U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) joined 15 of her Senate colleagues in writing a letter to the Trump administration urging flexibility for how state and local governments can use funds included in the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
Fischer, and Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, both have complained that many small businesses have been unable to apply for loans under the CARES act, and many small banks have been unable to access their accounts to obtain funding to make loans.
The Coronavirus Relief Fund, created in Section 601 of the recently passed CARES Act, provides each state a minimum of $1.25 billion in funding to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This injection of revenue is critical for state and local governments to keep operations going and stabilize economic activity in communities across the country.
In their letter, the senators urge Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to publish guidance that cuts red tape and gives states and local governments flexibility to use these funds to address the needs and challenges their communities are facing.
“Treasury must not create an unnecessary complex burden of compliance that hinders states working with local governments – especially very small communities,” wrote the senators. “An overly narrow definition will create unintended consequences that stymy response at the local level by tying up critical resources needed by state and local governments. This would be a disaster, run counter to the needs of the emergency Congress recognized in passing the CARES Act and have devastating results across the country. We therefore encourage Treasury to focus on the same balance we did in enacting the CARES Act and ensure that emergency supplemental state support for smaller communities is explicitly authorized in any guidance you issue.”
In addition to Senator Fischer, the following members of the U.S. Senate signed onto the letter: Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alaska), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Pat Roberts (R-Kans.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Jerry Moran (R-Kans.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.).
Read the full letter here.