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MN Governor asking Congressional leaders for for COVID aid

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz - AP image

'The current situation is simply untenable," says Tim Walz.

Posted: Nov 19, 2020 12:43 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor Tim Walz is pleading with leaders of Congress for more COVID assistance.

Walz has sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer requesting they act quickly to approve new federal spending for workers, families, businesses, and states.

“The current situation is simply untenable,” said Governor Walz after sending the letter. “As the virus surges and demands pauses on our economy, we need federal support to ensure Minnesotans can make ends meet. We need Congress to act immediately to help keep our businesses afloat, our workers paid, and our families with food on the table. I will continue to fight with every fiber of my being for that support that you need and deserve.”

The text of Walz’ letter is below:

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the House

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
House Minority Leader

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Senate Majority Leader

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
Senate Minority Leader

Dear Congressional Leaders,

Thank you for providing resources and assistance related to the COVID-19 response this spring. As I mentioned in my letter to you dated July 31, 2020, states have led in the pandemic response and the resources we received from the federal government have been critical.

In recent days and weeks, COVID-19 has continued to take a toll in Minnesota and across the country as case counts increase exponentially. In Minnesota, it took seven months to reach the first 100,000 COVID-19 positive cases, but it has taken just seven weeks to reach 200,000. To date, we have lost the lives of nearly 3,000 Minnesotans. Across the country, this exponential growth has required states to revert back to similar restrictions imposed in March and April to protect lives and public health, mitigate medical staffing shortages in long-term care facilities and other settings, and prevent our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. In the spring, Congress provided critical assistance for workers, families, businesses, and states as the virus began to spread. Now, as states navigate unprecedented growth in cases, we are in desperate need of additional, flexible funding from the federal government to keep as many people as safe and healthy as possible in the pandemic response, and to help weather budgetary impacts due to the virus.

As I mentioned in my July letter, more support for states to help in leading the pandemic response is critical. Many of the funds provided to state and local governments must be used by December 30, and yet we know the virus is not going away by the end of the year. To the contrary, at the rate of increase we are seeing in the current surge, it is going to get much worse before it gets better. And yet states will be left with no additional federal resources to combat the rising tide of infections, unemployment, and human services needs that will continue long after the funds from the CARES Act expire.

To date, Minnesota has used CARES Act funding wisely, including to create a robust testing program that is free, accessible to all, and yields quick results; these operations will be key to keep people safe and healthy, and keep the economy going. We have also used our CARES Act funds to procure Personal Protective Equipment, support childcare providers, small businesses, and our education system. Further, economic assistance from the federal government has been critical for workers, families, and small businesses to stay afloat, whether through supplementing state unemployment insurance programs, or through the Paycheck Protection Program which helped thousands of small businesses subsist through the early months of the pandemic.

More federal funding for all of these priorities is badly needed. And needed soon.

Additional, flexible funding is also critical for Minnesota to be able to weather this economic storm. For years, Minnesota’s fiscal house has been in good order. After volatile financial times during the 2000s, Minnesota went from budget deficits to budget surpluses, and we invested in our budget reserves and rainy-day funds to the highest levels ever recorded. We have a AAA bond rating, and even as recently as our 2020 February Budget Forecast, we had a projected budget surplus of $1.5 billion. But in a matter of weeks, we saw that surplus turn into a $2.3 billion projected deficit for fiscal year (FY) 2021, and a $4.7 billion shortfall in FY 22-23.

