Five Western states, led by California, called upon the federal government for about $1 trillion in aid, said Governor Gavin Newsom.

Western States Pact is composed of California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Nevada, said a report from The Mercury News.

Governors and legislative leaders from mentioned states wrote to Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asking for the package in response to mounting budget shortfalls.

“It’s not just states asking for a bailout, quite the contrary,” Newsom said.

He noted that the money would cover critical public safety and health work across state and local governments.

The letter calls on the federal government to support basic operations and prevent layoffs in public sectors like health, safety and education, with jobs ranging from teachers to firefighters.

More money could also help spur more people back to work, the letter added.

“It is now clear that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future, and the worst of its economic impact is yet to come,” the letter explained.

“…Without additional assistance, the very programs that will help people get back to work – like job training and help for small business owners – will be forced up on the chopping block,” it added.

Newsom added, in January the state of California was preparing for a $6 billion budget surplus, but three months into the coronavirus pandemic it’s a starkly different situation.  

“States like California that were running surpluses are now running historic deficits. These are challenging times,” he said.

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