The mayors of Kansas City, neighboring Independence and St. Louis are among 290 U.S. mayors who have signed a letter to President Donald Trump asking for $250 billion in direct aid to cover COVID-19 expenses. In the letter, they say only 38 U.S. cities have been given direct funding from Washington and those that qualified are unable to use the money to offset pandemic-driven budget shortfalls.
On Sunday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas joined Margaret Brennan on Face the Nation and said without more federal aid, layoffs of some city workers and budget cuts are expected in his city.
“You’re seeing a lot of deficit spending from cities,” says Lucas. “Mine has already put out millions of dollars in COVID-19 response. And the impact is actually go to be to American workers – those who work for state, local, county governments – are going to deal with the brunt of it.”
Jackson County received about $123 million in federal coronavirus relief. Kansas City, the state’s largest city, is only expected to get about $19 million of that funding.
Meanwhile, a spike in coronavirus cases has led to Kansas Citians sometimes waiting for 14 days to get their COVID-19 test results. Lucas said the federal assistance could help to clear up the backlog.
“We need more resources to get more testing to get faster testing through,” says Lucas. “That’s the biggest challenge and we’re going to continue to see this spread unless we get more testing. So I think money, a solution out of Washington, is key for not just mine, but all American cities.”
The mayors who signed the letter are from American cities big and small. Some are Republicans, while others are Democrats and Independents.
A previous letter was sent to Congressional leaders in Washington on March 18.
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