Smucker, PA GOP Congressmen Request CARES Act Flexibility from Treasury
Washington – Congressman Lloyd Smucker (PA-11) and members of the Pennsylvania Republican Congressional Delegation sent a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday asking the Treasury Department to ensure equitable disbursement of federal funds to local governments while granting states the flexibility they need to provide critical services.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) provided $150 billion in direct funding to municipalities with populations greater than 500,000 to support unexpected expenditures related to COVID-19. Pennsylvania’s allocation was nearly $5 billion and seven counties were able to apply for approximately $1 billion of Pennsylvania’s share, including Lancaster County which received $95 million. Unfortunately, the legislation did not guarantee that smaller localities, including York County, would see funding.
The letter specifically urges the Treasury Secretary to issue additional guidance on the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund to allow states and local governments the flexibility to offset lost revenue at the state and local level. This would be done by applying for a waiver that the Treasury Department would grant if states first develop and execute an approved distribution formula providing an equitable share of the funds to counties and municipalities with fewer than 500,000 residents.
“Congress has provided significant funding to states and municipalities and we need to ensure that all of the funds provided by Congress are used in the most effective and efficient way possible. We cannot repeat the same mistakes made in 2009 when new programs were initiated by the state in order to spend federal dollars but resulted in taxpayer dollars being squandered. Our proposal would ensure that every municipality would have access to critical federal support to respond to COVID-19 and to use that support in ways that best fit the communities’ needs.” said Smucker. “States must consider the needs of each municipality and drive funds to assist in response efforts at the local level.”
The letter was co-signed by seven members of Pennsylvania’s Republican Congressional Delegation, including Congressmen Fred Keller, Mike Kelly, John Joyce, Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler and Glenn “GT” Thompson.