On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote to U.S. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin requesting the agency’s plan to publicly release information on how the more than $1 trillion in state and local government funding already allocated for coronavirus response is being spent.
The letter is below:
Dear Secretary Mnuchin:
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to help American families and businesses during this unprecedented and challenging time. I appreciate your commitment to spending taxpayer dollars wisely and your focus on ensuring a positive return for taxpayers.
As you know, Congress worked in a bipartisan fashion to pass a series of bills to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and its economic consequences, including the CARES Act, authorizing $2.9 trillion to provide financial support to individuals, businesses, and other entities affected by the COVID-19 crisis. States and local governments received over $1 trillion in funding, including $150 billion to directly respond to the crisis through the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF).
As Congress prepares to debate future coronavirus relief packages, it is essential that we have all the information to make the best decisions for how to move our nation forward.
On April 13, the U.S. Department of the Treasury launched a web portal to allow eligible State, local, and tribal governments to receive payments to help offset the costs of their response to the coronavirus pandemic through the CRF. To date, there has been no publicly-released report about how much taxpayer money has been spent or any details about how the money has been spent. I understand there are several entities who have requested and are beginning to collect this information from CRF recipients, but this information needs to be made publicly available as quickly as possible.
Additionally, without a comprehensive understanding of how the more than $1 trillion in state and local government funding already allocated for coronavirus response is being spent, it would be reckless and irresponsible for Congress to consider additional spending. We need a clear picture of what has been spent or unspent in order to make informed decisions to help the American people.
On June 15, I, along with Senators Cruz and Johnson, wrote every governor in the country to ask for an update on how their states have allocated funds from the CARES Act and other federal coronavirus response measures. I am disappointed that less than 10 states have responded to date.
Our nation is facing tremendous fiscal challenges, as evidenced by the fact that this year’s federal budget deficit will be the largest in the history of our nation. We cannot blindly throw taxpayer money at problems. We have to be responsible and we need as much information as possible to make smart choices. Therefore, I write to ask the following questions:
What are the Treasury Department’s plans to publicly release information pertaining to the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (PL 116‐123), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (PL 116‐127), and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (PL 116‐136)?
What plans does the Treasury Department have to publicly release data on spending under the CRF? Please detail the timeline and publication dates for these reports.
What is the Treasury Department doing to make all coronavirus-related spending information widely available and accessible to taxpayers?
Thank you for your commitment to protecting American taxpayers. I appreciate your cooperation as we continue to work to help those that are struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic. In order to do that, Congress must have the full picture, and I look forward to your quick response.