Even though the COVID-19 outbreak has ended, six Republican Senators are urging the Biden administration to reverse a new regulation that extends the deadline for states and localities to decide how to spend billions in unallocated federal funds.
Senators Mike Braun of Indiana, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rick Scott of Florida, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Mike Lee of Utah wrote to the Treasury Department, threatening to use the Congressional Review Act to attempt to roll back the decision if the president does not halt the new policy.
The Senators said they found it puzzling that initiatives from the COVID-19 period would be extended, considering that the government public health emergency related to the pandemic was terminated on May 11, 2023.
President Biden’s 2021 $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” established the fund.
Reports show that before Thanksgiving, the Treasury Department relaxed how states and municipalities must legally commit $350 billion to Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds by next year.
The Economic Policy Innovation Center found that the US Treasury has enabled states and local governments to keep $100 billion in unspent pandemic relief monies.
According to the research group, Biden is establishing a slush fund for communities before the presidential election. Thus far, local and state governments have only allocated 56% of the $350 billion appropriation.
Republican members of Congress have been attempting to retrieve fraudulently used aid for the COVID-19 pandemic and have criticized the Biden administration for minimizing the gravity of the crime. The Office of Inspector General of the Small Business Administration estimates that the theft may total $200 billion, whereas Biden’s SBA minimizes the fraud to $34 billion.
According to a report, some persons convicted of stealing government pandemic assistance will spend no more than five years in jail, but most will not be imprisoned.
The US Government Accountability Office reveals the number of individuals found guilty of pandemic fraud is meager. The research states that the scope of the fraud might never be revealed.