House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., on Wednesday told a group of mayors that House Democrats were working to include aid to cities, towns, states, and county governments, in the next coronavirus relief package, reports Politico.
"We are going to insist on our side that this package include direct assistance to all of you," Neal said during an hour meeting via the online program Zoom with Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley; Columbia, South Carolina, Mayor Steve Benjamin; Santa Fe Mayor, New Mexico, Mayor Alan Webber, Arlington, Texas, Mayor Jeff Williams and Peduto in a video conference set up by the United States Conference of Mayors.
The move comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., shifted his tone on state aid, telling Fox News he is "open" to considering additional funds for state and local governments.
"There's no question all governors, regardless of party, would like to have more money, I'm open to discussing that," McConnell said on Fox News Radio.
The about-face from the Republican leader comes after governors across the country heaped criticism on his suggestion that states should simply be allowed to go bankrupt.
Chief among them was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who urged the nation's political leaders Wednesday to support the states, including thousands of doctors and nurses who descended on New York to help in the crisis.
"You have human suffering, you have people dying. You can't stop the politics, even in this moment?" Cuomo, a Democrat, said during a press briefing.
The mayors on the call with Neal said their cities need federal dollars for basic services like police, fire, parks and recreation, and sanitation.
"There will not be an economic recovery if our states and our cities are bankrupt," Peduto said.
"We are not talking about fancy things," Whaley added. "We are talking about direct services to our residents."
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