The President got Congress to ok BILLIONS to help the economy get thru the pandemic ….
The pandemic is subsiding…..
Almost $150 Billion still hasn’t been used….
This is about economics ….
Three months after its passage, cash is starting to flow — $194 billion so far, according to the Treasury Department — and officials are devoting funds to a range of efforts, including keeping public service workers on the payroll, helping the fishing industry, improving broadband access and aiding the homeless.
“It’s not like all places are rushing out to do the most aspirational things, since the first thing they need to do is replace lost revenue,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan Washington think tank. “But there is much more flexibility in this program than in previous stimulus packages, so there is more potential for creativity.”
The local decisions are taking on greater national urgency as the Biden administration negotiates with Republicans in Congress over a bipartisan infrastructure package. Some Republican lawmakers want money from previous relief packages to be repurposed to pay for infrastructure, arguing that many states are in far better financial shape than expected and the money should be put to better use.
The administration, sensitive to those concerns, has begun bending the program’s rules to allow the money to be spent even more broadly. In May, the Treasury Department told states they could use their funding to pay for lotteries intended to encourage vaccinations. In June, President Biden prodded local governmentsto consider using the cash to address the recent rise in violent crime, which his aides regard as a serious political hazard heading into the 2022 midterm elections….
The idea of the federal government distributing such vast sums has been charged from the start. Republican lawmakers successfully blocked a large state and local package during the Trump administration, denouncing it as a “blue-state bailout” that helped fiscally-irresponsible local governments.
Not a single Republican in either house of Congress voted for the bill. Yet the vast majority of officials from conservative states have welcomed the aid without much fuss. In general, Republican governors and agency officials have tilted toward financing economic development and infrastructure improvements, particularly for upgrading broadband in rural areas, rather than funding social programs…