Congressional press conference
Democratic Congressmen (clockwise from top left) Raoul Ruiz, Mike Levin, Scott Peters and Ted Lieu. Image from livestream

California Democrats said Tuesday the Congressional stimulus package will “avoid poverty for millions of people,” but acknowledged it didn’t do enough — especially for state and local governments.

“First of all I’m very very happy that we got an agreement,” said Rep. Scott Peters, though he acknowledged “it’s not enough” as the pandemic continues.

Peters, who represents the 52nd District in central San Diego County, joined Rep. Mike Levin from the 49th District, Rep. Raoul Ruiz from Coachella Valley and Rep. Ted Lieu from coastal Los Angeles County in a livestreamed press conference following passage of the COVID-19 stimulus on Monday night.

However, President Trump soon threatened not to sign the $892-billion bill that includes desperately needed money for individual Americans, saying it should be amended to increase the current $600 stimulus checks.

Trump also complained about some of the money earmarked for special interests ranging from struggling restaurants to the Smithsonian Institution.

Peters said the bill provides immediate help, but more will be needed in the new year, especially for local and state governments.

“Firefighters, police and teachers are all going to face tough times and potentially layoffs.” he warned.

Levin, who represents the 49th District in north coastal San Diego and south Orange counties, said “the American people deserved this relief a long time ago” but Republicans in Congress dragged their feet.

He said the bill was a compromise, but will “avoid poverty for millions of people on the brink.”

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria issued a statement saying Congress needs to do more for state and local governments in the wake of the pandemic.

“I’m encouraged that Congress took a step to provide much-needed relief for families, renters, healthcare providers and small businesses, but I remain deeply troubled by the lack of fiscal support for local and state governments,” Gloria said. “We need Congress and the incoming administration to take immediate action so we can continue to keep neighborhoods safe and clean, pave streets, and provide the critical services San Diegans rely on.”

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.