U.S. lawmakers are poised for a battle over federal assistance to state and local governments whose budgets have been shattered by a plunge in tax revenue even as they have had to take extraordinary measures during a pandemic that has caused a U.S. death toll approaching 55,000.
As a battle heats up in congress over a rescue package aimed at state and local governments bearing the brunt of the current health crisis, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer promised that agencies employing first responders will get the help they need.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER, CHUCK SCHUMER, SAYING: "We will do a Covid 4, the details are just being worked out.
We will ask for a large infusion of money for states and localities." The promises of a fourth coronavirus aid bill come as governors and mayors across the U.S. voice raise alarms over budgets blown out by the pandemic.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK CITY MAYOR, BILL DE BLASIO, SAYING: "Could Washington do the right thing?
Yes, they could." New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday that his city needs $7.4 billion in federal aid to offset its losses.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW YORK CITY MAYOR, BILL DE BLASIO, SAYING: "I share the governor's anger with what he's dealing with in Washington and what I'm dealing with in Washington.
We're both pounding away, with so many others, for a stimulus four that would make us whole.
And replace the lost revenue and really support us in dealing with the all the huge expenses we have in attacking the coronavirus." While Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, the chairman of the national governors association said on CBS's Face The Nation that there is widespread support for his proposal to allocate $500 billion in federal money to help states.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MARYLAND GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN SAYING: Well, so the governors have been pushing for this.
We tried to get it in the third stimulus package, and we pushed to try to get it in the 3.5 stimulus package.
There's tremendous bipartisan support for this.
Nearly every governor in America supports it, both Republicans and Democrats.
But not everyone is completely on board, according to Governor Hogan.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MARYLAND GOVERNOR LARRY HOGAN SAYING: "I know Senator McConnell is still somewhat reluctant, but there's a bipartisan bill in the senate that the governors hope to get through with the help of the administration." The Republican Senate majority leader drew flak this week from governors on both sides of the aisle after he said he would rather cash-strapped states declare bankruptcy, rather than spending more federal money.