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Western State Pact requesting federal aid 'in the trillion-dollar range'

Western state lawmakers signed a joint letter requesting money for “direct and flexible relief to state and local governments."

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California lawmakers and lawmakers from the states in the Western State Pact are jointly requesting $1 trillion in aid from the federal government, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced at his daily coronavirus press briefing on Monday, May 11.

The Western State Pact includes California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Colorado. Each of the state's governors, along with other state leaders, signed the joint letter requesting money “in the trillion-dollar range” for “direct and flexible relief to state and local governments.”

"Without federal support, states will be forced to make impossible decisions," Newsom said.

The governor outlined specific state needs for federal funding like schools, public health departments, and local public safety services. For California, the request for federal aid comes as the state stares down the barrel of a near-historic budget deficit estimated at more than $50 billion. The state had estimated a surplus of $6 billion just before the pandemic.

Nearly 4.5 million Californians have already filed for unemployment benefits and the state has paid out more than $13 billion in unemployment aid. And more is expected, as Newsom warned the next unemployment report could show the state’s unemployment rate as high as 25%.

Newsom also teased new guidelines in the upcoming days that expand which businesses will be allowed to resume operations as the state moves deeper into “Phase 2” of its reopening plan. Formalized guidelines are expected to be announced at the governor’s press briefing on Tuesday. 

You can watch Newsom's daily press briefings at noon on ABC10, ABC10.com, and the ABC10 mobile app.

Read more about coronavirus from ABC10

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