March 31, 2020
The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin
Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20220
Dear Secretary Mnuchin:
I respectfully write to encourage the Treasury Department to provide guidance to U.S. governors that ensures that the Coronavirus Relief Fund is distributed in a timely manner to cities and communities of all populations as they deal with the health and economic challenges of this global health pandemic.
Last week, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and the President signed it into law. Public Law 116-136 establishes the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, which will help state and local authorities cover the direct costs associated with the response to this public health emergency.
Unfortunately, my concern is that the CARES Act, without concrete guidance from the Department, includes language in Section 601 (g)(2) that could be construed as defining local governments, who may otherwise receive funding for this health crisis, as governing bodies with populations greater than 500,000. In the State of Georgia, not a single city meets this population threshold. Without clear direction from the Department, critical funds could be delayed, impeding the ability of local governments to fund life-saving measures. As governors focus on state-wide priorities, it is critical that mayors and local executives have the resources they need to provide necessary, timely support for local communities on the frontline of this unprecedented pandemic.
The Department should provide states and governors with guidance to ensure the fair and expedited distribution of funds to cities and struggling communities. The guidance for distribution of the Coronavirus Relief Funds should be modeled after existing federal grant distribution models to ensure that no community or city is left alone in serving residents who are desperate for relief.
As always, we appreciate your service and prompt attention to this important matter. We look forward to continuing to work with federal, state, and local governments to support Georgia, its residents, and every American affected by this public health crisis.
Member of Congress