(PRESS RELEASE/Governor’s Office)
Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter today to congressional leadership and the Trump administration, urging an immediate restart to negotiations on another coronavirus relief package that can be passed and signed into law before the end of the year.
The letter reads, in part:
“As the first state in the nation hit by COVID-19, Washington state has aggressively confronted the virus from the beginning of the pandemic, taking difficult but necessary measures to save lives…We do not take these measures lightly. We are painfully aware that these steps, guided by science, will increase hardship for families, workers, and businesses that are already suffering. But we must act now and act quickly to prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed and to save the lives of our fellow Washingtonians.
“The federal government now has a responsibility to act as well. Hundreds of thousands of our residents are already struggling with joblessness, hunger, and housing insecurity, and have watched multiple forms of federal relief expire or be exhausted since the summer. These needs will only grow worse as additional core provisions of the CARES Act are set to expire at the end of 2020, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and existing Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF).”
Inslee calls for a package that includes:
- Restoration and extension of pandemic unemployment benefits.
- Additional aid for state, local and tribal governments.
- Renewal of small business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
- Testing, contact tracing and vaccine distribution funding.
- Funding for housing and rental assistance, food assistance, schools and broadband.
- Another round of direct payments to taxpayers and their dependents.
The letter concludes: “Americans will face irreparable harm if small businesses, families, workers, and state and local governments are forced to confront the coming months without immediate federal action. Only Congress can provide the size and scale of relief needed in the moment.”
Read the full letter here.