Capito, bipartisan Senators aim to give states, cities greater flexibility with COVID-19 relief funds


WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Angus King (I-Maine), and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) yesterday introduced the Coronavirus Relief Fund Flexibility Act, legislation that would allow the federal relief funds provided to state and local governments in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to be used to replace revenue shortfalls resulting from the pandemic. The legislation would apply retroactively to the enactment of the CARES Act.

Senator Capito has been in touch regularly with Governor Justice and other community leaders about helping states and localities respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19). This legislation is a direct response to the feedback she’s heard from these individuals.

“Throughout this pandemic, I’ve been in regular contact with Governor Justice, county commissioners, mayors, and other state and local officials about the challenges they are facing in these uncertain times,” Senator Capito said. “One of those challenges is the lost revenue that the state, counties, and cities are experiencing because of this emergency, which has caused a real strain on their budgets. This bipartisan bill is a smart, commonsense solution that fixes this problem by providing state and local governments with the flexibility to use money that has already been appropriated through the CARES Act to replace these lost revenues. Doing so, will help state and local governments in West Virginia and across the country get over the hump of lost revenue and allow them to continue providing the essential services.”

Under the CARES Act, states, tribes, and municipalities have access to $150 billion in relief funding. West Virginia has received $1.25 billion of these funds for state and local governments. The U.S. Treasury Department issued guidance restricting these resources from being directed toward revenue shortfalls. The Coronavirus Relief Fund Flexibility Act aims to clarify the matter by allowing state and local governments to use their CARES Act funding to make up for revenues lost due to COVID-19.

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