House COVID Package Includes DC Catch-Up Funds February 11, 2021

Written by MSDC Staff

In a draft bill released Tuesday, the District would receive the much-desired "catch-up funds" MSDC and other local organizations have asked Congress to provide. 

Last year's CARES Act included the District as a "territory" in its funding formula. That meant the District received $500m in federal funds, versus $1.25b it would have received if it were considered a state for funding purposes. Routinely the District is funded as a state in federal funding bills due to its state, local, and federal responsibilities. However, partisan politics led to the District being short-changed in needed funding. District officials pointed to the shortfall as a reason they could not fund more COVID relief measures, including for independent medical practices.

After the CARES Act passed, MSDC urged the American Medical Association (AMA) to include in its COVID advocacy an ask for DC catch-up funding. The AMA has since in conversations with leadership mentioned the importance of this funding.

Tuesday's draft bill (expected to be marked-up Friday) includes $2.2b in federal aid for the District. That number includes $1.49b to the District for state/local aid and $755m catch-up funding. In a letter to Congress, Mayor Muriel Bowser spelled out the need for the funds: 

Local solutions to shore up the District’s finances, without drastic cuts to critical staff and services, are nearing exhaustion. As the trajectory of the coronavirus pandemic remains unclear, the District cannot sustain its current response without significant federal support.