States Have Spent Little of $150 Billion COVID Relief Fund

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State and local governments have spent less than a quarter of the relief funds earmarked to help them fight the coronavirus, a recently released report from the Treasury Department indicates.

Funds from the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund, created by Congress as part of the two-trillion-dollar CARES Act and meant to help defray public health costs, appear largely unused according to the Treasury Department’s inspector general. Some states have used less than 5 percent of the funds earmarked for them, including states like New Jersey and Connecticut, which bore the brunt of early coronavirus cases.

The surprising revelation complicates states’ claims that they need a hundred-billion-dollar federal bailout to ensure their solvency in the coming months. The question of what money, if any, states should receive in the next round of coronavirus stimulus is likely to be a subject of hot debate in coming weeks, and the inspector general’s report challenges Democrats’ contention that more money is needed, particularly compared with Republicans’ proposal to free up preexisting and evidently unused funds. – READ MORE

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