Ivey: ‘We’re going to have to work hard to get’ $1.8 billion in CARES Act funding spent in a timely fashion
Still to go with one last calendar day for the Alabama legislature before the sine die adjournment are the FY 2021 education trust fund and general fund budgets, both of which are expected to be considered on Monday.
However, also looming is $1.8 billion funding allocated to Alabama by Congress through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for COVID-19 relief efforts, which has been a topic of contention between the legislature and the governor’s office over the past week and a half.
Friday on Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” Ivey explained her view on that money and explained her blueprint for getting it spent before the December 30 deadline.
“When Congress passed the CARES Act — let’s see the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, it specified what the monies could be used for, what it couldn’t be used for, and also specified the monies had to be spent between March and December 30, 2020,” Ivey explained. “Now that’s the first time we’ve ever had any quote, unquote ’emergency relief’ from Congress that had strings attached if you will and conditions under which you must spend the money.”
She continued, “That’s the reason for the executive amendment to the supplemental appropriation that the Senate started — they started that bill with Senate Bill 161 and developed a supplemental appropriation. I’m simply offering the executive amendment to spell out, make that SB161 specifically allocate — not only allocate but spend $1.8 [billion] for the purposes intended by Congress to help those who have had expenses caused by the coronavirus.”
Ivey also explained the urgency, noting that given the deadline and the current calendar present obstacles. If the deadline is not met, Ivey warns the money would have to be sent back to the federal government.
“My thinking is the people of Alabama deserve to have the $1.8 billion spent for the purposes intended by the Congress for the benefit of the people who have been impacted by the coronavirus,” she said. “This is not a time for anybody’s individual wish list. This is for the people of Alabama, and I was just trying to do my part to see that the people benefited from the funds. And $1.8 billion is a chunk of change. We’re going to have to work hard to get it spent in a timely fashion, or the remainder that gets unspent goes back to DC. That’s not something I want to do.”
“So my executive amendment spells out some 11 categories of funds that meet the requirements of the federal government, and I’m asking the legislature to adopt this executive amendment Monday when they come in for the final day of the session so we can begin to spend this money for the benefit of the people,” Ivey added.
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.