WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 12, 2021)—today President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group of governors and mayors at the White House on Friday as part of his push to give financial relief from the coronavirus pandemic to state and local governments.
Biden wants to send $350 billion to state and local governments and tribal governments. While Republicans in Congress have largely objected to this initiative, Biden’s push has some GOP support among governors and mayors.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the committee’s Democratic chairman, said states and communities are desperate for help at a time when the pandemic continues to take lives and livelihoods.
“This money will allow these governments to distribute vaccines faster, expand testing more broadly and maintain vital services across our country,” Maloney said. “It will also help Main Street economies and save the jobs of our teachers, first responders and other essential workers.”
Rep. James Comer, the ranking Republican, said states still have money to spend from the relief package Congress passed last March. Comer played a video clip of California Gov. He further stated that “Despite this surplus, California is still receiving an additional $41.2 billion in taxpayer dollars from this $350 billion slush fund,” said Comer. He went on to describe the spending as a “big blue state bailout.”
Read the entire transcript.
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Thanks for coming in. I’m fortunate to have today a group of leading governors and mayors of both political parties to talk about the COVID plan that we’ve put forward, and their needs and their ideas and their recommendations on how to proceed.
And the American Rescue Plan is — has multiple pieces. The most important piece, in my view, is making sure we give them enough capacity to deal with the virus in their states and how we’re going to do that.
But equally consequential is the need to help the states economically, in terms of everything from unemployment to being able to make sure that they’re able to get kids back in schools and what role the federal government should play in helping getting that done.
And, you know, if — these folks are all on the frontlines. They’ve been dealing with this crisis from day one. It’s — I’m not making a political statement; it just it’s taken a while to adjust. They’ve been left on their own, in many cases.
I think some have found what I found when I got here: that what we thought was available, in terms of everything from vaccine to vaccinators, was not the case.
So I thank them for the work they did in their cities and their states in order to respond to the crisis. But I think it’s — and I’ve said it plainly when I was running and as President — that I think the federal government has a major role to play here. But these are the folks that are on the ground dealing with it every single solitary day. And they see the pain, and they see the successes when they occur.
And what I really want to know about is what should that — the recovery plan — should we have more or less of anything in it; what do they think they need most; how to proceed. Because as I’ve said before, you know, governors and mayors — that’s a real job.
I was a senator for years. I got in a train every day and came to Washington, D.C., and I’d get asked questions by the conductors and the shoeshine guys and the ticket masters and — but every single day, these folks are home. Every single day, they’re meeting with their constituents.
We’re down here in Washington, and we meet with them. I don’t mean to belittle them at all, but it’s not the same as being on the ground. And so whenever I want to know what’s really happening, I want to talk — and I’m not being solicitous — to governors and mayors.
And so thank you for being here. And that’s what we’re going to be doing today. Thank you all.
END 11:47 A.M. EST
Source: White House