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04.21.20

IFPTE Urges Congress to Send Necessary Aid to State and Local Governments

April 21, 2020

Dear Representative:

As the executive officers of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers (IFPTE), we thank you for your public service during this pandemic and the resulting economic crisis and we continue to urge you to make sure that Congress’ response prioritizes workers and preserves jobs in upcoming COVID relief packages. Following the previous recommendations and priorities IFPTE has sent to Members of Congress pertaining to the next relief package, this letter is in response to reports that Congress and the Administration are very close to approving a legislative package that could largely focus on providing additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), while leaving any aid for our State, County, and Municipal governments to be addressed in the future. While IFPTE is generally supportive of the PPP program, as it is directly linked to the preservation of jobs, we caution against a relief package that excludes much needed relief for our State and Local governments that are suffering greatly as a direct result of the COVID pandemic.

IFPTE urges inclusion of the following provisions into the current relief bill that will provide a huge shot in the arm for our States and Localities:

• Fully fund the Obamacare Medicaid program in all States (including those that opted out), on an emergency basis through fiscal year 2020, to cover the uninsured in all States during this crisis.

• Increase in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage Program (FMAP) rate by another 15 percentage points on top of the 6.2% increase in the FMAP rate to States for Medicaid coverage until at least the end of 2020. The increase should also be retroactive back to January 1, 2020.

• Increase direct aid to States and Localities – The CARES Act package provided for $150B in aid to States, which was a start, but is far from the aid needed to help States and Localities deal with extreme budget shortfalls. IFPTE urges Congress to create an emergency Appropriations fund of at least $600B to provide cash packages to be sent directly to the States and Local governments, proportional to their COVID-19 associated costs, such that the Federal government is cost-sharing the burden.

• Repeal the CARES Act spending restriction on States and Localities – The CARES Act limits the ability on spending of federally approved State and Local government aid to only COVID-19 related unbudgeted costs. This ties the hands of State and Local governments from allocating spending toward critical taxpayer services in their communities.

• Include the bipartisan Coronavirus Community Relief Act (HR 6467), sponsored by Congressman Joe Neguse, which provides an immediate $250 billion in local stabilization funds for cities and localities with populations under 500,000.

Given the Administration’s and Leader McConnell’s reluctance to embrace a robust State and Local aid package, IFPTE urges you to leverage their interest in funding for the PPP program as a means to achieve similar aid for our public sector governments. Failure to do so will not only result in job losses for public servants and cuts to public services across the nation, it will deepen and prolong the economic crisis.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Paul Shearon
President

Matthew Biggs
Secretary-Treasurer/Legislative Director

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Follow IFPTE's Guidance and Legislative Updates on COVID-19

IFPTE's Interim Relief Letter to the House of Representatives

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