Mayor Bowser outraged at government response to DC’s coronavirus crisis
WASHINGTON - D.C. officials expressed outrage on Thursday in the wake of learning how much money the District would receive to fight the coronavirus threat in comparison to states.
D.C. now has 231 cases – an overnight jump of 43. Three people in the District have died as a result of COVID-19.
The government is committing about $1.25 billion to each state, while the District will only receive $500 million.
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Mayor Muriel Bowser put the issue of D.C. statehood front and center during a Thursday news conference, saying the nation’s capital is being “treated like a territory.”
“I have to say, the very idea of being treated like a territory is shocking, infuriating, wrong, and outrageous,” the mayor said.
DC Council President Phil Mendelsohn refrained from foregrounding the issue of statehood, but highlighted the public health issue, noting that the District is expected to work “in lockstep with Maryland and Virginia” to combat COVID-19.
Mendelsohn compared the District’s situation to New York City – largely considered the new epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in the United States – saying, “We don’t want to be like New York.”
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‘Our district relies on tourism and hospitality and disproportionately affects us, which is why this economic relief needs to be equal. It makes no sense why states like Wyoming get more than us when it's clear the pandemic is more of an impact here than elsewhere in the U.S.,” Mendelsohn said.
The mayor noted that D.C. is typically treated like a state in most circumstances
“We'll get to the bottom of why we are treated like a territory, but right now all we have to do is focus on how this $700 million dollar gap is made up,” Bowser said.