by Kristine Frazao | The National Desk
WASHINGTON (TND) — During those long months of quarantine from COVID-19, it wasn’t just businesses that lost millions of dollars. The lack of tax revenue meant state and local governments did too.
Part of the Coronavirus Relief Fund was meant to fix that. However, state and local fiscal recovery funds would end up totaling $350 billion.
“We feel as if this addresses the needs of states that have lost a lot," said Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., during a December 2020 News Conference.
Years later, more than half remains unspent. The U.S. Treasury Department now saying what that money can be used for has a little more wiggle room.
The department's updated rule amends the definition of obligation to provide additional flexibility for recipients of COVID relief funds. They’ll no longer have to pay back unobligated money as long as estimates of the amounts they plan to use are given.
Critics are calling it a "Bidenomics slush fund."
In a new report, the conservative Economic Policy Innovation Center detailed how millions of dollars were approved for projects to update swimming pools, golf courses and sports stadiums at a time when the country's national debt has reached well over $33 trillion.
While the American people struggled during the pandemic, our tax dollars are being used for all kinds of frivolous purposes too, and I think it’s upsetting," Adam Andrzejewski, CEO and Founder of Open the Books said in an interview with The National Desk Tuesday.
As of March of this year, the Government Accountability Office reportedstates and localities had not even covered 50% of their awards.
“COVID aid was meant to help people or institutions or entities that had real needs. To the extent that you don’t have a financial need you should pay the money back," Andrzejewski said.
Lawmakers have agreed to claw back about $27 million in Coronavirus relief money, with Republicans pushing to get much more returned.