WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. today spoke on the floor of the United States Senate to urge his colleagues to support his SMART Act, a bipartisan bill that will deliver much-needed resources to states and local governments suffering from severe budget deficits due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Cassidy was joined in the colloquy by Democratic lead sponsor Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and cosponsors Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Cory Booker (D-NJ). Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). U.S. Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) are leading a companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The coalition of senators and representatives supporting the bill represents that lawmakers from across the political spectrum recognize that state and local communities will need targeted relief to avoid mass layoffs of police officers, firefighters, teachers, sanitation workers and others who are critical to keeping our economy running.
“We’ve worked through a lot of issues to find a bill that meets a valid public purpose that can pass on a bipartisan basis in both chambers. This is about helping cities and states maintain preserve essential services, such as police, fire and education, for the reopening of our economy,” Dr. Cassidy said.
In his speech, Cassidy highlighted a Moody’s report that found Louisiana is expected to lose more than 45% of its tax revenue and has suffered due to losses in the three most-hard hit areas: sales taxes, tourism dollars, and energy production.
Under the SMART Act, targeted relief will be sent to both local communities, parishes (also known as counties), and states to address their massive revenue shortfalls. It specifically prohibits funds from being used on state pensions and unfunded liabilities.
For background on the SMART Act, click here.