The next round of coronavirus relief funding must include assistance for local governments and states, as they need money to keep employing police officers, paramedics, and other public servants who are "keeping us safe and keeping things running," but contact tracing is also vital to reopening the country, Sen. Chris Coons said Thursday.
"We just spent $500 billion on bailing out the airlines and bailing out a wide range of businesses large and small, from hotels to restaurants, who had no fault in this pandemic," the Delaware Democrat said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "I frankly think for us to continue to provide services whether it's garbage collection or pandemic health services in support, whether it's keeping the unemployment office open or providing police and firefighters, continuing to provide those key government services is also going to take some federal support."
Restrictions were put on money that went to some of the largest corporations, and there be restrictions on state and local governments as well, said Coons,
But if there isn't money allocated to local governments, there will be "massive layoffs" because of balanced budget requirements virtually every form of government is under, said Coons.
He also said he favors using the national service program, Americorps, to help conduct contact training, which is vital so the country can safely reopen.
Meanwhile, the country is "barrelling toward a massive amount of debt" amid the coronavirus crisis, but this is not a time to be laying off public workers such as the people who answer calls at a 911 center or paramedics.
There is a restriction in the current round of funding which provides $150 billion for communities that must only be spent on the pandemic response, but the 'right balance" must be struck in future spending, Coons said.
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