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Attorney General Nessel Supports Equal COVID-19 Relief Funding for the District of Columbia

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel joined 36 attorneys general in sending a letter to President Trump and House and Senate leaders Thursday expressing concern over the proposed funding allocation for the District of Columbia in the Coronavirus Relief Fund passed by the Senate on March 26.

The current relief package allocates at least $1.25 billion in direct payments to every state but allocates only $500 million to the District by grouping it with territories. The attorneys general urge the federal government to ensure that the District government, along with all 50 states, receives the minimum allocation of $1.25 billion.

“The capital of our country has more positive cases of coronavirus disease 2019 than many other states and territories, but will receive less money than those jurisdictions to help with its response,” said Nessel. “This virus does not discriminate based on geography, and neither should our federal government.”

The District has nearly 200 confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, which outpaces nearly two dozen states and territories. In addition, two states with smaller populations than the District will receive more than twice as much funding in the current relief package. In the letter, the attorneys general insist that the District must be treated like other states and that shortchanging D.C. by at least $750 million will likely exacerbate the COVID-19 crisis and harm the D.C. attorney general’s ability to enforce critical emergency response measures, such as limitations on business operations, price-gouging prohibitions and other protections for District residents.

The letter reads, in part, “The District’s contributions to the federal government are unique and substantial. The District is the seat of the federal government and is thus obligated to protect the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of federal workers. Moreover, District residents pay the full panoply of federal taxes. Indeed, District residents contribute more to the federal government on a per capita basis than residents of any other state or territory. ... It is critical that the District receive the funding it needs to ensure adequate services to residents and businesses.”

Nessel signed the letter, along with attorneys general in the District of Columbia, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

A copy of the letter is available here.