Across the country, COVID-19 has impacted every sector of our economy and every facet of normal daily life. The ramifications of COVID-19 will undoubtedly have lasting impacts as we await further treatments and a vaccine. At the same time, the pandemic has reached its most urgent and dire state yet, and the critical need for additional federal funding at this juncture to help states mitigate the impacts of the economic downturn and continue to respond to the pandemic cannot be overstated. I am grateful that the United States House of Representatives has taken steps toward providing much needed relief to states by passing the HEROES Act. I urge your quick collective action to provide significant, new, and flexible funding for states in an additional COVID relief package, as well as a renewed commitment to maintaining a strong Unemployment Insurance safety net by extending the fiscal supports passed in March and protections for small businesses, so that we can continue to provide needed support to our residents and address budgetary challenges caused by the virus.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Tim Walz
Governor

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 276500

Reported Deaths: 3321
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin590031089
Ramsey24988472
Anoka19724213
Dakota19215176
Washington12538106
Stearns1226689
Scott753854
St. Louis740897
Wright663436
Olmsted610130
Sherburne512539
Clay445155
Carver409712
Blue Earth373511
Rice361431
Kandiyohi348215
Crow Wing316130
Nobles296028
Chisago28398
Otter Tail266615
Benton261940
Winona246128
Mower236722
Polk228621
Douglas219829
Morrison211621
Lyon193711
McLeod18879
Beltrami184615
Goodhue177626
Becker17559
Itasca168924
Steele16756
Todd165312
Isanti165015
Carlton153610
Nicollet146523
Freeborn13935
Mille Lacs132830
Le Sueur13219
Waseca129710
Cass12018
Pine11926
Brown117510
Meeker10797
Roseau9923
Martin98220
Hubbard97022
Wabasha9121
Dodge7850
Redwood78018
Watonwan7754
Chippewa7697
Sibley7094
Renville70818
Cottonwood7060
Wadena7006
Aitkin68923
Pipestone67018
Rock6439
Houston6152
Fillmore6050
Yellow Medicine56611
Pennington5356
Kanabec52911
Murray5283
Swift4976
Pope4820
Faribault4750
Stevens4442
Clearwater4356
Marshall4277
Jackson4091
Lake3584
Unassigned34356
Koochiching3325
Wilkin3275
Lac qui Parle3203
Lincoln3141
Norman3096
Big Stone2771
Mahnomen2494
Grant2346
Red Lake1903
Kittson1856
Traverse1330
Lake of the Woods871
Cook580

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 213603

Reported Deaths: 2193
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk31707324
Linn13442161
Scott1040375
Black Hawk10393127
Woodbury9932114
Johnson911635
Dubuque879290
Story647619
Dallas602856
Pottawattamie585166
Sioux351925
Webster335930
Marshall332942
Cerro Gordo326541
Clinton307737
Buena Vista291114
Muscatine270366
Des Moines270116
Plymouth259537
Warren258510
Wapello242871
Jones222212
Jasper206639
Marion194418
Carroll190920
Lee190315
Bremer182612
Henry17087
Crawford170615
Benton160315
Tama146340
Jackson13758
Delaware136221
Washington131313
Boone128811
Dickinson127510
Mahaska121327
Wright11625
Buchanan11009
Page10834
Hardin107510
Clay10624
Clayton10234
Harrison102328
Hamilton10157
Cedar101413
Calhoun10047
Mills9886
Fayette9768
Floyd96914
Lyon9668
Kossuth9464
Poweshiek93712
Butler9134
Winneshiek90310
Iowa88011
Winnebago87523
Louisa81316
Hancock8067
Grundy79710
Chickasaw7893
Sac7817
Cherokee7624
Cass75419
Appanoose7426
Shelby7265
Allamakee72411
Mitchell7184
Union7096
Guthrie70815
Emmet70623
Franklin68419
Humboldt6645
Madison6474
Jefferson6351
Palo Alto6064
Unassigned5950
Keokuk5397
Pocahontas5192
Howard5069
Greene4980
Osceola4941
Clarke4614
Davis4405
Ida43910
Montgomery43210
Taylor4312
Monroe42912
Adair4157
Monona3932
Fremont3463
Van Buren3364
Worth3360
Lucas3076
Decatur3000
Wayne2876
Audubon2831
Ringgold1892
Adams1551
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