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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (8th District of Illinois)

WASHINGTON, DC Today, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi reiterated the need for an extension of the deadline for state and local governments to spend Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) payments provided by the CARES Act and additional flexibility on how the payments may be spent. On Tuesday, Congressman Krishnamoorthi led a letter with members of the Illinois delegation – Bobby L. Rush (IL-1), Danny K. Davis (IL-7), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Robin L. Kelly (IL-2), and Bill Foster (IL-11) – to Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell, and Leader Schumer requesting that they provide state and local governments additional time and flexibility to spend their remaining CRF funds.

As a result of the pandemic, states have faced high rates of unemployment, business closures, and reduced tax revenues, leaving states across the country facing serious budget shortfalls that threaten their ability to provide services to the public. The Office of the Illinois Comptroller estimates that the state has already spent approximately $2.3 billion directly on the pandemic for services ranging from testing to medical assistance.

The CARES Act required CRF recipients to spend any funds received by December 30, 2020 and restricted use of the funds to coronavirus-related expenses. While the CARES Act spending deadline is the end of December, the pandemic has not yet ended and a winter surge in virus cases is expected.

“Asking cities and states to return CRF funds at what is likely to be the height of the entire pandemic would be counterproductive and undermine the progress that has already been made towards bringing the virus under control,” the Representatives wrote.

Unfortunately, the latest proposed COVID-19 package may not include additional state and local aid, even as local public health authorities have cited a lack of funding for vaccine distribution among their top concerns.

“If we do not provide state and local governments with an immediate infusion of additional, flexible aid, we must at least allow them to continue spending the money that they have already received and in such a way that allows them to avoid the most catastrophic economic scenarios,” the Representatives wrote.

Congressman Krishnamoorthi requests that Congressional leadership extend the December deadline for states to spend their CRF funds in the upcoming COVID-19 legislative package, especially if additional state and local aid will not be included in the package.

A copy of the letter is available here.