Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today joined a coalition of attorneys general representing 43 states, the District of Columbia, and 5 U.S. territories, urging Congress to extend the deadline for Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) recipients to spend their CRF allocations until the end of 2021.
“This pandemic is not going to end on December 30,” said Attorney General Frosh. “Congress needs to act now to ensure that state and local governments can continue to use CARES funding to protect their residents from the impacts of COVID-19.”
The CRF was established under the CARES Act and provides $150 billion in federal aid for state, county, and municipal governments to address significant expenditures related to public health and safety needs. As established under the CARES Act, if a county does not spend its entire CRF allocation by December 30, 2020, the remaining dollars will be recouped by the U.S. Treasury.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, Maryland’s State Secretaries of Budget and Health earlier this month issued a letter to county leaders – noting the approaching CRF spending deadline relief funds, and suggesting steps toward ensuring compliance and promoting service to Marylanders.
According to a press release from Attorney General Frosh:
With several pending measures, including bipartisan extension measures in both the House and Senate, the attorneys general urge Congress to pass one of these measures to give states and local communities additional time to utilize the COVID-relief resources.
“This time frame likely made sense in late March when the CARES Act was passed, but we have learned a great deal about COVID-19 in the past seven months,” the letter states. “Among other things, we know that the pandemic will continue to challenge communities well beyond December 30, 2020 – a deadline that now seems unreasonable.”
As the pandemic continues to set record infections and hospitalizations, states and local communities will continue to incur COVID-related expenses next year. By extending the deadline, communities nationwide will be able to be more strategic with the use of CARES Act funds, the attorneys general said.
In addition to Maryland, the letter was signed by attorneys general of Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
As leaders in the fight against COVID-19, counties are expending CRF funds to address immediate health and safety concerns, as well as to promote economic resiliency and recovery. From small business support grant programs to rental and mortgage assistance, these dollars have been critical for counties to properly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.