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Garamendi’s Special Districts Legislation Included in Bicameral COVID-relief Bill

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) announced that his “Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act” (H.R.7073) with U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is included in the bicameral coronavirus-relief legislation unveiled this week by a bipartisan “gang” of U.S. Senators and the House Problem Solvers Caucus.

“I am thrilled that my bill supporting the special districts that provide essential services to millions of Californians and Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic is included in the proposal by the bipartisan Senate gang and House Problem Solvers Caucus,” said Congressman John Garamendi. “To the first responders, peaceoffiers, firefighters, and public health professionals employed by the 2,700 special districts in California who continue working on the frontlines during this pandemic, know that federal help is on the way with this breakthrough. I will always fight to ensure our communities have the federal resources, funding, and support they need to provide the services that will help us beat COVID-19,” continued  Garamendi. “I want to thank my Senate colleagues and the members of the House Problem Solvers Caucus for including my Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act, and I plan to work with them to pass this pandemic relief into law before the end of the year,” concluded Garamendi.

After months of deadlocked talks between Congressional Republicans, the Trump Administration, and House Democrats, this bipartisan breakthrough is the first bicameral proposal that would provide dedicated federal financial assistance for special districts, which provide essential services including public safety, healthcare, and more. 

Garamendi introduced the “Special Districts Provide Essential Services Act” (H.R.7073) in June 2020, after special districts were left out of direct federal support for state and local governments under the CARES Act and earlier federal laws passed by Congress in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 2,700 special districts in California and 30,000 nationwide provide essential public services to millions of Americans, including first responders, firefighting, public health, transit, and more. Special districts are units of local government that provide public services cities and counties do not provide for residents.

The Senate gang’s $908 billion “Bipartisan Emergency COVID Relief Act” would provide $152 billion to state governments, 5 percent of which ($7.6 billion) would be reserved for special districts nationwide. This would be the first time Congress has ever provided direct federal support to special districts. Congress did not provide dedicated federal financial assistance to special districts during the Great Recession or in the 2009 economic stimulus.

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