Why is only one-third of the relief money allocated to local governments tied to specific relief initiatives?
May 18, 2020 – The House has passed a $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill that would be the largest such package in U.S. history if it were to pass out of the Senate. The legislation put into place numerous items unrelated to the COVID-19 or aid for the independent businesses shut down by the Coronavirus pandemic – such as student loan forgiveness, a bailout for the US postal service and expansion of vote by mail programs. The bill also allocated a staggering $1 trillion for state and local governments without asking for any accounting of how states had spent (or if they had spent) the $150 billion in relief already dispatched via The CARES Act. According to a Tax Foundation analysis, of that $1 trillion, $667 billion is “guaranteed” funding that is not contingent on COVID-19 cases or unemployment statistics. Why is only one-third of the relief money allocated to local governments tied to specific relief initiatives?
Illinois Sixth District Congressman Sean Casten voted with Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats in favor of the bill, while 14 Democrats sided with Republicans against it.
“There are a few things here that are problematic about this policy,” said Jeanne Ives, a candidate for Congress (IL-06). “First, government does have a responsibility to provide assistance to the businesses they shut down in this crisis. And it has a responsibility to provide for public health and safety. But the government also has a responsibility to provide an accounting for how money is being spent. This kind of spending creates generational debt and obligations. We have no idea how the money Illinois received in the first round of funding was spent – or if it is even all spent yet. An accounting from state and local governments should be mandatory before authorizing more spending, and piling on massive debt to our suddenly fragile economy.
“Second, I have said from the beginning assistance needs to be temporary and targeted. A relief bill should serve the specific purpose of mitigating the damage from an unforeseeable disaster. Trying to slip wish list items like student loan forgiveness and bailouts is harmful to the nation’s ability to manage its debt and obligations, to the families, workers and businesses funding government, and to those waiting on necessary relief.
“If Sean Casten cared about the long-term viability of Illinois Sixth District, he would be pounding the table for an accounting of state spending from Governor Pritzker – and governors across the nation – and insisting on a clean relief package, instead of signing off on Nancy Pelosi’s wish list.”