Madison leaders push federal government for more COVID-19 aid.

The Mayor and other prominent Madison figures urged Congress to provide more aid as many CARES Act provisions approach their expiration dates. Photo: Richard Hurd, licensed under creative commons.

Author: Sam Buisman

Madison city leaders pressure the federal government for more coronavirus aid. 

In a Wednesday news conference, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and other prominent city officials and activists pleaded Congress to pass another package of COVID-19 aid as many of the temporary safety nets cast by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act near their expiration dates.

The speakers called for an extension of increased unemployment benefits, funds for local governments, and a national jobs program to tackle what the Mayor’s Office described as the “Depression-like impact of the pandemic.” 

While the CARES Act distributed $2 trillion in aid amongst states, local governments, businesses and American citizens, many state and local governments are now seeing budget shortfalls as the COVID-19 pandemic eats up their resources and decimates local economies, thus kneecapping their tax revenue. 

Additionally, the $600 per week bonus to unemployment benefits established in the law is set to expire on July 25 without a plan to replace or extend this program. 

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives passed a second aid bill, the $3 trillion HEROES Act, in mid-May, but the legislation is being held up by the Republican-controlled Senate. 

The fuse leading to this economic powder keg continues to burn up as COVID-19 cases soar across the country and in Wisconsin. According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there have been 38,727 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, 3,250 of which have been in Dane County.