Debate over unspent funds on additional pandemic relief
Michigan, in line for $10.9 billion in total aid, is among 30 states to which the Treasury is sending money in two batches. But some fear that even the half that has already arrived will be sleeping.
“The COVID relief, at least in my state, that we passed on in March is sitting in Michigan’s state bank account,” Slotkin said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Jan. 23. Senates, like the move, get out of your duff. You know get that money out so we can pay more for [substitute teachers] in our schools, so that we can have more people, nurses and doctors.
Despite those concerns, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is drafting legislation for a new round of aid to pandemic-hit industries, including restaurants and possibly hotels, gyms, theaters and more. This bill, which has yet to be released, appears to target industries whose previous funding has run out, such as restaurants, or those who never received aid in the first place, including hotels. and gymnasiums.
But lawmakers said they still had questions about the money spent on theaters and other performance venues. Congress last year provided $16 billion for a closed-site operator grant program, most of which has since been gobbled up.
House Small Business Committee Chair Nydia M. Velazquez, DN.Y., and Rep. Judy Chu, D-California, questioned why $2 billion of the fund remained uncommitted in a Jan. 24 letter to Isabel Guzman, who heads the Small Business Administration, which runs the program. The lawmakers said the money “must be used to support these businesses as soon as possible.”