Chicago (AP) —When Democrats passed President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, Republicans called it a liberal “pet project” disguised as a pandemic aid. But because Republican governors and local leaders have money on hand, they also use it for what’s on their wish list. Alabama Legislature is planning to use the state’s
Chicago (AP) —When Democrats passed President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, Republicans called it a liberal “pet project” disguised as a pandemic aid.
But because Republican governors and local leaders have money on hand, they also use it for what’s on their wish list.
Alabama Legislature is planning to use the state’s $ 400 million stake to build a prison, which Governor Kay Ivy says is of great benefit to taxpayers. In Texas, a Republican-led county will send an agent to assist police along the U.S.-Mexico border to help Governor Greg Abbott revive former President Donald Trump’s border wall program. I promised.
Elsewhere, the money has been used to earn political points or to leverage the party’s battle for COVID-19 precautions.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp has blamed the liberal agenda for “defending police and mitigate crime” and announced a $ 1,000 bonus to first responders paid for relief. In Wyoming, Republican legislative leaders have suggested that the money could be used to pay federal fines for companies that violate Biden’s vaccine obligations.
This is probably not what the bill’s supporters had in mind when the Democrats approved the U.S. rescue program along the party line in March, and some Democrats are a Republican misusing money. I am complaining. But that’s the inevitable result of sending money with some strings to places where Washington has very different partisan ideas about how best to spend public money.
Democrats are also using cash to fund their priorities, including expanding Medicaid benefits, implementing child tax credits, and providing $ 4 billion in debt relief to colored farmers. In Illinois, Republicans have blown up Democrats who control the state government, giving out more than $ 1 billion to Democrat-owned district capital projects and groups. This included $ 250,000 for Black Lives Matter to teach young people and $ 300,000 for drill teams and drum and bugles on the outskirts of Chicago.
The Federal Aid Package provided $ 350 billion to states, counties, towns, and tribes. Billed as money to fight the coronavirus, it provides financial relief to small businesses and homes, replaces the income lost by the government during the pandemic, and improves local water and sewerage and broadband infrastructure. bottom. We were also able to pay premiums to essential workers such as police officers who faced the greatest health risks.
There were some clear restrictions, such as banning the use of funds for pensions and tax cuts, which brought the Republican Attorney General to sue. But that money was more flexible than most federal funds and had a longer deadline to spend. Authorities say it will allow the government to deal with the current crisis and make more innovative and long-term investments.
The Treasury says it has received about 1,000 public comments on the proposed rules outlining how money is spent, including a request for clarification of eligible usage. Officials said the ministry is monitoring spending and demanding that the government repay improperly used federal dollars.
But what is considered to be the fight against COVID-19 and the promotion of economic recovery is often left to those who spend money.
In Galveston County, Texas, Republican County Commissioner has funded $ 6.6 million out of a total of $ 27 million for security at a location approximately 350 miles (560 km) from the US-Mexico border. Approved plans to spend on. They say money protects the population from COVID-19 and other dangers posed by those who enter the United States illegally. They approved the disaster declaration that “special measures must be taken” given the increasing number of border crossings.
“We are experiencing a deliberate public health and humanitarian crisis at the southern border, which the Biden administration has refused to address,” said Judge Mark Henry County.
So far, the county has spent $ 165,000 sending three deputy police officers and five deputy sheriffs to the border. In Del Rio, thousands of Haitians have recently gathered in a makeshift camp after crossing the Rio Grande. Galveston County will apply for repayment from the state after Texas lawmakers have resolved to approve the repayment to the county that supports the border, spokesman Zack Davidson said.
In some places, legislators say the dollar in the American rescue program, which aims to make up for lost income, is a fair game to use as they deem appropriate. This is a debate between Ivy and other Republicans when a plan to use $ 400 million of Alabama’s $ 2.2 billion stake in prison construction was underway at the State Capitol. Ivy counterattacks in her own letter after House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat in New York, wrote on Tuesday to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to thwart a $ 1.3 billion construction project as a misuse of money. bottom.
“In fact, the US Rescue Planning Act allows these funds to be used to lose income, and sending a letter in the last hour doesn’t change the way the law is written,” Ivey said. “We needed to build these prisons and created a financially conservative plan to spend the least amount of money on the Alabama people to reach the necessary solutions.”
Asked Wednesday about Alabama’s plans, White House spokesman Jen Psaki said, “I would be surprised if that was the intention of funding.”
Democrats of the Texas parliamentary delegation want Yellen to prevent Yellen from using coronavirus bailouts on the border wall. They sent a letter after Abbott announced a new, stricter plan to fight illegal immigrants.
“Expensive monsters should not be paid directly or indirectly with coronavirus bailouts,” Democrats wrote.
Texas legislators are expected to discuss how to use some of the state’s funds during an ongoing special session.
In northwestern Iowa, the Republican-led Woodbury County Supervisory Board has resolved to use approximately $ 15 million in relief funds to cover higher-than-expected costs for Sioux City’s new prison. Some residents said they could make better use of their money, but board members were advised that larger facilities would reduce congestion for prisoners and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Claimed to be used.
In Wyoming, Republican Senate leader Ogden Driskill pays conservative online publications a more creative approach to spending money on fines imposed on companies that ignore it. Proposed to oppose Biden’s vaccination obligations.
“It’s clearly COVID related,” Driskill said.
Associated Press writers Kim Chandler of Montgomery, Alabama, Mead Gruber of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and Paul Weber of Austin, Texas contributed to this report.
Prisons, Border Walls: How Republicans Are Trying to Use COVID Money | WGN Radio 720
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