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Reproduced from National League of Cities; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. cities of all sizes are facing significant fiscal pressure as they try to fight the coronavirus. Many local elected officials expect that they'll have to curtail services, raise fees or draw down reserves to absorb the blow.

Where it stands: Congress and the White House reached a deal overnight to inject $2 trillion into the economy, with $150 billion set to be allocated to state and local governments, including $8 billion for tribal governments.

  • Details of how that money will be allocated are still unclear, as the text of the bill is not yet available. A Senate vote is expected today.

The big picture: Most cities have taken aggressive steps to try to control the spread of the coronavirus, according to a survey of elected leaders of 326 cities conducted by the National League of Cities.

  • 89% have closed public places, and 84% have banned large gatherings.
  • 70% have halted utility shut-offs, and 49% are funding food delivery programs, like school meal replacement.

Yes, but: Essentially shutting down their economies while also expanding safety-net programs comes at a huge cost.

  • When asked how much their city, town or village would likely be requesting from FEMA's Public Safety Assistance Program, 12% of respondents anticipated seeking $1 million or more in reimbursements.
  • 50% of city leaders expect to have to draw down their reserves to pay for their coronavirus response.
  • When ranking relief measures that would help the most, city leaders prioritized targeted funding to assist local employers (60%), block grants directly allocated to local governments (50%), and targeted funding for housing, including emergency mortgage or rent payments (45%).

A separate Morning Consult poll of 2,200 adults commissioned by the National League of Cities found that Americans overwhelmingly (86%) support the federal government providing funds directly to cities to help support coronavirus challenges.

  • 80% support local governments spending money to control the spread of the virus, even if it means raising local taxes.
  • Overall, a majority of respondents support local governments' policies to help stem the pandemic, including supporting at-risk residents.

Between the lines: Typically, emergency relief legislation directs money to state governments to then dole out to local jurisdictions. But counties and cities say there's simply not enough time to go through that extra procedural step — they need aid immediately.

  • Local officials worry that the legislation limits direct aid to jurisdictions with populations that exceed 500,000, leaving out smaller localities.

County governments, which run 1,900 public health departments, expect the crisis to cost billions.

  • Los Angeles County, the most populous in the country, is estimating $290 million in costs over six months, and 50 of the 88 cities in the county will face additional expenses of $145 million.
  • That doesn't factor in lost tax revenue due to businesses shutting down for weeks if not months.

What they're saying: "If there ever was a scenario where state and local governments needed a strong stimulus injection, it is now," Tom Kozlik, Hilltop Securities' head of municipal strategy and credit, in a client note.

  • He said this crisis is more dire than the Great Recession of the 2000s.
  • "What is facing them now is happening quicker, there is a national health care crisis to battle, and the economic and financial fallout is likely to be unprecedented."

Go deeper: The fight for New York

Go deeper

45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan group of senators seeks coronavirus stimulus deal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

At least eight Republican and Democratic senators have formed an informal working group aimed at securing new coronavirus spending during the lame-duck session, a move favored by President-elect Biden, two sources familiar with the group tell Axios.

Why it matters: It may be the most significant bipartisan step toward COVID relief in months.

FCC chairman to depart in January

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ajit Pai will leave his post as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Jan. 20, the agency said today.

Why it matters: Pai's Inauguration Day departure is in keeping with agency tradition, and could set up the Biden administration with a 2-1 Democratic majority at the FCC if the Senate fails to confirm another Trump nominee during the lame-duck period.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

GM's shrinking deal with Nikola

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

General Motors will no longer take an equity stake in Nikola Corp. or build its pickup truck, under a revised deal that still envisions GM as a key tech supplier for Nikola's planned line of electric and fuel cell heavy trucks.

Driving the news: The revised agreement Monday is smaller in scope than a draft partnership rolled out in September that had included a $2 billion stake in the startup and an agreement to build its Badger pickup.