Sending Office: Honorable Jamie Raskin
Cosigners: Adams, Bass, Beyer, Bishop, Blumenauer, Bonamici, Brown, Brownley, Carson, Cleaver, Connolly, Danny Davis, DeGette, DeLauro, Deutch, Eshoo, Fudge, “Chuy” Garcia, Gomez, Grijalva, Haaland, Hastings, Hayes, Jayapal, Jeffries, Hank Johnson,
Kaptur, Robin Kelly, Khanna, Larson, Lawrence, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Lowenthal, Lynch, Carolyn Maloney, McCollum, McGovern, Moore, Napolitano, Neguse, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pascrell, Plaskett, Pocan, Pressley, Quigley, Richmond, Rush, Sablan, Sarbanes,
Sewell, Schakowsky, Shalala, Trone, Underwood, Wasserman Schultz, Watson Coleman, Welch, Wexton, Wild.
Please join me in urging leadership to provide full and fair COVID-19 relief funding for the District of Columbia. With the coronavirus ravaging communities nationwide, the recently passed CARES Act provides a minimum of $1.25 billion in direct aid to all
states to help manage the health and economic consequences of the virus. But in an unfair and unexplained break from usual practice, the District of Columbia was denied this aid and instead treated like a U.S. territory, denying it about $750 million dollars
in relief. The 700,000 residents of the District of Columbia pay more federal taxes than 22 states and in this time of crisis are entitled to the same federal support as their fellow citizens in the 50 states. This injustice must be corrected as soon as possible.
I hope you will join a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy calling for full COVID-19 relief funding for the District of Columbia. The text of the letter is below. Please contact Holly Idelson (Holly.Idelson@mail.house.gov) with questions
or to co-sign. Our deadline to co-sign is COB Wednesday, 4/8.
Very truly yours,
Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy,
As Members of Congress who spend substantial periods of time with our families, staffs and colleagues in the District of Columbia, and as United States Representatives who must take into account the basic needs and interests of 705,000 tax-paying American
citizens who live in the District yet have no representation in the U.S. Senate and whose own elected Representative to the House is denied a vote, we write to express our outrage about the decision to shortchange the District of hundreds of millions of dollars
in urgently needed relief under the $2.2 trillion COVID-19 legislation that was recently signed into law.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) includes direct aid to states to help them respond to the many public health and economic challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak. But the allocation formula for these direct grants inexplicably
breaks from overwhelming precedent and treats the District of Columbia like a federal territory rather than a state, meaning that it will receive about $500 million rather than the $1.25 billion minimum allotted to the states. The District will lose out on
$750 million in essential funding during this crisis.
This decision is a scandalous departure from practice that dramatically increases health risks for everyone who lives and works in the District, a massive group that includes Members of Congress, our Capitol Hill staffs and our families.
The District of Columbia is home to 705,000 people, a population larger than that of two states, and its citizens pay more in federal tax dollars than people in 22 states. District residents pay the same federal taxes as state residents, which is why the
District has been treated like a state under almost all federal grant programs—and not like U.S. territories, whose citizens do not pay individual federal income taxes (although they do pay other kinds of federal taxes).
There is no principled reason to abandon the customary practice of grouping the District with the states when it comes to the state aid grants in the CARES Act, and there are urgently compelling public health reasons to correct this affront to the local
community. The District of Columbia is treating more than 1,100 COVID-19 cases and has already seen 24 deaths in the community. Its caseload is growing sharply along with those in neighboring Maryland and Virginia and the rest of the country.
The District is doing its part to fight the spread of the virus, but its economy has been hard hit by the necessary closures of many of the city’s business, governmental and tourist sites. As the Nation’s Capital, the city where we meet, where essential
government functions are located, and where millions of our constituents travel every year, the District’s ability to meet the full economic and health needs of its population will have direct consequences for the wellbeing of our own constituents, our communities
and ourselves. We are one nation and there is no reason to cheat the people of the District, who actually pay more per capita in federal taxes than the people of any state.
We appreciate that Speaker Pelosi has already pledged to fight for retroactive full COVID-19 funding for the District. We hope this will become a unifying, bipartisan and bicameral point of agreement which demonstrates our commitment to the unity of the
American people and that it can be enacted as soon as possible.
Very truly yours,
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0