Seattle (March 25, 2020) – Mayor Jenny A.
Durkan today issued the following statement on the United States Senate’s $2
trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Mayor
had previously urged
Congressional leaders to pass a comprehensive and unprecedented relief plan
that centered workers, small businesses, and other vulnerable communities.
“While we still don’t know how large the scale of this
crisis could grow, we know that we need Congress to act on immediate relief for
our workers and small businesses. We are at the greatest inflection point since
World War II. Failure to act boldly for our workers will devastate our city,
region, and county.
“Over the last three weeks, the City, County and State
have worked to urgently deploy every measure at our disposal to help first
responders and medical workers get the supplies they need, and to lessen the
burden felt by communities and small businesses. But we’ve known local action
is not enough. The CARES Act will provide much-needed relief to the American
people now. I appreciate the Senate’s vote today, which addresses the urgency
of the moment for the individuals who are struggling in Seattle and our region.
“The Senate’s legislation rightly
includes an expansion of unemployment insurance to cover gig workers and other
vulnerable workers. I am grateful to see other needed investments in affordable
housing, services for people experiencing homelessness, small business owners,
and workers. It also includes additional investments in the equipment and
resources needed by those on the frontline of this epidemic: our health care
workers and first responders. I am grateful to Senator Patty Murray, Senator
Maria Cantwell, and our Congressional delegation for ensuring our city and
state’s priorities were at the forefront of this bill.
“In Seattle, we’re doing everything we can to support our
communities most impacted by this pandemic. We created a stabilization fund to
provide grants to small business owners, put a moratorium on evictions, and
created an Arts Recovery Package to support our creative workers. While I am
glad to see the federal government follow our lead and act urgently to center
the needs of working people, I also understand that we all may need to take
additional steps in the days, weeks, and months to come in this unprecedented
moment. We must come out of this pandemic stronger than ever, and I will
continue to work with our state and federal government to ensure our workers
and jobs are at the forefront of long-term relief efforts.”
On Friday, Mayor Durkan sent Congressional leadership a
letter outlining her priorities for a federal stimulus plan, including:
- Significant increase in support for our health care system to relieve pressure on our hospitals and ensure first responders had access to critical lifesaving equipment;
- Increase funding for rental assistance, affordable housing, and Emergency Shelter Grants;
- Increase funding for and flexibility of Community Development Block Grants program, which the City of Seattle uses to support our Small Business Stabilization Fund; and
- Calling on the federal government to distribute hundreds of billions of dollars in direct financial assistance to city and state governments.
Mayor Durkan and the City of Seattle have worked to
implement a series of actions that support artists, nonprofits, small
businesses, and workers, including:
- Deferring utility payments for customers impacted by COVID-19;
- Implementing a temporary moratorium on residential, small business, and nonprofit evictions to provide relief for working people financially impacted by COVID-19;
- Announcing a small business relief package that included deferred business taxes and a stabilization fund;
- Creating a new Arts Recovery Package to provide immediate financial relief to artists and cultural organizations that have been impacted by COVID-19;
- Providing 6,250 Seattle families with $800 in grocery vouchers; and
- Providing rent relief to tenants of City-owned facilities.
The City has also created a comprehensive
resource page for residents and small businesses impacted by
COVID-19. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.