On Monday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter to the Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting an update on the more than $4.5 trillion in tax dollars that has been already allocated to provide financial support to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
As Congress considers additional COVID-19 relief, Scott asked that all available information is released regarding tax dollar allocations and spending to make the best decisions for how to move the nation forward.
Scott’s letter is below.
Dear Acting Director Fairweather:
As we continue our important work to help American families and businesses during this unprecedented and challenging time, it is my hope that you share my commitment to spending taxpayer dollars wisely and focus on ensuring a positive return on every dollar spent.
Congress worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass a series of bills to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences. To date, more than $4.5 trillion in tax dollars has been allocated to provide financial support to individuals, businesses, and other entities affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Now, as Congress considers President Biden’s proposed $1.9 trillion COVID-19 spending package, it is essential that we have all available information to make the best decisions for how to move our nation forward. While we know the total allocation of federal funds, we still don’t know how much money is unspent by states and local governments from previous coronavirus relief packages; including the nearly $1 trillion package that was passed just weeks ago. I fully support targeted relief for families and small businesses harmed by COVID-19, but we cannot simply throw massive spending at this with no accountability to the current and future American taxpayer. Without a comprehensive understanding of how the funding already allocated for coronavirus response is being spent, it would be reckless and irresponsible for Congress to consider additional spending.
I write today to request that you provide detailed information on how much of the coronavirus funding has been obligated and spent as of February 15, 2021.
- How much has been obligated and spent to date on vaccine distribution and development? How much is unspent?
- How much has been obligated and spent in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) program for small businesses? How much is unspent?
- How much has been obligated and spent to date on testing distribution? How much is unspent?
- How much has been obligated and spent to date for schools and education? How much is unspent?
- How much has been obligated and spent to date on transportation services and grants, including airlines, public transit, Amtrak and the motorcoach industry? How much is unspent?
- How much has been obligated and spent to date for rental assistance? How much is unspent?
We need full transparency to clearly understand what the true needs of the American people may be and make informed decisions to deliver targeted relief.
I also respectfully request your view on President Biden’s decision to withdrawal the request by the prior administration to cancel $27.4 billion of previously appropriated dollars to prevent wasteful and unnecessary spending. Will you seek to generate these savings through other rescissions? Do you plan to target any other areas of wasteful spending to protect taxpayer dollars and ensure accountability?
I will continue fighting for targeted relief that provides needed assistance to Americans hit hardest by this pandemic; but I will not stand by and allow the federal government to keep spending without a thoughtful approach in place. With our national debt at $27 trillion and climbing, we can never forget that the dollars we spend are borrowed. Strategic action today to prevent waste and enhance accountability will help turn the tide, prevent disastrous inflation and ensure Washington does not continue to mortgage the future of our children and grandchildren with short sighted and dangerous financial decisions.
I look forward to your prompt response to these important questions.