Henderson, Reno mayors sign letter urging Congress to pass Biden’s relief bill

Everyone knows it's windy
(Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
Everyone knows it's windy
(Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Two Nevada mayors signed on to a U.S. Conference of Mayors letter urging Congress to quickly pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief legislation, which would allocate $350 billion in emergency funding for state and local governments to keep public workers on the job.

Henderson Mayor Debra March and Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve were among the 284 mayors nationwide asking for immediate action on additional federal coronavirus relief legislation.  

While Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, another member of the group, hasn’t signed on to the letter, Jace Radke, a spokesman with the City of Las Vegas, said she “absolutely supports direct funding for municipalities to keep first responders on the job, continue city services and open schools during the pandemic.” 

In an email Wednesday, Radke said Goodman wasn’t able to sign on to the letter because of a tight deadline. 

Biden unveiled his economic proposal Thursday and the Conference of Mayors sent out the letter Tuesday. 

“Mayor Goodman has great respect for the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and always considers signing on to that organization’s letters,” Radke said. “In this case the letter from the USCM did not come to the team here until the weekend and the deadline was Jan. 18, the MLK holiday. Due to that tight turnaround the mayor was unable to sign on. Again, Mayor Goodman absolutely supports direct funding for municipalities to keep first responders on the job, to continue city services and open schools during the pandemic.

Patrick Walker, a spokesman with the City of North Las Vegas, said while Mayor John Lee was aware of the letter, he didn’t sign because he isn’t part of the Conference of Mayors.

Walker added that Lee and the council have supported federal relief adding that “any additional flexible federal support will allow us to continue to stand up assistance programs for our community while also maintaining all of the other services the City offers at the levels our residents and businesses expect.”

In the letter, the group wrote without federal support, local government budgets have been slashed, services have been reduced and jobs have been cut. 

“The $350 billion in direct relief to state and local governments included” in Biden’s legislative proposal “would allow cities to preserve critical public sector jobs and help drive our economic recovery,” the mayors said in the letter. “Providing direct, flexible aid to cities is the most efficient and immediate way to help families and their communities who have been suffering for far too long.”

Initial coronavirus relief legislation passed in March provided funding for state and local governments. 

The U.S. House passed subsequent relief legislation in 2020, but former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to bring the House measures up for a vote in the Senate.

Despite several Democratic lawmakers pushing for funding for local governments in the December relief bill, the final version didn’t include additional money.

Michael Lyle
Michael Lyle (MJ to some) has been a journalist in Las Vegas for eight years.  He started his career at View Neighborhood News, the community edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. During his seven years with the R-J, he won several first place awards from the Nevada Press Association and was named its 2011 Journalist of Merit. He left the paper in 2017 and spent a year as a freelance journalist accumulating bylines anywhere from The Washington Post to Desert Companion. While he covers a range of topics from homelessness to the criminal justice system, he gravitates toward stories about race relations and LGBTQ issues. Born and mostly raised in Las Vegas, Lyle graduated from UNLV with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies. He is currently working on his master's in Communications through an online program at Syracuse University. In his spare time, Lyle cooks through Ina Garten recipes in hopes of one day becoming the successor to the Barefoot Contessa throne. When he isn’t cooking (or eating), he also enjoys reading, running and re-watching episodes of “Parks and Recreation.” He is also in the process of learning kickboxing.