U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) is requesting that the U.S. Department of the Treasury issue updated guidance to allow state and local governments greater discretion with relief dollars allocated in the CARES Act, specifically to fund public safety services including law enforcement and other first responders. 

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, McSally wrote that the narrow scope of Treasury’s current guidelines was not allowing state and local governments to receive the full benefit of CARES Act funding.

“Title V of the CARES Act appropriated $150 billion to ensure state and local governments have funding for necessary expenditures due to the pandemic that were not accounted for in their most recent budget and were incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020,” McSally said. “However, the Department of Treasury’s April 22, 2020 guidance and FAQ on this topic have unjustly narrowed the scope of the legislation and restricted state and local governments’ ability to fully realize the benefits of the law.  I request that you consider expanding what constitutes an eligible expenditure, specifically regarding fundamental public safety services including law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and other first responders.  In order to achieve this objective, modification of the existing guidance or issuance of additional guidance for clarification should be considered.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Secretary Mnuchin: 

On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  The CARES Act is an unprecedented piece of legislation that was needed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Congress’ intent with this legislation was to provide immediate and broad financial relief to private and public sector entities.  Title V of the CARES Act appropriated $150 billion to ensure state and local governments have funding for necessary expenditures due to the pandemic that were not accounted for in their most recent budget and were incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020. 

However, the Department of Treasury’s (Treasury) April 22, 2020 guidance and FAQ on this topic have unjustly narrowed the scope of the legislation and restricted state and local governments’ ability to fully realize the benefits of the law.  I request that you consider expanding what constitutes an eligible expenditure, specifically regarding fundamental public safety services including law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and other first responders.  In order to achieve this objective, modification of the existing guidance or issuance of additional guidance for clarification should be considered.    

State and local governments are critical to providing a vast array of basic and necessary core services to citizens throughout the country.  For this reason, it is imperative that they have broad discretion to utilize CARES Act funding as Congress intended.  Thank you for your consideration of this pressing issue and I look forward to working with you moving forward.  

Sincerely,

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