Rep. Cook Leads Bipartisan Effort to Ensure COVID-19 Relief Funding for Small and Midsize Counties
WASHINGTON –Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) led a bipartisan group of colleagues in sending a letter to House and Senate leaders addressing the lack of COVID-19 relief funding for small and midsize counties. Other signers of the letter include Representatives Salud Carbajal (D-Santa Barbara), Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale), Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), and Jimmy Panetta (D-Carmel Valley).
The letter requests that Congressional leaders include counties with populations of less than 500,000 people in future aid funding. Previous legislation only provided direct assistance to municipalities with populations above that threshold, leaving out Mono, Inyo, and approximately 40 other counties in California alone. Additionally, Cook and his colleagues plan to introduce legislation to address the issue.
Rep. Cook said, “While legislative efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic have provided much-needed assistance to many Americans and some of our larger local governments, most counties were left out of the first round of funding. More than half of Americans live in counties that didn’t receive direct funding for COVID-19 relief. I thank my colleagues for joining with me to address this critical issue, and I look forward to working with leaders of both parties to ensure all our counties have the resources they need to respond to this unprecedented public health emergency.”
Rep. Carbajal said, “On the Central Coast and throughout California, communities are hurting during this pandemic—it is crucial that our local governments have access to relief funds to maintain essential services. I am proud to join this bipartisan group of my California colleagues in urging leadership to provide direct relief funding to all counties in our state. For vital local government resources and services to continue to reach people across the nation, Congress must ensure small and mid-sized communities like ours receive the support they need during this unprecedented health crisis."
Rep. LaMalfa said, "Local jurisdictions on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are serving our constituents as best as they can. With already narrow budgets, rural counties are struggling with the financial burdens that taming this virus has caused. The CARES Act failed to allocate direct funding for counties with smaller populations, which represent 41 of California's 58 counties, making it extremely difficult to perform the essentials people expect of local governments. If Congress decides to include additional aid to States in a fourth relief measure, my California colleagues and I insist that funds are distributed directly to local governments of all sizes.”
To view a copy of the letter, please click HERE.
A member of the House Natural Resources and Armed Services Committees, Congressman Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.