Norton Says Senate’s Fifth Coronavirus Response Bill a Nonstarter for D.C.

Jul 28, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today said that the Republican-led Senate’s fifth coronavirus response bill, released yesterday, must be rejected because it fails to address the needs of the residents of the nation’s capital and of the nation as a whole.

“The ‘plan’ Republicans released today – if you can call it that – is a nonstarter,” Norton said. “In the CARES Act, D.C. was treated –in that Senate-led bill – as a territory instead of as a state for fiscal relief, depriving the District of $755 million to address the dual coronavirus public health and economic crises. The Heroes Act, which House Democrats passed a full 10 weeks ago, would rectify that injustice, but Republicans in the Senate now refuse to follow suit, providing no retroactive CARES Act fiscal relief to D.C. We support Speaker Pelosi’s call for Republicans to come to the table to negotiate a real solution, and we continue to insist that any new bill both make the District whole and treat it as an equal going forward.”

The bill Senate Republicans have introduced cuts unemployment benefits by $400 per week and does not authorize D.C. to participate in the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF), which supports short-term borrowing by states, cities and counties. Most glaring in the Republican bill is that it provides no new fiscal relief to state and local governments, which provide direct services to the American public.

The Heroes Act provided D.C. with $755 million in retroactive CARES Act fiscal relief, authorized D.C. to participate in the MLF and treated D.C. as a state, city and county for new fiscal relief, since D.C. provides each level of service.