Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday that he was “ecstatic” about the passage of a massive coronavirus relief bill that’s expected to send $1.35 billion directly to his city, according to a report.
Garcetti touted the bill as one of the most progressive pieces of federal legislation since the Great Depression, which he predicts will help cover coronavirus expenses, pay off debts, pay money for rent relief, and rebuild government operations impacted during the pandemic, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“The American Rescue Plan is a watershed moment in the life of our nation and our response to COVID-19 — with historic investments in vaccine distribution, relief for working families, jobs for frontline workers, and support for children, students, parents, small businesses, and tenants,” Garcetti said in a release from his office.
“For Los Angeles, that translates into preserving vital services threatened by our pandemic-driven budget crisis; protecting jobs jeopardized by this public health emergency; and placing us on stronger financial footing to ensure equity in our vaccination efforts and lift up our most vulnerable neighbors,” he continued.
Earlier this month, Controller Ron Galperin said Los Angeles was facing a $550 million revenue shortfall. Galperin recommended the city use the new funding to address the budget deficit. He expects taxes and other revenue to come up short for at least a few more months, the paper reported.
“This bill is monumentally important for L.A,” Galperin wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “While this will allow the City to transform a very dire financial situation into a much better one, maintain services, build equity and jumpstart the economy, it’s incredibly important to be financially prudent with the $$$ we receive.”
Los Angeles has already received more than $900 million in federal funds under the CARES Act. The City Council voted in September to commit $200 million in federal relief funds for homelessness initiatives.
Nonprofit groups in Los Angeles said they want $500 million in federal funds to go toward child care, elder care, and “housing security” initiatives, according to the L.A. Times. The groups said other portions of the money should go toward two years of guaranteed basic income for families in need.
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian argued that “no one should see this as ‘found money’ to be spent on new programs.”
“Our first priority must be to recover from the revenue losses that we have already suffered and will likely continue to suffer,” he said in a statement.
Biden is expected to sign the bill into law at the White House on Friday.
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