Three Republican Senators are seeking information from Governors about how federal pandemic response funds have been allocated in their state.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) Monday sent a letter to U.S. Governors requesting information on how their states have used the trillions of dollars in taxpayer funding from the CARES Act and other federal coronavirus response measures.
“Today @SenRonJohnson, @SenTedCruz and I send a letter to U.S. Governors requesting information on how states have allocated taxpayer funding from the CARES Act and other federal coronavirus funds,” said Sen. Rick Scott Monday.
Congress passed a series of bills in March, to alleviate some of the financial devastation caused by the CCP virus and the economic shut-down, including the CARES Act, which authorized $2.9 trillion to provide financial support to individuals, businesses, and other entities affected by the global pandemic.
Lawmakers want to know how state and local governments have spent the $150 billion which was given to them to directly respond to the crisis in their jurisdictions.
“Now, nine weeks later, nearly $1.3 trillion, or 50% of the CARES Act funds, have been distributed. This taxpayer money is designed to be spent on coronavirus response to support those in need,” the senators wrote. “Taxpayers deserve to know how this money is being spent, so we write to ask for an update on how your state has allocated funds from the CARES Act and other federal coronavirus response measures.”
The lawmakers are requesting information regarding the total federal funding received, spent, and remains in balance. They also want to know if states plan to use the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity Facility and if their state has requested FEMA Disaster Relief Fund assistance.
The senators are asking for the relevant information by Friday, June 26th.
“We look forward to working with you to protect taxpayer dollars and put our nation on a path to recovery – recovery from this virus, from the economic devastation it has brought with it, and from the fiscal calamity that decades of politicians have ignored,” they wrote.
According to the treasury department CARES Act funds allocated to states are to be used only for expenditures related to the pandemic and incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.
Apportionment is by population, except that $3 billion is reserved for U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, $8 billion is allocated for tribal governments, and each state is guaranteed at least $1.25 billion even if its population indicates a lesser amount.
According to the National Conference of State Legislature, “At least 44 states and territories have created or proposed ways to track, oversee, and distribute information relating to federal stimulus funds. Governors are creating new entities, state agencies are documenting projects, and legislatures are forming commissions or committees to monitor the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”
The CARES Act mandates that agencies submit their spending plans to Pandemic Response Accountability Committee (PRAC) by June 27th. They are to submit quarterly reports to the Office of Management and Budget, Treasury, the PRAC, and appropriate congressional committees that detail how funds are spent on each project or activity. This data is then to be made public after 30 days on the PRAC website.