In Midst of COVID-19 Crisis, Romney, Colleagues Call for Financial Security for Rural Communities

SALT LAKE CITY—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today joined his colleagues, led by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and James Risch (R-ID), in calling for the Senate to finally provide much-needed financial certainty during the COVID-19 crisis for rural communities to ensure long-term funding needed for essential services.

In a letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the senators pushed for “a long-term solution for the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) and Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) programs at the next possible opportunity.”

“The stop and start authorizations and payments under SRS and PILT have wreaked havoc on rural America for decades, and now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the budgets of these rural counties are decimated. These two programs fund roads, schools, law enforcement, and essential county services, such as public health programs,”
the senators wrote. “With inadequate funding and now additional demands on their resources, rural communities and counties are at the breaking point.”

In October, Senator Romney  co-sponsored two pieces of legislation that would provide long-term financial security for rural counties by reauthorizing the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (SRS) programs.

Also signing the letter were Senators Michael F. Bennet (D-CO), Steve Daines (R-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Martha McSally (R-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), John Boozman (R-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tina Smith (D-MN), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tim Scott (R-SC), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Patty Murray (D-WA).

The full text of the letter is available here.