As he was preparing to return to the nation’s capital, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said in Chicago today that he’s focused on working with lawmakers to put together a new COVID-19 relief package - an effort that’s been stalled for months amid a partisan standoff.
The domino effect, he says, is that with the expiration of federal paycheck protection and unemployment subsidies, more businesses will close and people simply won’t have the purchasing power to maintain sales and other tax revenues needed to keep governments functioning. […]
But a short time after Durbin’s downtown Chicago news conference, McConnell announced what the Washington Post called a slimmed-down COVID-19 bill that does not include help for state and local governments. […]
“We’ve seen state and local governments all across the United States take an inventory of where they are today and the news is not good. Whether it’s the state of Illinois or the city of Chicago, there’s been a dramatic loss of revenue for obvious reason,” Durbin told reporters this morning. “… And so governors and mayors are facing some of the most difficult choices, whether it’s Gov. Pritzker or Mayor Lightfoot, they’re in a situation where they don’t have the revenues to continue the service levels that they have traditionally provided. What that means is if Congress does not act and act soon, many of them will face cutbacks in critical employees. We’re talking about police, firefighters, teachers, health care workers, the list goes on and on.”
Illinois’ governor says state and local government workers could lose their jobs without a federal bailout. Governor JB Pritzker yesterday predicted that first responders and social service providers would feel the brunt of the coming economic impact of the coronavirus. Pritzker is pushing for a federal bailout for Illinois, but many Republicans on Capitol Hill say that looks very unlikely.
* Fox 32…
The Republican proposal would add $300 a week to unemployment checks, down from the $600 boost that expired last month. Democrat Bernie Sanders tweeted that it also included $161 million “corporate welfare to the coal industry.” But for many Democrats, the biggest objection is that Republicans offer nothing to local governments, such as the state of Illinois, which is warning of layoffs without at least $5 billion.
“Big corporations all across the nation have received billions and billions and billion of dollars of aid. But now when it comes to the very social services, the very education, the frontline, you know, first responders–our police, our firefighters–now they’re gonna fall short?” Pritzker said.
* Center Square…
As members of Congress get back to work, some are looking for another COVID-19 aid package. President Donald Trump said he doesn’t support bailing out what he called “badly run” Democratic cities and states, “whether it’s New York or Illinois.” […]
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, said Illinois should not get a bailout for years of policymakers neglecting the state’s finances before the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No one is going to bail out the structural debt and deficit that Illinois has,” Davis said. “That’s not a pandemic expense, that’s not something that’s caused by the pandemic.” […]
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, said Illinois’ structural debt is from years of Illinois paying more than it gets back in federal taxes.
“So until that problem is fixed, this mischaracterization of this as a bailout is just way off base,” Foster said. […]
Foster said a deal for additional COVID-19 relief may be wrapped in with an end-of-year spending plan to get passed the presidential inauguration in January. He said that would be to avoid making things more turbulent with threats of a government shutdown. Davis said he would support allowing local governments to cover COVID-related costs with money congress has already approved. […]
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Tuesday it’s up to Congress to “step up.” He said he is “very, very” concerned that social services will be diminished if Congress doesn’t take action.