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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01)

WASHINGTON (Dec. 14, 2020) – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland, and Xochitl Torres Small are urging Congressional Leadership to recognize the severe need to extend coverage of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) payments allocated under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

This funding provides direct, expedited support for state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments. CRF payments have been a critical lifeline for these governments to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and provide essential government services to their communities.

In the letter, the New Mexico delegation points out that the “global pandemic has persisted for nearly a year; therefore, COVID-19 response must remain a priority for state, local, and Tribal leaders in New Mexico as they work to keep their communities safe. Without a promise of future relief, our leaders on the ground are working tirelessly to utilize their CRF allocations with the added pressure of a 9-month deadline. Additionally, due to delays within the administration, sovereign Tribal governments in New Mexico did not receive any funds until May 5, 2020, shortening their timeline for use even further.”

By extending coverage, the lawmakers express that local and Tribal leaders will have adequate time to complete necessary services to respond to the pandemic and move forward with public and environmental health infrastructure improvements that cannot be completed under the current window.

Read the full text of the letter below or by clicking here.

Dear Majority Leader McConnell, Minority Leader Schumer, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader McCarthy:

We respectfully request that you extend coverage of Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) payments allocated under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in the next appropriate legislative package and adopt it before the end of the year.

As you know, Title V of the CARES Act authorized the establishment of the Coronavirus Relief Fund within the Department of the Treasury to provide direct, expedited support for state, local, Tribal, and territorial governments. Our constituents who have received a CRF payment are relying on this emergency assistance to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and to continue providing essential government services to their communities. The CARES Act also included a provision that requires expenditures to be incurred before December 30, 2020.

This global pandemic has persisted for nearly a year; therefore, COVID-19 response must remain a priority for state, local, and Tribal leaders in New Mexico as they work to keep their communities safe. Without a promise of future relief, our leaders on the ground are working tirelessly to utilize their CRF allocations with the added pressure of a 9-month deadline. Additionally, due to delays within the administration, sovereign Tribal governments in New Mexico did not receive any funds until May 5, 2020, shortening their timeline for use even further.

For many localities and Tribes, this fund is helping to address long-standing public and environmental health infrastructure demands for the health and benefit of their communities, some of which cannot be completed in just a few months. These Tribal and local governments have been able create much needed jobs for those who were unemployed due to the pandemic, support small businesses, build emergency operation and isolation centers, repair sewer lines, provide clean water and lifesaving equipment, and wire their communities with broadband fiber for the first time. However, there is much more that can and should be done with an extension of the deadline.

Extending the deadline for the use of the CRF will ensure that our local and Tribal leaders will have adequate time to complete necessary services to respond to the lasting pandemic. The surging numbers of COVID-19 cases can only heighten the pressing need for these CARES Act resources, both for public health and local economy support. We respectfully request the Senate and House consider and pass legislation to address the looming CRF deadline before adjournment.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

MIL OSI USA News