cuts to rural counties’ withheld share were reduced to half and then redistributed to urban areas. The Coronavirus County Relief and Stability Act takes a commonsense approach to providing direct assistance to all counties in the United States to address COVID-19 costs. In fact, in every single case in Northern California, this bill provides more funding than what was requested by the National Association of Counties. This is a responsible and even-handed proposal that will benefit all Americans, and I look forward to its swift passage.”

“Unfortunately, our small and midsize counties haven’t received the aid they need to effectively combat the effects of the COVID-19 public health emergency. All our counties, regardless of size, are expected to provide the same critical services and follow the same protocols that larger counties are implementing to slow the spread of Coronavirus,” said Cook. “However, the vast majority of counties in California have been forced to do so without direct federal assistance. This legislation will ensure that both large counties like San Bernardino and smaller counties like Inyo and Mono get the funding they need to address this public health crisis. I thank my colleagues for joining with me to introduce this bipartisan legislation.”

“Communities across America are juggling the need to continue providing essential investments and services to keep residents safe and healthy with the reality of deep deficits resulting from the impact of COVID-19,” said Carbajal. “The federal government has a responsibility to step in and assist local governments, which have found themselves on the edge of bankruptcy through no fault of their own. We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and there is no time for political gridlock. I’m glad to co-lead this bipartisan legislation to ensure counties have the federal support they need to continue providing for their residents. I will also continue working in Congress to secure additional funding for cities and states who are facing similar challenges.”

“The government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been federally funded, state-mandated, and locally executed. Although Congress has passed significant coronavirus funding relief bills, many counties, like ours on the Central Coast, need more to continue to deliver public health and other critical services to communities,” said Panetta. “This bill is a bipartisan solution to provide direct funding to counties so that our local leaders can focus on doing their part to support our community members now and in the future.”