Western States Pact Requests $1 Trillion Relief From Federal Government

AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli Pool

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the Western States Pact is requesting financial help from the federal government. California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado leaders have all signed a joint letter requesting $1 trillion in aid to recover from the economic consequences of the coronavirus.

After having years of surplus, Newsom said that California is facing a multi-billion dollar budget deficit, making the aid a, “Requirement of this moment.”

Due to the 4.5 million people who have filed for unemployment benefits since March 12th, the state has distributed 13.1 billion in unemployment claims, including 3 billion last week alone.

The joint request will help get the states get back to where they were at the start of this year and is, “About sharing best practices, it’s about a more collaborative spirit, it’s about recognizing there’s regional variations within our own states,” said Newsom.

Newsom thanked Colorado and Oregon for the incredible council and support he has already received and looks forward to more discussions.

If the states do not receive funds they will be forced to cut budgets that directly impact public health, public schools, and jobs such as firefighters and police officers.

Newsom said the states are, “Requesting that we support those that we need the most at this time. Our public safety officials, our public health officials and make sure that we do justice to our public education system.”

He said he is proud and honored for leaders who signed the request and continued to express the importance of PPE. On Friday, the state released 11 million procedure masks to critical industries. 5 million went to social services, 4.2 million went to farm workers and agriculture community, 750,000 went to groceries and food supply chains, 500,000 went to the department of education, and tens of thousands went to transit agencies.

Newsom said he has spoken with 19 different counties about moving further into phase two and has 9 more conversations lined up for today. In order to move forward, the counties need to show the state how they would handle a coronavirus outbreak and if the state approves their plan, the county can move forward.

Newsom said he will make more announcements tomorrow for malls, dining and office spaces but reminded everyone, “This is a heath driven conversation, it’s not because we don’t want to, it’s not because we would not like to, it’s not because we want to be particularly oppressive in terms of peoples desires and needs it’s because public health dictates that we do this in a judicious and thoughtful way, we’re not going to deviate from that path.”

He continued to explain that data led us into shelter-in-place and data will lead us out. In the last 24 hours, there have been 25 deaths, 1,250 more positive cases, a 0.9% increase in hospitalizations and a 0.4% decrease in ICU numbers due to COVID-19. The state has tested 991,897 people so far and will most likely hit the one million mark tomorrow. Of the tests so far, 67,939 people have tested positive.

As over 70% of the economy is open with some modifications Newsom said, we are, “Entering in a phase of this recovery where we are gonna have plenty to talk about, plenty to debate, plenty to dialogue about…there is one constant…guided by the data, guided by these foundational indicators.” He will continue to do as the data suggests.


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