Governor Polis, State Legislative Leadership Call on U.S. Senate to Take Real Action in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

DENVER – Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado’s legislative leadership today called on the U.S. Senate to pass a real relief package that provides support to Colorado schools and state and local governments and extends unemployment insurance for Coloradans in response to the challenges created by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“Hardworking Colorado families need real relief and our schools and local governments need additional resources to effectively respond to the unique challenges of this pandemic. Without new federal support, our economy and small businesses will continue to teeter on the edge of a cliff,” said Governor Jared Polis.“We appreciate the collaborative, bipartisan efforts our federal delegation has taken to this point and urge the Senate to move quickly on a real relief package.”

The country is facing mounting challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. House approved a COVID-19 relief package weeks ago but the U.S. Senate is currently on recess for the next few weeks. 

“Congress must quickly approve a meaningful coronavirus relief package, as thousands of hardworking Coloradans agonize over their economic security and wonder how they will make ends meet,” said House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “Without additional aid to states and local governments, an extension of unemployment assistance, and support for our schools, Colorado will be forced to reduce services for those who need them the most, school districts will face crippling budget shortfalls, and hardworking families will be left behind.”

“Colorado has no time to waste–-we need Congress to pass a robust COVID relief package as soon as possible,” said House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver. “The Federal support that our state has received so far has made an enormous difference in the lives of teachers, students, and everyday Coloradans dealing with the fallout of this pandemic. But it has not been enough. Today we’re calling on Congress to deliver a relief package that includes significant direct aid to state and local governments, robust education funding, and an extension of the unemployment benefits that have kept many Colorado families afloat over the past few months.”

“Playing power games with people’s lives is unacceptable,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. “The US House passed a bill to help working families, schools, and small businesses months ago, but this critical legislation has been completely stonewalled. Now, everyday that goes by more and more people and institutions are at risk of collapse. We need true, selfless leadership that puts the wellbeing of hardworking Americans above political agendas. That means immediately boosting federal pandemic response efforts and renewing key programs like unemployment assistance. Otherwise, the consequences borne by our most vulnerable will be excruciating and potentially unrecoverable.”  

Last week before the Senate recessed, Gov. Polis and State Treasurer Dave Young sent a letter to Colorado’s Congressional Delegation calling on them to support a number of key areas that are critical to Coloradans, to act on a bipartisan relief package that addresses these issues instead of President Trump taking executive measures that increases pressure on state and local governments. 

“Untold numbers of people are facing homelessness, food insecurity, and utility shut-offs because Congress refuses to act,” said Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder. “The funds already allocated have been incredibly helpful in lessening the blow for so many families, but the truth is, they are not nearly enough. Our schools are struggling, our businesses are underwater, and our residents are unable to make ends meet. State relief is the only way we will be able to survive this devastating downturn. It’s time to put politics aside and pass a comprehensive stimulus package that America needs to weather this storm.”

House and Senate Democrats have repeatedly called on Congress to provide additional aid to states and local governments, including in a July 31 letter to the Colorado congressional delegation in which the caucuses also urged Washington to extend unemployment assistance, support school districts, and provide housing, utility, nutrition, and small business assistance.