With President Joe Biden pushing the Democrat-led $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer has emerged as a highly-visible pitchman for it, underscoring a much-needed component of the Democrat argument for approving the relief package: bipartisanship.
Congressional Republicans have largely opposed the relief package, arguing that it is simply too large and too soon after the $900 billion stimulus package was passed in December.
However, it looks like Dyer represents Republicans at the local level who need the money to keep their cities afloat.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Dyer said the City of Fresno might have to lay off 250 people, including police officers and firefighters, because of a $31 million budget shortfall.
“That is going to be devastating,” Dyer told The Post.
Dyer is rooting for Biden to push the bill through in order to help Fresno get to the end of a very challenging year.
“It’s not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue,” Dyer said. “It’s a public health issue. It’s an economic issue. And it’s a public safety issue.”
Dyer represents the prime target for Biden: A Republican mayor or governor who will step across the aisle and support the Democrat’s relief plan.
Last Friday, Biden hosted a bipartisan group of mayors and governors to the White House to discuss the bill.
“You folks are all on the front lines and dealing with the crisis since day one,” Biden said.
According to the Washington Post, Biden brought the bipartisan group to Washington to ask “what do they think they need most.”
Dyer sees this bill as an answer, and he is willing to cross party lines and represent the Republicans outside of Congress that Biden is seeking for bipartisan support.