03.18.20

Washington Congressional Delegation United in Calling for Increased Economic Support for Washingtonians in Third Coronavirus Response Package

Tacoma, WA – Today, Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) led the Washington congressional delegation in urging Speaker Pelosi, Minority Leader McCarthy, and five House Committee Chairs to address some of Washington state’s growing economic challenges in the next coronavirus-related stimulus bill. The delegation called on House leaders to support workers and businesses to mitigate the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak by expanding access to economic assistance, increasing investments to prevent housing displacement, creating parity for Tribes, and providing direct assistance to individuals. These policies reflect the needs of state, local, and tribal officials as communities across the state are adapting to prolonged social distancing measures. Washington state was the first impacted by COVID-19 and remains one of the most negatively affected.

“We hope you will consider the following proposals, many of which were developed by Washington state officials and our local communities who are working tirelessly to mitigate the deep economic impacts that our state is already experiencing, and that are beginning to expand nationwide,” the lawmakers wrote.

The policy proposals urge Congress and the federal government to:

  • Ensure that all federal resources provided to support communities, workers, and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic are made available retroactively to the date on which a state, local, or tribal government first declared a state of emergency related to COVID-19. 
  • Expand direct access to economic assistance through increased investment in the Economic Development Administration (EDA). 
  • Increase investments in existing Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs to ensure individuals are not displaced as a result of COVID-19 related financial hardship and that communities have the resources they need to continue providing essential services throughout the duration of this epidemic. 
  • Create parity for Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations by providing guaranteed direct access to all federal funding streams and resources created to combat, prevent, and mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Employ tax incentives to provide direct assistance to individuals impacted by prolonged social distancing protocols. 
  • Leverage the expertise of federal agencies to develop and disseminate best-practices to businesses and local communities to help further mitigate long-term impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic.  

The full letter can be found here and below.

 

March 17, 2020 

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi                                                             The Honorable Kevin McCarthy 

Speaker                                                                                               Minority Leader 

U.S. House of Representatives                                                           U.S. House of Representatives 

 

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy: 

 

Unfortunately, Washington state was the first state impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 and remains one of the most negatively affected today. As you consider provisions for the next coronavirus-related stimulus package, we hope you will consider the following proposals, many of which were developed by Washington state officials and our local communities who are working tirelessly to mitigate the deep economic impacts that our state is already experiencing, and that are beginning to expand nationwide. 

 

  • Ensure that all federal resources provided to support communities, workers, and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic are made available retroactively to the date on which a state, local, or tribal government first declared a state of emergency related to COVID-19. 

 

  • Expand direct access to economic assistance through increased investment in the Economic Development Administration (EDA). 
    • Provide an additional $650 million to the EDA in Disaster Recovery funds for states and local regions to access to assist with recovery from lost economic activity and job losses due to the impacts of COVID-19.  
    • Direct the EDA to provide priority access for states that were first impacted by COVID-19 for existing economic adjustment funds to assist in creating a revolving loan fund for businesses as well as access to funding to market the State and region.  
    • Direct EDA to provide consideration for states that were first impacted by COVID-19 to access existing funding from the America Competes and Build to Scale (formerly Regional Innovation Strategy) programs.  

 

  • Increase investments in existing Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs to ensure individuals are not displaced as a result of COVID-19 related financial hardship and that communities have the resources they need to continue providing essential services throughout the duration of this epidemic. 
    • Provide the highest possible funding for HUD’s CDBG programs, prioritizing funding for states, cities, and counties most impacted by COVID-19 and include clear guidance allowing these funds to be used to support essential community services – including but not limited to temporary childcare for healthcare workers and first responders, increased capacity at homeless shelters and expanded quarantine facilities to ensure adequate and safe shelter for vulnerable populations. 
    • Direct funds to HUD through rental assistance or other appropriate programs to prevent evictions when an individual’s inability to pay rent and/or utilities or other essential housing needs is tied to a direct loss to income due to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

 

  • Create parity for Tribes, Tribal Organizations, and Urban Indian Organizations by providing guaranteed direct access to all federal funding streams and resources created to combat, prevent, and mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak, including but not limited to: 
    • COVID-19 test kits; 
    • Personal protective equipment and medical supplies for health care workers and first responders through the Strategic National Stockpile; 
    • Financial support provided through the Public Health Emergency Fund, Small Business Administration, EDA, and HUD; 
    • Expanded nutrition benefits (e.g. SNAP, Tribal TANF) and other food distribution benefits. 

 

  • Employ tax incentives to provide direct assistance to individuals impacted by prolonged social distancing protocols. 
    • Create a Pandemic Recovery Rebate for individuals economically impacted by COVID-19 to receive a credit against federal taxes withheld for 2019 and 2020.  
    • Create a tax credit for businesses that incentivize the creation of telecommuting policies that allow and encourage employees to telecommute. 
    • Introduce a tax credit for Small and Medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that report a 25% or more drop in revenue that can be tied to the coronavirus. 

 

  • Leverage the expertise of federal agencies to develop and disseminate best-practices to businesses and local communities to help further mitigate long-term impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic.  
    • Direct the Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to create clear guidance for manufacturers and other employers to both minimize the risk of an outbreak and mitigate the impacts of having to shut down operations and decontaminate a work site.  
    • Utilize the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST-MEP) network to disseminate information and provide direct services to small and medium sized manufacturers.  

 

Thank you for considering our priorities for the third coronavirus response package. If you have any questions regarding these requests please contact Sarah Monteith (Sarah.Monteith@mail.house.gov) or Katie Allen (Katie.Allen@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Kilmer’s office or Jordan Evich (Jordan.Evich@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Herrera Beutler’s office. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Derek Kilmer

Member of Congress 

 

Jaime Herrera Beutler

Member of Congress

 

Rick Larsen

Member of Congress

 

Dan Newhouse

Member of Congress

 

Adam Smith

Member of Congress

 

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Member of Congress  

 

Suzan DelBene

Member of Congress

 

Pramila Jayapal

Member of Congress

 

Kim Schrier, M.D.

Member of Congress

 

Denny Heck

Member of Congress

 

 

CC: 

The Honorable Nita Lowey, Chair, House Committee on Appropriations 

The Honorable Kay Granger, Ranking Member, House Committee on Appropriations 

The Honorable Richard M. Neal, Chair, House Committee on Ways and Means 

The Honorable Kevin Brady, Ranking Member, House Committee on Ways and Means 

The Honorable Maxine Waters, Chair, House Committee on Financial Services 

The Honorable Patrick McHenry, Ranking Member, House Committee on Financial Services 

The Honorable Bobby Scott, Chair, House Committee on Education and Labor 

The Honorable Virginia Foxx, Ranking Member, House Committee on Education and Labor 

The Honorable Raul Grijalva, Chair, House Committee on Natural Resources 

The Honorable Rob Bishop, Ranking Member, House Committee on Natural Resources