After Call with Mnuchin, Reed Says RI Should Receive State Stabilization Funds Soon
PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, after speaking with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) said he came away encouraged that the Ocean State could receive the first wave of state stabilization funds next week.
Senator Reed says the initial disbursement of funding could provide Rhode Island with an infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars. Senator Reed added that he and Secretary Mnuchin had a productive conversation about ensuring the funds are disbursed to states swiftly and on the flexible terms that are clearly laid out in the law.
Senator Reed took a lead role in creating a $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for states in the Coronavirus Aide, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law No. 116-136). These federal funds may be used to help states and eligible communities meet their financial obligations as they marshal resources to care for their citizens and effectively combat the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As a result of Reed’s efforts, Rhode Island will ultimately receive a total of $1.25 billion and the law requires that the federal funds be disbursed no later than April 26.
Senator Reed stated: “I had a very productive call with Secretary Mnuchin and I appreciate his commitment to making these funds available in a timely manner so states can use them to cover urgent expenses.
“Rhode Island is facing a state of emergency, and these funds will provide a significant boost. Every state is seeing increasing costs and declining revenue, while shouldering the responsibility of protecting public health and combatting COVID-19. I worked to include this funding in the CARES Act to help states and communities effectively respond now and withstand the financial trauma of this crisis.
Reed continued: “The fiscal outlook for states, cities, and municipalities around the country is dire. That is why I am already working to provide a second wave of funding. I strongly urge Republicans to work with us to prioritize additional aid to all fifty states. If they don’t, governors in red states and blue states alike will be forced to cut essential services at precisely the worst time and in a manner that could have devastating impacts on families, businesses, employment, and our economy.”
Reed concluded: “Getting these state stabilization funds distributed is critical to combatting COVID-19 and stabilizing our economy. Again, I appreciate Secretary Mnuchin for being a reliable negotiator on this issue and will continue working with him and others to ensure states have additional resources and the flexibility they need.”
Senator Reed was part of a twenty-member bipartisan working group that helped craft the CARES Act. He spearheaded efforts to include fiscal help for states and also worked to successfully include other important measures to expand unemployment insurance, aid small businesses, boost transportation and economic development programs, and impose tougher restrictions on corporate bailouts.
Senator Reed initially called for a $750 billion state stabilization fund, while Senate Republicans called for zero and tried to block the inclusion of these state funds. Ultimately, negotiators agreed to include $150 billion for the program in the CARES Act, with a state minimum of $1.25 billion at Senator Reed’s insistence.
Senator Reed is already working to include a second round of state stabilization funds. This week, Democrats proposed another $150 billion in additional assistance for state and local governments to better manage this crisis and mitigate lost revenue. This second round of funding would provide a $500 million small state minimum.