May 12, 2020-U. S. Congressman Pete Aguilar

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Member/Alternates Only Meeting

Virtual meeting via ZOOM


Present: Patti Arlt, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Mike Burrows, Ken Coate, Jennifer Cusack, Kevin Dyerly, Louis Goodwin, Otis Greer, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Lowell King, Doug Kleam, Bill Lemann, Dan Little, John Magness, P.T. McEwen, John Mirau, Dan Murphy, Vikki Ostermann, Bansree Parikh, Steve PonTell, Catherine Pritchett, Brian Reider, Thomas Rice, Dan Roberts, Dan Schenkel, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, Sol Teh, Pete Van Helden, David Van Voorhis, Kim Wilcox and Ray Wolfe.

Guest: Kathy Hoffer

Announcements: 1) An Executive Committee meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 8 am via ZOOM. 2) The meeting with Assemblyman Ramos has been rescheduled for Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. per his request. 3) Members that would like notice of ZOOM Meetings via Outlook reminder should notify Carole.

M/S/P: Minutes from May 5, 2020.

Louis Goodwin, Chair presiding.

Congressman Pete Aguilar discussed the COVID-19 stimulus packages and how Congress may assist the country as it moves into reopening and recovery from both the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19.

The 4 prior bills including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) all contain like-themes addressing the health of our population and front-line workers relative to COVID-19. Prior bills had focused on business, employees, and testing dollars. Numerous economists have been consulted regarding further stimulus packages and opinions varied. Legislators are trying to find the balance from “wait and see” how prior stimulus is working vs it will be “too late if you wait”. All experts agreed that the cost of inaction will be significant and have negative long-lasting effects. The new bill, unveiled today, carries forward the same spirit as the CARES Act but focuses its biggest funding portion on support for State and Local governments. The legislature is aware that municipalities rely heavily on property and sales tax that have been hard hit by the pandemic. The lack of economic activity now and in future quarters will need shoring up so funding from this bill will be distributed over two years. The funding is meant to protect service levels as the pandemic should not force municipalities to have to choose between keeping open a library vs a fire station.

The bill contains $875B that would be divided among state and local governments. Counties would receive funding of $250B on a per capita calculation in the first year. City funding of $250B would be allocated using an established Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula with which local governments are comfortable. These resources could be used for both COVID-19 related expenses and COVID revenue shortfalls. We have not yet hit bottom and understand that employment is needed, as is certainty of business. States that re-opened expected a much bigger increase in economic activity but now realize that until the community feels comfortable/safe it will be a key barrier to recovery. As recovery will take time, this bill allocates another $125B to both cities and counties in the following year.

There is funding for increased COVID testing overall and added support for communities that have a high percentage of Medicare patients, as does the Inland Empire.

We must increase broad band support making sure every household has access to the internet. Schools are dependent on hybrid education, so it is critical for everyone to have this technology.

Given the difficulty in meeting in person during this time, some rules for the House of Representative are under review. There must be some changes to allow remote access and the use of technology. These rules are historic and of high importance, so great consideration and thought will be taken with this review.

The Congressman expressed concerned that both Inland Empire counties have rescinded their health order even though neither county has yet to meet the health order benchmarks, which include a continuous 14-day decline. The virus cannot be considered “flat” until we meet all the benchmarks. Face masks should continue to be utilized as they have proven to be effective, inexpensive, and non-invasive.

Discussions ensued regarding PPP loans, accountability and oversight of funding, large public infrastructure projects and long-term economic impacts.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting adjourned at 8:59 a.m.