04.22.20

Gardner Joins Several Members of the Colorado Delegation in Call to Ensure Communities Receive Support

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) joined a bipartisan group of Colorado Congressional Members led by U.S. Representative Ken Buck (R-CO), in calling on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to expand the definition of “local government” in the CARES Act to help ensure those communities with populations under 500,000 receive support under the Coronavirus Relief Fund.  The letter was also signed by U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Representatives Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Jason Crow (D-CO), Scott Tipton (R-CO), and Joe Neguse (D-CO).

“While the Coronavirus Relief Fund is well-intentioned, Congress should not be picking winners and losers in our nationwide recovery,” Senator Gardner and his colleagues wrote. “Our nation is facing difficult times, and the American people are hurting. Congress must ensure that we are not leaving any counties behind, especially those with fewer than 500,000 residents, as we work to get the country back on its feet.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader McConnell, 

We write to urge you to ensure that the direct aid program authorized by Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to assist struggling state and local governments be made available to all counties, including those currently excluded by the bill’s definition of a local government.

As part of the CARES Act, Congress established the Coronavirus Relief Fund, a direct aid program intended to assist state and local governments that have incurred unexpected expenditures directly related to battling COVID-19. However, under the program’s statutory definition of a local government, only counties with more than 500,000 residents may access these direct aid dollars. This arbitrary definition leaves hundreds of counties nationwide, including 59 of the 64 counties across our home state of Colorado, ineligible to receive assistance through the program. 

While the Coronavirus Relief Fund is well-intentioned, Congress should not be picking winners and losers in our nationwide recovery. In order to address the needs of smaller counties, municipalities, and other local governments during this unprecedented time, we respectfully request that you consider including language that ensures communities with fewer than 500,000 residents are able to receive necessary funding through this program.

Our nation is facing difficult times, and the American people are hurting. Congress must ensure that we are not leaving any counties behind, especially those with fewer than 500,000 residents, as we work to get the country back on its feet. As such, we urge you to reevaluate the statutory definition of a local government under the CARES Act in future coronavirus relief legislation to ensure our counties will be better equipped to respond to this crisis and protect the public’s health and safety. Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.

###

Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.