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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Local Leaders Say Message from Federal Government Feels Like 'Let Them Eat Cake'

A photo of the capitol building
Congress has approved three aid packages. State and local governments are hoping for assistance but the Senate majority leader this week said he is not in faovr of that.

The latest round of federal assistance in the fight against COVID-19 includes more money for small businesses and aid for hospitals.

State and local governments say they need help too. While Ohio’s two senators have indicated support, it could be an uphill battle.

“Apologize for the cliche, but it's reminiscent of 'let them eat cake.'” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) uses the infamous phrase in referring to comments Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell made in a radio interview. McConnell said he’d rather states go bankrupt than for the federal government to borrow money from future generations to help them out.

Brown says the tax cuts implemented in 2018 actually did that. "Adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit. So leader McConnell has no credibility in speaking about fiscal discipline,” Brown said.    

Whether at the state or local level, Akron’s deputy mayor James Hardy says cities have gotten very little federal help dealing with the pandemic.

“This is essentially going to be something that the states and local governments are going to have to shoulder," Hardy said.   

Hardy says bankruptcy is not a real option for any city.