Senate Republicans are trying to thread the needle; they want to send money to states and cities to prevent mass job losses, but avoid splashing out cash to bad governments that spent profligately in the past.
It’s a daunting challenge. Because of the coronavirus, state and local governments face shortfalls of $500 billion or more. Without federal aid, they could throw hundreds of thousands, even millions, of teachers, police, and others out of work, guaranteeing years of high unemployment.
“All of the sudden you’ve turned this into another Great Depression,” said Bill Glasgall, director of state and local initiatives at the Volcker Alliance, a nonpartisan organization that has studied state and city finances.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled legislation Tuesday that would send lower-level governments $1 trillion to weather the pandemic.