U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) this week sent a letter to Senate leadership requesting legislation to lessen the burden of federal grant compliance on first responders to free up their resources so they can spend more time on fighting coronavirus.
In their letter, addressed to Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer, the Senators requested:
- Any further coronavirus legislation to allow state and local governments to spend new funding on cost-matching requirements, and
- Grant administrators be required to quickly review and modify economic hardship waivers to help local agencies struggling to afford the fight against coronavirus.
These changes, they say, will help prevent first responders from having to return federal grants they’ve already been awarded and are using to protect communities.
“Revenue shortfalls within local governments and unexpected costs are forcing public safety officials to reassess their budgets to ensure they can afford necessities like equipment, training, salaries, and overtime expenses,” said the Senators.
“To that end, firefighters and law enforcement officers in Nevada have reached out to express concern that compliance requirements associated with various federal grants will soon be too costly and burdensome. Without changes, they will be unable to meet requirements stipulated in their grants, and as a result, they may be unable to access the federal funding they have been awarded.”
The Senators say the issue isn’t specific to Nevada. “If left unaddressed, public safety funding would be strained at a time of extraordinary need for our communities,” they wrote in the letter.