WASHINGTON D.C. (WDTN) – On June 4, Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson introduced legislation in the House to give states more discretion in the spending of $150 billion in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Davidson, a Troy Republican representing Ohio’s eighth district, said he recently spoke to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine along with most of the state leadership regarding needs during the COVID-19 outbreak. He said most of them cited flexibility in spending federal emergency funding. Right now, Ohio is facing a $775 million deficit in its budget due to the shutdown of businesses. Davidson said giving states flexibility in how they spend money from the CARES Act would allow them to make up those shortfalls.
“You look at the trends, and the health crisis wasn’t as severe as was originally thought,” Davidson said. “The funding was tied to that original expectation. (The bill) basically takes these funds and says you don’t have to spend them on just COVID-19 expenses. The biggest problem in Ohio and most states, are revenue issues.”
Davidson said he believes allowing more flexibility in the original CARES Act funds would be better than rushing to pass the second major stimulus bill, the HEROES Act, that was passed by the House and is now sitting in the Senate.
“(House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi wants to spend $3 trillion more dollars, but let’s make use of the money we haven’t spent,” Davidson told WDTN.com. “You can send that money back to the federal government, but most places still have real needs.”
While Davidson said there are Democrats who support his bill, he doubts it would pass on its own as separate legislation. He said it would most likely end up as part of a cluster of bills or tied to other legislation if passed.
“Whether it’s a clean bill or integrated, we are going to work with the White House, our House colleagues and the Senate to get this implemented,” Davidson said.
For more information on the proposed legislation, visit the U.S. Congress website.