Nearly 100 in Congress urge coronavirus pandemic funding for DC

Jamie Raskin
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., asks a question of Corey Lewandowski, the former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Nearly 100 members of Congress are urging the House leadership to make sure that D.C. receives full federal funding to deal with the coronavirus pandemic amid concerns that the metro area could soon become a hot spot.

The group of 97 House members is led by Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. The number of confirmed cases of the virus has been rising in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, with more than 11,700 cases as of Thursday morning.

The letter on Thursday, addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, states that it was a “scandalous departure” from normal budgetary practice for D.C. to be treated as a territory rather than a state in the $2.2 trillion legislation recently passed by Congress.

As a result, D.C. is slated to receive about $500 million, instead of the $1.25 billion that’s allotted to individual states.

“There is no principled reason to abandon the customary practice of grouping the District with the states when it comes to the aid grants in the CARES Act, and there are urgently compelling public health reasons to correct this affront to the local community,” the letter reads.

The letter supports the efforts of D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who has vowed to get the additional money restored in the next legislation that Congress takes up to address the coronavirus crisis. Pelosi has said she supports those efforts.

It remains unclear when the issue will be fully addressed, with members of Congress no longer in Washington.

A pair of legislative funding proposals were taken up during a pro forma session in the Senate on Thursday, but both failed after objections on the Senate floor.

Neither of the measures would have addressed the situation involving D.C.

In addition to Raskin, several other House members from Maryland and Virginia signed onto the letter that was sent to the House leadership.

Lawmakers from the region this week also sent a letter to FEMA, calling for the agency to do more to get medical equipment to D.C., Maryland and Virginia.


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