coronavirus

New Coronavirus Relief Bill Doesn't Answer DC's Call for $750M

Local leaders said the CARES Act shortchanged D.C. of $750 million, but a new bill passed this week didn't address the issue as some had hoped

Washington, D.C., area leaders who have called on Congress to fix a coronavirus rescue bill they say shortchanged the city of $750 million were disappointed again Thursday as a major relief package passed without addressing their concerns.

But leaders have also said the effort to get more federal money for the District's expenses is gaining momentum.

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council said last month it was "unconscionable" that the CARES Act defines the District as a territory for funding purposes, denying the capital the $1.25 billion minimum promised to each state. D.C. stood to get about $500 million.

Coronavirus Cases in DC, Maryland and Virginia

COVID-19 cases by population in D.C. and by county in Maryland and Virginia

Source: DC, MD and VA Health Departments
Credit: Anisa Holmes / NBC Washington

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton had said she had hoped a fourth bill would address the issue. But she still supports the new bill set to be signed by President Donald Trump on Friday.

"This bill has my support not because it takes the country where it needs to go, but because it gives critically needed attention to vital sections of the D.C. economy and its residents," Norton in a statement.

District residents will reap benefits from the new bill through the Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, money for community health centers and hospital funding, Norton said.

Norton says the District is typically treated as a state when congress makes funding decisions and says leaders are working on the issue.

"The mounting support we are receiving from House and Senate Democratic leadership and Members signals that we will retroactively receive the $750 million the District should have received in the third bill," she said.

Bowser told WTOP earlier this week that "technical amendments" were in the works.

Congressional allies have put blame on Republicans for the shortfall.

Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat whose district includes nearby Bethesda and Silver Spring, said the District had been "cheated" again.

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who spotlighted the issue in a floor speech, called for Washington, D.C., to get "appropriate emergency funds." He also called for federal support for first responders.

"The fight on these fronts is not over," he said in a Facebook post.

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