Rep. Cisneros and OC House Delegation Urge to Expand ‘Direct City’ Relief for CA-39 Cities

March 27, 2020
Press Release
Third coronavirus response bill does not provide direct aid to small and mid-size cities

FULLERTON, CA - Today, Representative Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39) and the Orange County House Delegation urged for relief for small and mid-size cities. In a letter to congressional leadership, the Orange County House Delegation expressed their disappointment with how the CARES Act—the third coronavirus response bill—does not provide direct assistance to cities with populations under 500,000.

“While the CARES Act provides much-needed relief to the American people, I’m disappointed it doesn’t deliver funding to cities that have less than 500,000 people. Every city in California’s 39th District does not meet that criteria, and that is unacceptable,” said Rep. Cisneros. “The first three coronavirus response bills are important first steps in dealing with this crisis, but we can’t stop now. We need to continue to pass legislation and provide the aid that all our cities, workers, small businesses, and healthcare workers need to fully combat and recover from this global pandemic.”

The full letter is below or can be viewed here:

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy, and Leader Schumer:

We write to express our disappointment regarding the lack of direct assistance to small and mid-size cities through the Coronavirus Relief Fund in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. We are also concerned that the CARES Act does not include a fix to ensure local governments are able to directly access benefits that businesses can receive to help offset the emergency paid leave policies included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

While the CARES Act would provide $150 billion in emergency aid to states, localities, and tribal governments, cities with populations under 500,000 would not be eligible for this critical assistance. In Orange County, California, there are no cities that meet these criteria. As our local governments are on the front lines of this pandemic by providing critical resources to our constituents, we should make all localities eligible for this essential aid.

Furthermore, while we believe it is important that we extended emergency paid leave provisions to local government employees, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act failed to extend the benefits offered to private entities to help offset the cost of these provisions to local governments. While the proposed House bill would take a positive step toward making our local governments whole, the CARES Act unfortunately lacks any fix to help local governments account for this unanticipated cost.

As we continue to work to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and plan for the recovery ahead, we ask that we all keep in mind the needs of small and mid-size cities and advance legislation that will ensure that they are able to continue their vital services for their residents, including our constituents in Orange County.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.