By Michael Lyle, Nevada Current
This story was originally published by the Nevada Current.
Two Nevada mayors signed on to a U.S. Conference of Mayors letter urging Congress to quickly pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief legislation, which would allocate $350 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments to keep public workers on the job.
Henderson Mayor Debra March and Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve were among the 284 mayors nationwide asking for immediate action on additional federal coronavirus relief legislation.
While Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, another member of the group, hasn’t signed on to the letter, Jace Radke, a spokesman with the City of Las Vegas, said she “absolutely supports direct funding for municipalities to keep first responders on the job, continue city services and open schools during the pandemic.”
In an email Wednesday, Radke said Goodman wasn’t able to sign on to the letter because of a tight deadline.
Biden unveiled his economic proposal Thursday and the Conference of Mayors sent out the letter Tuesday.
“Mayor Goodman has great respect for the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and always considers signing on to that organization’s letters,” Radke said. “In this case the letter from the USCM did not come to the team here until the weekend and the deadline was Jan. 18, the MLK holiday. Due to that tight turnaround the mayor was unable to sign on. Again, Mayor Goodman absolutely supports direct funding for municipalities to keep first responders on the job, to continue city services and open schools during the pandemic.
Mayor John Lee of the City of North Las Vegas didn’t respond to requests to comment at the time of publication.
In the letter, the group wrote without federal support, local government budgets have been slashed, services have been reduced and jobs have been cut.
“The $350 billion in direct relief to state and local governments included” in Biden’s legislative proposal “would allow cities to preserve critical public sector jobs and help drive our economic recovery,” the mayors said in the letter. “Providing direct, flexible aid to cities is the most efficient and immediate way to help families and their communities who have been suffering for far too long.”
Initial coronavirus relief legislation passed in March provided funding for state and local governments.
The U.S. House passed subsequent relief legislation in 2020, but former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring the House measures up for a vote in the Senate.
Despite several Democratic lawmakers pushing for funding for local governments in the December relief bill, the final version didn’t include additional money.