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November 30, 2020

Miller urges Congress to extend CARES Act spending deadline

Group of 49 AGs cite impact of pandemic

DES MOINES — Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is leading a bipartisan coalition of 49 attorneys general urging Congress to extend the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economy (CARES) Act funding until the end of 2021. 

Miller and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost wrote the letter signed by the attorneys general and sent it to Congress today urging members to extend the Dec. 30, 2020, deadline.

“The CARES Act is delivering critical resources to communities,” Miller said. “With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, states and local governments need more flexibility in using these funds.” 

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 use the precious COVID-relief resources.

COVID-19 has harmed nearly every facet of American society. In anticipation of unprecedented costs and economic disruption stemming from the pandemic, Congress passed the CARES Act in March. The move provided more than $2 trillion in economic stimulus to state and local governments in an effort to combat the impacts of the pandemic. 

One of the restrictions placed on the funding, however, limits the money’s use to expenses incurred between March 1, 2020, and Dec. 30, 2020.

“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 Dec. 30, 2020 — a deadline that now seems unreasonable.”

As the pandemic continues to set record infections, states and local communities will continue to incur COVID-related costs. 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 Iowa, the attorneys general signing on are from Alaska, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, 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.

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